Honestly, really honestly – it takes a lot to make my tastebuds stand to attention. Jaded, yes – been there, done that from New York dining at Daniel’s to the humble hot dog off a cart. A recent media dinner at The Rowhouse Grille caught me by surprise when the first two dishes we shared seemed to be in contention for my OMG dish of the year.
The evening kicked off with The Rowhouse Grille special that evening, Tom Yum mussels in a lemongrass, coconut, lime, shallot and garlic broth. I am partial to Vietnamese flavors I must admit although everyone at the table was gaga over the Tom Yum mussels and they disappeared too quickly. Luckily, the Tom Yum mussels will be going on the permanent selection of mussels from The Rowhouse Grille’s Moules Frites Bar offered nightly. Monday night is the Moules Frites Bar special where you can choose from anyone of their multiple sauces for the mussels and save two dollars and a dollar off the fries. Other nightly specials:
Tuesday: Half Price Wine Night-Any bottle on the list is half off. $14 Fresh Catch, served w/ two sides.
Wednesday: Beer and Burger Night–The Rowhouse Angus Burger, with your choice of cheese and house-made chips $8. All Draft Beers $3/$4. Authentic New England Lobster Roll w/ Handcut Fries-$12 which this diner has made a must go back and try.
Thursday: Pasta Night-Weekly Pasta w/ House Salad $14. -$2.50 Natty Boh Drafts, $4 Blue Moon Drafts, $4 Leinenkugel Summer Shandy Drafts, $5 Orange/Grapefruit Crushes.
Back to my culinary epiphany, the Tuna Sashimi, Ahi Tuna with Pineapple & Serrano Relish, Wasabi Cream and a Ponzu Dipping Sauce was the 2nd dish in contention for the OMG dish for 2011.
Chef with street creds
Executive Chef Tess Mosley, a southern gal, has worked for two of the leading female chefs on the East Coast starting with Chef Jamie Leeds at 15 Ria and Hank’s Oyster Bar as Executive Sous Chef and Chef Nora Pouillon at the totally organic Restaurant Nora in Washington DC. Here is a chef who knows quality products, organic, and farm to table. The street creds are there, even a stint at Regine Palladin’s Pesce on Chef Mosley’s culinary resume. She isn’t shy about bold flavors and for me, that is a good thing.
Back to the food
Cindy Plackmeyer, the bar scene columnist for joltleft.com, and her husband Kerry have dined at The Rowhouse Grille previously and waited with abated breath for the Crispy Skin Chicken. It didn’t disappoint. We were treated to the Doggfatha Burger which comes with blue cheese, truffle oil, baby Portobello and veal gravy. Seared sea scallops with roasted peaches, mashed potatoes and a cooling fennel apple salad made the rounds at the table but by the time the dish got to me the scallops were gone but everything else on the plate was deeelish. Check out the slide show though my snaps of the mussels were a bust and the chicken blurred – you will still get a good idea.
Dessert, aaah sweet somethings, there is always a place for them. The Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate & Caramel Terrine was sheer decadence: rich, creamy, dense – beyond your chocolate imagination. The mini red velvet cake stood its ground but once you’ve gone Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Terrine it is hard to go back to red velvet cake.
Revitalized and refreshed
The Rowhouse Grille, was renovated from a dive bar, stripped to the brick and brought back. The lower level entrance has a long bar with some tables in the back but most the dining is done on the 2nd floor where tables fill the front room along with a small bar and original fireplace. During the renovation, the 3rd floor was ripped out leaving floor two with high ceilings, extra light and a feeling of spaciousness. A nice selection of local artists’ work adorns the brick walls.
The Rowhouse Grille’s menu is on their website with all their food and beverage specials. There is plenty to drink there from Argentine wines to Clipper City beer. Everything is posted on the website.
In the end, the question is would I go back on my own dime? The answer is yes. There is more to taste and discover from the very talented Chef Mosley.
The Rowhouse Grille – 1400 Light Street-Baltimore, MD 21230 443-438-7289 www.therowhousegrille.com Street parking or go to the West Street garage between Charles and Light.
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