When it comes to hotel restaurants, Baltimore has a tendency to defy expectations in spectacular fashion. Case in point: Magdalena, considered by many to be the city’s best restaurant … and nestled in the Ivy Hotel. Other stars include Sagamore Pendry’s sophisticated Rec Pier Chop House, the elegant French Kitchen at the Lord Baltimore Hotel and Hotel Monaco’s popular B&O American Brasserie.
And now, Mount Vernon’s new Hotel Revival is joining the fray with not one, but two new eateries. “The way we see it, we’re restaurants within a hotel, not hotel restaurants,” says bar manager Chelsea Gregoire. “We’re bringing our passion and excitement to the community.”
The more formal of the two, Square Meal, offers three — you guessed it — square meals, using locally sourced ingredients. Let’s just say that chef Wilbur Cox’s imaginative menu is far from a paltry continental breakfast or room-service chicken tenders.
Fourteen floors up is fittingly named Topside, a space with views so breathtaking you might miss the cool art deco design. Designed to be a quirky-casual alternative to its more formal downstairs neighbor, Topside is teeming with fresh seafood (Cox recommends the fried catfish) while focusing on local beer and fun, funky cocktails from the bar.
Also planned for the hotel? A retail area serving up creations from Cox with a longer shelf life, like hot sauce and Worcestershire and his house-made, as-yet-unnamed take on Fritos, and “Baltimore’s worst-kept secret” — Japanese-style karaoke rooms with their own food and drink options in an undisclosed location on the hotel’s first floor. Shhh. —KIMBERLY USLIN
As is the often the case in these matters, Dane Thibodeaux and Manuel Sanchez’s introduction to real macarons began in Paris. Enamored with the delicate cookie, they returned to the States determined to re-create it — only to find there’s a reason they’re “so expensive.”
“We tried hundreds of times,” Sanchez says. “There were times we would go to bed almost crying. We went through multiple recipes — some of them were just wrong. Others didn’t tell all the details. We even went to a class at one point, but we weren’t very satisfied.”
Finally, they got it and began selling their macarons, along with marshmallows and travel cakes, at a farmers’ market booth in California. This eventually spurred a return to their former home and perceived dessert desert, Baltimore … and Sacré Sucré was born.
The store offers six standard flavors of macarons (including dark chocolate, salted caramel and vanilla bean) as well as six rotating flavors incorporating
exotic fruits, teas and other sophisticated flavors. Also on the menu? Eclairs,
fresh marshmallows, travel cakes, hot and iced tea, kombucha on tap, matcha and more. Délicieux. —KU
You’ve heard of farm-to-table … but have you heard of forest-to-table? That’s part of the idea behind chef Chris Amendola’s newish “hyperlocal” dinner destination, Foraged.
Seventy-five percent of the menu is “currently from local watermen or farms or the woods,” he says. “The food really depends on what I can get for that week and what the farmers are most excited about at the time of year.”
More consistent features? The restaurant has a hydroponic system in the dining room where edible herbs and flowers are grown, and there’s a near-constant, not-so-charmingly named section of the menu called “Pig Parts” that focuses on what’s less commonly eaten.
Asked if anyone ever actually orders the eye socket, Amendola says, laughing: “It’s one of the most popular ones. There’s this little pocket of meat right behind the eye — it’s incredible.” —KU
Rum Runner is the booziest alliterative around. It’s both an ode to the heroes of prohibition, responsible for braving waterways to smuggle rum into states, and the most widely recognized Tiki cocktail.
The Real McCoy rum pays homage to Bill McCoy, a pioneer rum runner of the Prohibition Era. These small batch rums are distilled with the finest blackstrap molasses and pure spring water, offering refined elevation to the Tiki tradition.
1 ounce The Real McCoy Silver rum
1 ounce The Real McCoy Five Year Aged rum
1 ounce banana liqueur
1 ounce blackberry juice
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce pineapple juice
A splash of grenadine
In a mixing tin over one cup ice combine all ingredients, stir and pour over into a chilled glass. Garnish with fresh fruit and a cherry.