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Baltmore's New Food Market vs. Fork and Wrench

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stephanieg Jul 23, 2012 01:58 PM

I recently ate at two of Baltimore's newest restaurants-- the Food Market in Hampden and Fork and Wrech in Canton. I will 100% return to Food Market in the near future, and will 100% not be returning to F & W until I hear that they have their act together. The details:

We actually went to the Food Market with our kids, who at aged 7 and 10, are amazing diners. We enjoyed a nice, slow relaxed meal, had an excellent server, and loved all the food and drinks. I also appreciated the reasonably priced wine list and interesting drinks (including innovative nonalcoholic drinks for my boys). We began with 3 appetizers-- the amish soft pretzels, which were more like soft bread, which were served with an absolutely delicious (and addictive) cheese dipping sauce; the homemade old bay chips, which my family adored but I wished were a bit more flavorful/spicy; and my favorite-- salt and pepper tuna, which was perfect, sushi-grade rare tuna seasoned to perfection. I loved the fact that the kids menu had entrees that appealed to my adventurous older son (the surf and turf-- two mini crab cakes, a small steak, and lobster mac and cheese--which he devoured completely, and for $10, was one of the best deals ever) and younger one (grilled cheese served with pickles and orange slices). My husband and I shared the lamb meat kabob and caponata burger. Both were great, but I loved the kabob so much I would order it again and not share so I can savor it all! We were stuffed, but desserts were so tempting we could not resist. I loved the heath bar bread pudding, my husband loved the whipped cheese cake (which reminded me more of a light terra cotta) and my boys thought the dirt cup (chocolate mouse with a gummy worm) was one of the best desserts ever! My only complaint was the noise-- the acoustics were not great-- but the manager (who stopped by to introduce himself and welcome us--another big plus) said they were working on it.

In contrast, our experience at F & W was terrible, primarily because of the service. Our waiter was the most clueless waiter we have ever had-- he couldn't answer any of our questions (even basic ones) and disappeared for long stretches at a time. And while the restaurant was attractively designed, it didn't work for me from a practical perspective. First, our group of 4 adults was seated around a U-shaped table, which made conversing difficult, and then when we asked to move, we were seated at a table with a low bench on one side and high bar stools on the other (so half of us were raised above the others). While we enjoyed the food (a veggie flat bread and tuna tartar to start followed by rock fish for me and one of my friends, the burger for my husband, and the scallops for our other friend) and liked the menu's variety, it was not good enough to warrant our return. Probably the most annoying part was that our desserts were held up a half an hour-- about 10 min. after ordering, we were told the cream brulees needed 10 more minutes b/c the torch stopped working; 10 min. later we were told they needed 10 more, and finally a half hour later they arrived. Unfortunately, they were on the sub-par side-- not rich and creamy as expected. The restaurant did comp them because of the huge delay, which was the only positive part of the service.

That's the scoop from here for now! Happy dining to you all!

  1. crackers Jul 23, 2012 05:54 PM

    Stephanie, thank you for the great write-up. Do you have to be a kid to get the kid's surf and turf at Food Market? Because I would love to order it (and am slightly too old to pass as a kid, alas). Maybe I'll have to bring a kid along with me when I go. :)

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