Last minute - Lunch today Downtown Baltimore
Looking for suggestions for a lunch today -- around 1:00ish, I'm guessing -- somewhere downtown-ish. We can go as far south as Fed Hill or as far east as Canton, I guess, but we're starting from some office building right at the corner of Charles and Baltimore. Nothing too fancy, although we're happy to go up to 20 bucks a person for the right lunch today. Any cuisines welcome except sushi -- a bit sushi'ed out after a massive Sushi Hana trip Saturday night.
Sorry for the short notice, and thanks in advance for any recs.
The morning's activities went better than expected, so we took amaebi's suggestion and tried out Cinghiale. We're huge fans of Charleston and Petit Louis (and my wife love Pazo, although I'm mixed on it), so expectations were sky-high; if we'd gotten this food anywhere else, I'd have thought it was terrific, but to me, it wasn't yet quite up to the high standards of the other Wolf/Foreman places. (Emphasis on "yet" -- I'm sure they'll get there.)
It was lunch, so we didn't eat all that much -- one small plate antipasto and one half pasta each. I started with the cold leg of lamb with salsa verde -- thin-sliced on a cold-cut slicer, slightly pink in the middle, and very good, this is what all the roast beef cold-cuts you've ever had want to be when they grow up. My wife had the roasted eggplant antipasto, which she liked immensely but which I found a little bland and underwhelming. (To be fair, roasted eggplant isn't a particular favorite of mine, so this dish probably wasn't going to blow me away no matter what.)
For pastas, I tried the Cansusei, sausage ravioli in a sage butter and parmigiano sauce. The ravioli were fresh and well-cooked, but the dish was a bit on the salty side -- the sauce felt a bit over-reduced -- and could've used some kind of acid on the finish to brighten it up a little a bit. Again, if I'd been served this anywhere other than a Wolf/Foreman place, I don't think I'd have had any complaints at all, but it didn't feel quite up to the standard their other restaurants have set.
Wife had a butternut squash soup with ricotta-stuffed pasta and a grated amaretti cookie on top. This one was very good, the soup tasting primarily of good squash and the pasta fresh and perfectly done, and the grated cookie provided the complementary finishing flavors that my ravioli were lacking.
Service was, as other people have noted, still working out the kinks, but their intentions were clearly excellent, the people were friendly, and every time someone stumbled, the managers took pains to help them out, set them right, and let them know what to do in that same situation next time. The decor felt like an interesting amalgam of the other three W/F places -- the huge room of Pazo, the semi-rustic decor (and open salt cellars) of Petit Louis, and the classy vibe of Charleston. And the bathrooms are gorgeous.
On the whole, we enjoyed it even if it wasn't yet everything we hoped and dreamed it would be. Then again, it was also a small Monday lunch early in their run, so we probably didn't get the full experience. We're going to give it a few weeks (months?) and then happily try it again.
Thanks to all for the short-notice recs. Is this kind of follow-up/review thing too long, or unnecessary? I'm still learning the ropes of the board.....
If you're in the mood for Indian - there's a great lunch buffet at Mem Sahib, which is located right adjacent to Lexington Market. I think it's $7 or 8 a person. I'm pretty sure you can park for free in the lot next to it also.
If you want to venture to Fed Hill, I love the lunches at Sobo Cafe, on Cross St. about a block from the Cross St. Market. You also can't wrong in the market, especially Bruce Lee's wings and Big Jim's great club or reuben sandwiches.