Colette: It’s not just Hype

Last Friday evening we had some time to kill before an art opening and decided to wander around Station North for a bite to eat.  I’d heard about this french place that was new and wanted to check out.  So we wandered over to Colette, which is right in between two other exceptional restaurants so please don’t overlook it.

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The beautiful bar at Colette

The wait for a table was over an hour but there was ample seating in the bar area, really not a bad seat in the house.  It’s not often that I will make a big deal about this, but we loved our waitress.  She was friendly and knowledgeable.  The best part was her going around to everyone in the bar right before the end of Happy Hour to make sure we all got some drinks before the price went up.  That gets an A++ in my book.  The first drink I ordered was the Sir Barton.  I had been excited about it ever since they announced their Preakness inspired drink menu.  They shared the recipe for the Sir Barton and I’ve been having my husband make it for me at home.  I won’t say how often.  I’m happy to say I was not disappointed with the Sir Barton I was served at Colette and as you can see they have the big square ice, bonus!  I broke the rules with it though, by not ordering off the Happy Hour menu, for shame.

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Sir Barton

For my next drink I had whatever the Happy Hour red was and we put in our order for some sharables.  The women next to us raved about the Gruyere Beignets when we first arrived so I decided to give them a shot.  The hype was well deserved.  The Gruyere Beignets served with honey, chives, and sea salt are both savory and sweet.  I really can’t think of a more perfect bite.  I’m sitting here salivating as I type.  I miss them, I need them.  Thank you random ladies at the bar.

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Gruyere Beignets

The other appetizer we ordered was the Steak Tartare made with ramp mayonnaise, cured egg yolk, and horseradish.  If you haven’t noticed the theme yet, I almost always order the tartare when we go somewhere new.  I think it says a lot about a restaurant if they are able to pull off a good tartare.  This was definitely up to par with the tartare I’ve had at other highly rated restaurants in the city.  I really liked the addition of horseradish to the dish, it gives it some bite.

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Steak Tartare

For my main course I ordered the Morel and Wild Mushroom Stew with fiddlehead ferns, madeira, and ricotta dumplings.  I know it was like 100 degrees that day and thick with humidity, but morels.  I had to get the stew.  It was worth being slightly uncomfortable eating a hot stew on a hot day though.  Luckily the air in the bar was blowing on me.  The stew was very rich and salty.  The ricotta dumplings cut through and added a sweet creaminess.  In a dish that would normally be very mushy, the fiddlehead ferns gave it some much-needed crunch.

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Morel and Wild Mushroom Stew

Mr. Meat and Potatoes continued on his duck quest.  He ordered the Pan Seared Duck Breast with sweet potato, mustard greens, and sherried blueberries.  His duck was awesome.  It had a crispy skin and was cooked to a perfect medium rare.  The sweet potato and mustard greens complemented the saltiness of the accompanying sauce.  The blueberries were the sweet accent you always want when eating duck.  I had a taste and I have to say that was one of the best sweet potatoes I’ve ever had.

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Pan Seared Duck Breast

We finished off our meal with a shared dessert.  My food was way too heavy to eat a dessert on my own.  We went with the Milk and Honey Pot de Creme with lavender shortbread.  While most may not be, I’m a big fan of lavender in food, especially dessert.  If there is lavender on the menu I’ll order it because it’s not an easy feet to create a lavender dish that works.  Colette went above and beyond my expectations.  The creme was fluffy and sweet and the lavender sprinkled on top was just the right amount.  You don’t want an overpowering amount of lavender in your mouth, this was just right.

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Milk and Honey Pot de Creme

I most certainly am making another trip back to Colette.  It’s perfect for a 3 course meal and also for sharing several small plates.  We’ve done the courses, next time I want do order lots of small bites.  Basically, I need try everything on their menu, but I think I’ll have a hard time not ordering the beignets every time we go and my husband just told me he is ordering the duck every time no matter what.  It sounds like we will have to go back a lot and that is not a bad thing.

Colette, 1709 N. Charles St / 443-835-2945 colettebaltimore.com

Enjoy!

– Lindsey

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