The newly opened B&O American Brasserie at the Hotel Monaco-Baltimore has a great happy hour. It’s $3 for some of their beers, white and red wines and champagne. They have a small bar menu that you can get some little plates from, as well as burgers and flat bread pizzas.
Chef Cat and I both had been interested in seeing this place, so while Chef Dawg was working late, we went over. Valet parking is $5, so that’s a good start. The building is the old B&O Railroad headquarters and it’s amazing. (You can read more about it here.)
We started out with a glass of champagne each and got a chicken liver pate with fig jam and brioche toast as an appetizer. There were only four tiny brioche toast fingers and so we had to ask for more. I always wonder what the kitchen is thinking when you get a lot of spread or cheese or pate and only two pieces of bread. The pate was mousse-like and very light, and the brioche fingers were buttery, but the fig jam didn’t have much flavour, which was a shame. It was sweet, but didn’t have the taste of figs.
We ordered a flatbread with cheese, asparagus, arugula and a fried egg on top. It was very good and Chef Cat ate the egg. There were fava beans in there as well, but I picked them out. I don’t like beans much. We also got some meatballs, which were well-seasoned and came in a nice tomato sauce. Kinda hard to tell what they are from the picture, but they were served in a little iron pot. Since Chef Cat’s a pastry chef, we HAD to order dessert. The menu was interesting for early fall, with some non-seasonal items like a rhubarb-strawberry cobbler. There was a cheese plate, which I totally understand, but there was also a charcuterie plate, which I totally didn’t understand, especially since it wasn’t listed on the bar menu as an appetizer. Really, do you want meat for dessert?
Chef ordered the rustic apple tart and I ordered the butterscotch pudding. If you know me, you know I love sweets. But the pudding was gross. It had no discernable butterscotch taste and a really odd texture. Chef Cat said it had a raw corn-starch flavour, but I didn’t even get that. It certainly wasn’t a pudding, because it didn’t seem like it had either milk or cream in it. Maybe a pastry cream? It was served in an 8-10 oz. glass with a garnish of a ginger cookie. I ate about three bites and left the rest.
When Chef Cat cut into the steaming rustic apple tart, she realized that the apples weren’t cooked. So she took the pastry top off of the tart and looked at the apples. Not only weren’t they cooked, they were brown because someone didn’t know enough to put them in acidulated water to keep them fresh and white. The pastry top was not quite cooked through and was raw on the inside. While we liked the restaurant, and the service was very friendly and good (if a little slow), the desserts were a huge failing and really brought the meal down. They were basically inedible.
We’ll go back for happy hour though!