As restaurants roll out their new seasonal menus, I try to stop in and see what is new. With the ever-growing number of restaurants in Baltimore it is hard to visit all the new places without neglecting the old go-tos. I think Baltimore is neglecting The French Kitchen at The Lord Baltimore Hotel. Yes, I may be one of those neglecting it too. So that is why I stopped in on Friday night to visit their new LB Skybar and eat at the restaurant.
We started our evening by heading up to the 19th floor for the LB Skybar, The Lord Baltimore’s rooftop bar. It opened last week for the season and offers drinks, music, lite far, and good views of the city. We sat in a comfortable lounge area which is perfect for a larger group or people who don’t mind a little mingling. I ordered the Honey Mint Julep in keeping with the Preakness Theme of the weekend. They were not skimpy with their whiskey. The rooftop bar does offer some small bites like sushi and sharable platters. We decided it was best to save our appetites for the restaurant though. So after about an hour of soaking up the late day sun we headed back down to the lobby to visit The French Kitchen.
Although it was a little early for dinner on a Friday night, I was surprised to find the dining room empty at 6:15PM. Maybe the excitement of the new bar on the roof has pulled from their before dinner drinks customers but even as we made our way through dinner only one other table was seated.
Our server brought us some delicious fresh bread to start out with and we both ordered glasses of red wine from their $8 drink menu. Full up on bread and drinks we went straight for the main course. I ordered the Saint Jaeques which is Scallops, Morels, Pickled Ramps & English Pea Risotto. Again with the morels, I know, but they are so special and only available for such a short time. My scallops were cooked perfectly with a crispy exterior. Everything was mixed in to the creamy risotto and there were plenty of morels. I could have eaten about 5 more scallops so they may have done me a favor only serving 3. This dish was perfectly balanced with the savory risotto and the tartness of the pickled ramps. It gets 5 stars in my book.
Mr. Meat and Potatoes went a little bit out of his comfort zone and ordered the Poulet Maryland which is Pan Seared Airline Chicken, Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, Corn & Tomatoes, with a White Wine Cream Sauce. To be honest, this is what I had wanted to order if it hadn’t been for the morels in the other dish so I may or may not have convinced him that he needed to order it so I could have a bite. He loved it though. He described the dish as a little bit country and a little bit rock & roll, a mixture that came together to form the perfect dish. I had a bite too and it was on point. The chicken was savory with crispy skin that would have made Bobby Flay jealous (this is a reference to his constant use of crispy chicken skins on Beat Bobby Flay, watch it) and the accompanying crab and corn brought a much-needed sweetness to the dish. His favorite part was the cream sauce and he wished there have been more of it.
We can never agree on dessert so we always have to get our own. It’s kind of a contest to see who ordered better. On this night, I won by ordering the Pistachio Crème brûlée made with Pistachio Custard, Candied Pistachios and Apricots. I feel like there is something about pistachio that scares a normal person away from ordering dessert but pistachio gelato is one of my most favorite things so how could a creme brûlée be wrong? It was oh so good. Perfect brûlée over the top that you have to break with your spoon and smooth, not too sweet, pistachio creme underneath. The apricots brought a tart accent to every bite.
My husband received first runner-up by ordering the Gâteau Normand, a Traditional Apple Cake from Normandy region served with Amaretto Cream. It was good and he enjoyed it but we both just expected more from it, almost a little one-note from what you would expect from a restaurant which such an amazing pastry chef.
As you can see Baltimore, The French Kitchen deserves your love. You should visit it more often, give their new menu a try. If anything, it is one of the most gorgeous restaurant interiors you are ever going to see. Maybe I am biased because I love turquoise but it really makes you feel like you are French royalty dining inside the Palace of Versailles. So take a break from the hot new thing and give The French Kitchen the attention it deserves.