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August 14, 2009

Inside the B&O American Brasserie

B&O American Brasserie

I haven't had the chance to check out the new B&O American Brasserie, but thankfully Midnight Sun poster Paul got there. Here are his thoughts on the Wednesday night half-priced drink specials:

Turns out happy hour isn't half-price drinks across the board. 

Instead, one beer, a couple wines and one house cocktail are on special. Everything else is regular price, which for most drinks means double digit prices.

My friend and I sat in the little lounge area because the bar was full, and I was afraid we were in no man's land. But the service was excellent. Alison, who used to work at Ixia, was our waitress and knew everything about the menu, despite the place being so new ...

(She also knew lots about the hotel because Kimpton "pounded it into us," which I thought was pretty funny.) She also told us that "probably 90 percent" of the staff came from Ixia.

The Hobo's Bourbon and cola was the specialty drink last night, and it's pretty excellent, even if the brandied cherries are hard to dig out of that Collins glass. Also had a Sazerac, and it was the first time I'd ever seen one served up. I was expecting a little more from the food--we ordered the steak tartare and the pork croquettes--but they were priced right.

Bottom line, it's pretty nice, the drinks are great and though I thought the food would be better.

(Baltimore Sun photo by Kim Hairston)


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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:22 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Comments

So Sam, did you end up going for Tapas?

Babs, we were supposed to go tonight. But after reading all the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad reviews on D@L, we decided to go somewhere else instead.

I still might write E.L. a blog item on our experience if she wants it. But La Tasca is O-U-T. 95 percent of the reviews I read about that place were negative. We're not gonna risk spending $100 on a dud.

Hey Sam and Paul! So glad you guys checked out B&O during happy hour. Wanted to just let you know, B&O's happy hour doesn't offer half-price and I'm sorry you thought that might be the case when you made the decision to head over there. It's actually $3 Clipper City Loose Canon, $3 selection of red, white and bubbly, and $5 cocktails, which are different depending on what day you head over! It's a new restaurant so they are working out the kinks and I appreciate all of the feedback! Hope you'll come back soon.
Amy (Publicist for B&O American Brasserie)

i went there the friday they first opened and had nothing but a good experience there (as i stated over at E.L.'s blog). most of the beers were $5 and were quality beers and the upscale drinks were kind of pricey, but worth it because we only had a couple anyways, a nice treat.

i was surprised with 1) how big the bar menu was, having many good options for $7/$8 and pretty good portions. We had the margarit pizza, the bbq meatball sliders (made with lamb/pork/beef), and the mussells with frits...all of which were really good.

i took a look at the dinner menu and it looked pretty reasonable for such a fancy place. pretty nice addition to the city imo, probably not a place i would go every night, but a nice treat that doesn't kill your pocketbook.

i might try to roll over there saturday night for a full dinner...stay tuned.

90% Ixia = avoid

Thanks for the warning!

Not sure why people don't like the "Ixia" service... I've been to B&O twice, once for happy hour and once on the Friday night shortly after the hotel opened. Both times I've had great service, and while the regular priced drinks are higher than I usually go for ($8-$10 for some of unique cocktails), I've been satisfied with what I received. Also, it beats the slow service and elbow-to-elbow lawyers at the Capital Grille.

I went to the opening party and wasn't very impressed ....yes, the service was good but the food and decor were just OK. PLUS the crowd didn't exactly scream 'hip/cool'. It seemed the attendees came for free food and jetted...oh yeah, I couldn't believe the rudeness of some the party-goers either....won't be going back.

so i went back this saturday for dinner. i also posted this over at dining @ large, but thought it was worth re-commenting over here in sessa-land since i said i would let you know how it was:

so i finally went back to B&O this weekend for a dinner with my girlfriend and her parents, and although it was a great experience overall, there was one thing that kind of tainted the evening (for me).

First the good stuff: we started with a meatball appetizer that came in a small cast iron dish and was served with tomato sauce and pieces of tomato, which was pretty tasty (not as good as the BBQ meatball sliders though), and we also had the cornmeal encrusted oysters that came with a watermellon and jicama (i think) salad which was also pretty tasty.

The ladies at the table had the mixed greens salad and they both were extremely pleased with those (they came with walnuts, green beans and a nice light house dressing)

As for main dishes, my girlfriend had the balsamic and cherry reduced scallops, which was apparently good enough that i didn't even get my normal taste. her stepdad got the rockfish which he said was really good, and her mom got the fisherman's stew, which came with clams, fish, mussels, and shrimp in a nice broth with pieces of tomato (possibly some other vegetables as well). I tried one of the shrimp, and was extremely impressed with the size and quality, as well as the taste of the broth.

Now to my dish, the 24-hour pot roast served over polenta with a side of vegetables. First the positives: the vegetables were really fresh and perfectly cooked so as not to be mushy, and the polenta was a nice light starch option to contrast against the large piece of roast. but the thing i couldn't get over about the dish, despite the roast being cooked perfectly, was the lack of flavor. Extreme lack of flavor. It was almost as if the dish didn't get seasoned at all. I let both my girlfriend and her mom try some just in case i was taking crazy pills, but they confirmed that it didn't taste like any seasoning had been used in the dish.

It was too bad and i went back and forth about if i should say something that evening. Not because i wanted something free, or it taken off my bill, but just because there was so much i liked about the place that i would want them to know about it. ultimately, i figured maybe this comment was a better way of communicating the info.

so there was that. otherwise the night was great and we ended with a trio of great desserts: butterscotch pudding with a wonderfully surprising lemon infused whipped cream (with a gingerbread wafer on top), strawberry and rhubarb cobbler with ice cream, and the "big" creme brulle, which featured a long brulle with 8 or 9 various toppings set in stages from peanuts to ginger and others.

so overall a pretty good experience, but considering this wasn't the first "lack of flavor" dishes i'd had here (the mussells broth was similarly lacking in my first visit) it puts up a warning flag.

but not one big enough to keep me from coming back.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
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