Monday, August 2, 2010

Summertime eats at B&O

by Erin
Last week we were invited to try some of the new summer menu items at B&O American Brasserie, one of our most favorite spots in Charm City. The evening was a bit more special since it was the night before my birthday and it really kicked off the slew of celebrations we had planned (one of which may result in a new BCD banner but that's still under wraps for now!).

We enjoyed some celebratory champagne while waiting for the other ladies in our party to arrive. We sat at a nice big table in the corner (right next to a mini-kitchen where the charming pastry chef was busily piping marshmallow onto butterscotch tartlets...but I'm getting ahead of myself!) and perused the cocktail menu for our second round -- hey, we were celebrating!

Our first course included the Heirloom Tomato Salad, which had compressed watermelon, parmesan, cherries, and basil from the Chef's rooftop garden. Very refreshing on the sticky July night. We also had two other new summer menu items during this course: the Jumbo Lump Crab on a bed of quinoa with sweet potato, salmon roe, and sea urchin aioli, and the Snapper Ceviche, with avocado carpaccio, puffed grains, and red pepper sorbet. Such interesting flavors and textures - like a feature film happening in your mouth! And what evil genius thinks of uni aioli??

Snapper Ceviche with avocado carpaccio
(picture obviously not taken by the BCD girls)

Jumbo lumb crab on quinoa with sweet potatoes and uni aioli

Second course was the flatbread course, and these are TDF. We seriously had to smack each others' hands away from going for seconds since we knew more food was coming. So. Irresistable. We had the Market Flatbread (which we've had before but it warrants mentioning again) with potatoes, smoked ricotta, baby arugula, and an egg on top. We also enjoyed the Smoked Crab Flatbread and the Confit Duck Flatbread with foie gras and cherries. Seriously drooling as I type this.

Next course we had the Braised Veal Cheek with a very interesting sous vide potato, mache greens, and creamed corn. Holy moly, this was great creamed corn.

We also got to try a bunch of their new mains, including some local Maryland Rockfish with crispy skin, avocado-oxtail risotto, and baby tomatoes; Bacon-Wrapped Amberjack, served with cherry-corn succotash, string beans, and a beer-foie gras vinaigrette. Also meat-wrapped was the "Surf & Turf" - a serrano-wrapped quail (also stuffed with duck I think?) and a perfectly cooked, huge scallop, atop a bed of pea puree and a side of cherry jam. Wow.

Crispy-skin Rockfish

"Surf & Turf" with quail and scallop

We loved the rockfish the best of those fish dishes, but one of the biggest hits of the night was a sneak attack from a Buffalo Duck! Yes, this was a deliciously cooked duck coated in a "buffalo" sauce (but much more sophisticated than that of Hooters just a few blocks away), topped with a lightly dressed coleslaw of napa cabbage and red onion and -- get this -- homemade tater tots. Unlike regular tater tots, they tasted like (gasp!) potatoes and were crispy and crunchy on the outside. Delish.

Quick note about B&O - they have daily specials Tuesday-Saturday, and Tuesday was "chicken fried steak" night, which both of us were eyeing. Unfortunately we didn't get it but it just gives us an excuse to go back, right? Other dailys include housemade sausage and champ potatoes, butter poached Maine lobstah, and sous vide lamb loin.

Finally it was time for a sweet treat -- or 3. The pastry chef came out and presented us with 3 beautiful plates: first we had the butterscotch tart with a bruleed marshmallow topping; we also had a "banana split" with chocolate ice cream, peanut butter tuile cookies, and caramelized bananas, and last we had a sweet corn cake with cherries and some other deliciousness I can't remember because I was slipping into a diabetic coma. All of the desserts were incredible; we loved the banana split and we both love a corn cake, be it sweet or savory.

At the end we were lucky enough to have a few minutes of Chef Reidt's time, so nice of him to stop by. We're looking forward to seeing him at the Crab Bash on Tuesday, 8/3 at 5:30! Did you get your tickets?? Rumor is they're sold out but there might be more at the door...hope to see you there!

Thanks to Amy and Chef Reidt for welcoming us again into B&O for really outstanding summer foods. I can't wait to see what Chef will do with all the cozy fall produce!

Here's to birthday banana splits -


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