Miss Irene's in Fells Point
While visiting Baltimore for the holidays I happened into Miss Irene's in Fells Point, on the corner of Thames and Ann Street. I didn't realize how new the place was until one of the servers had mentioned they'd only been opened about three weeks. He mentioned that the chef, Kenneth Plante, was also the chef down the block at the Waterfront Hotel. Chef
Kenny happened to be in the kitchen the night we dined at Miss Irene's.
We didn't have a reservation, but there was no wait to be seated for dinner. There is a bar on the street level, but we were ushered upstairs by the hostess and offered cocktails at the much more intimate bar adjacent to the dining room.
The menu currently posted on the restaurant website is the same as we saw at the restaurant over this past weekend.
There were a few dietary restrictions in our party, including a vegetarian a shell fish allergy, both of which were thoughtfully accomodated.
Started with two specials: a special house salad for the vegetarian (no proscuitto), and Beet Bisque (velvety texture, rich flavor, beautiful color--I won that round). House bread was served with regular and chili infused olive oils.
Followed with Duck Risotto with caramelized onions and mushrooms--rich flavors, but disappointing textures. Bits of duck were small and could only be distinguished from bits of mushroom because they were tough. The risotto itself was cooked perfectly. The House Made Pasta (pappardelle?) with walnuts, dates, figs and lobster (there was also supposed to be Humboldt Fog, but maybe it melted?) was excellent. I'll definately order the pasta again. We saw the lamb shank and the pork chop walk. Those are on my list of things to try next time, too.
Dessert was a bit of a disappointment. Like many restaurants these days, they don't have a pastry chef, but they did boast some "house made" desserts. The Tahitian Vanilla Creme Brulee was disappointing--the custard tasted like it was made from a mix, but the burnt sugar top was crisp and delicate. The Apple Galette was less disappointing, but the puff pastry crust tasted like a food service frozen staple. The ice cream was definately not made in house.
The service was a mix of casual but professional, refined but not stuffy, knowledgable but not know-it-all. And although they've only been opened a few weeks, the service was fluid--as if the staff have already worked together (who knows, maybe they have).
I read that they also serve breakfast, lunch and brunch. I'd be interested to hear other food reviews if anyone else has made it there.
Enjoyed a nice dinner at Miss Irene's tonight. We started off with the delicious (if not particularly unique) arugula/prosciutto/reggiano salad and a special -- 3 lamb lollipops on pureed butternut squash. The lamb was terrific and a very tender medium rare as requested and as paired with the squash was very, very flavorful, and the salad was seasoned/dressed just right.
I had the white truffle mac and cheese for dinner -- asked the waiter to add some grilled chicken for protein. It comes with "fresh greens" as described on the menu -- upon arrival I discovered it was more of the baby arugula with reggiano salad. This is not a bad thing (it was very nice baby arugula) though I might have liked the waiter to warn me that I'd essentially get double the same salad. This time, though, the chef must have had a slightly heavier hand with the "pinch of sea salt" in dressing the salad. The mac and cheese was divine, though lacking in much white truffle flavor. I was, however, surprised by the added cost of the grilled chicken -- $8, for what was less than half a chicken breast.
Boyfriend had the pan fried rockfish over spaghettini. Found the rockfish done nicely, but he was disappointed with the spaghettini, which was heavy on capers and olives. The menu described it prepared "Livornaise"-style -- we were unfamiliar with this preparation and asked the waiter to describe it; his description was "it's like beurre blanc but with less tangy-ness".... which mentions not at all capers and olives! A google search upon returning home finds that I guess Livornaise is supposed to have capers and olives in it, but not knowing that, I wish the waiter had been more precise with his description.
We were in particular surprised that off of the beer list they provided, the first 3 beers my boyfriend ordered were "out"... so the waiter eventually comp'ed his 4th choice.
We were full so didn't order dessert afterwards. Overall - I'd go back for the mac and cheese and if available, the lamb appetizer. The salad was tasty as well. That said - it didn't blow me away and was perhaps a little pricy for "very good but not great" food.
This sounds wonderful. Thank you for the great review. I don't know of any other waterfront bars in Fells Point serving coq au vin and white truffle mac and cheese! Will definitely be checking this place out soon. The house-made pasta with lobster and Humbolt Fog sounds amazing. And for dessert, a block walk over to Pitango Gelato on S. Broadway.