Monday, May 20, 2013

Spring has Sprung at B&O Brasserie!

by Xani

The long days, the warm weather, the birds chirping (and the Birds fans cheering!).... you know it's springtime in Charm City!  And with spring comes the farmers' markets, wonderful new produce, and an exciting new menu at B&O Brasserie.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a Media dinner to check out the menu and the new chef at B&O.  As a longtime fan, I knew I was in for a treat.  What I didn't know was that Chef Brad Willits had transformed the menu and was going to dazzle us with fabulous new dishes.


Chef Brad Willits showing a big fish who's boss!



With all the new changes to the menu, some things remain the same.  B&O still boasts a cozy atmosphere and a focus on comfort food, and Master Mixologist Brendan Dorr is still behind the bar.  We tried three cocktails during dinner- a specialty happy hour cocktail (changes daily), the Free State Fizz, and the Coppertop.  As usual, each was unique and refreshing.  If only I knew what half the ingredients in the cocktails are!  This is definitely an operation that might benefit from an electronic tablet cocktail list (with links to descriptions of each of the obscure spirits- just a suggestion!)

While sipping our cocktails we were lucky enough to be visited by Chef Brad for a nice chat.  While he looks much younger than his 31 years, he clearly knows his stuff!  He gave us several recommendations for his favorite dishes, and we wanted to try them all.  In the end, we made some difficult choices and ordered.

For starters:
Burrata Mozzarella
roasted hazelnuts / spring onions / fennel / balsamic / romesco

Smoked Shrimp Agnolotti
sea urchin butter / carrot-cardamom puree / sea beans

Grilled Wild Boar Terrine
pickled okra / parsley-grape fruit salad / mustard dressing
For mains:
Amish Brick Chicken 
jasmine rice / morel mushrooms / peas / smoked tomatoes / cider jus


Smoked Pork Shoulder 
plums / turnips / market beans / bacon jam


Cumin Dusted Heirloom Carrots 
yogurt-lime dressing

Burrata

Wild Boar Terrine
What a meal!  Of the starters, the terrine may have been our favorite.  Chef Brad describes it as his version of meatloaf, but it's meatloaf on a whole 'nother level.  Definitely not like grandma used to make (unless your grandma was a french charcuterie expert?).  The burrata had an amazing texture and a clean, milky taste, and the smoke shrimp agnolotti had us at "sea urchin butter"- perfectly sweet and smoky shrimp in delicate pasta, coated in rich uni butter?!  As Gob would say "COME ON!."  We even got a few tips from the chef on making our own uni butter at home- score!
Amish Brick Chicken 


Onto the mains.  Dave knew he had to have the brick chicken after Chef told us how many morels were in the dish- and it did not disappoint!  Not to mention crispy skin and a very generous portion of moist, juicy meat.  A winning dish, no doubt about it.  My smoked pork shoulder was smoky indeed- maybe a tad too much for my taste?  But the bacon jam just about made up for it.  I cleaned my plate hunting for the sweet, tender bacon nuggets. The cumin-roasted carrots were gorgeous- tender, multi-colored little gems packing a lot of cumin flavor.


By dessert the light was gone and so was any hint of restraint!  I tried the lemon-thyme donut and Dave had the creme brulee of the day, which happened to be cinnamon that night.  A few bites of sweetness and we were ready to roll our way out of there....

It was a delicious meal and a pleasure to meet Chef Brad and hear how passionate he is about what he's doing at the B&O kitchen- I am sure there will be many more exciting and delicious dishes to discover!

Thanks Chef and thanks to Amy at Profiles, Inc for the invite.

Hope all our readers are diving into spring!

Xani

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