Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Appetite Adventure - Bluegrass Tavern, South Baltimore
if you are just joining me for my appetite adventure and aren't really sure what it is, find out about it here. you can see the full list of reviews so far here or by clicking the appetite adventure tab at the top of this page - right next to "home" and "about PW".
p.s. oops, i forgot my "real" camera this night. please excuse the less than quality iphone pics.
some places make writing a stellar review easy. Bluegrass Tavern is one of those places. from walking in the door, to the last bite, our experience was pure pleasure.
this place feels like baltimore to me. housed in a two-story brick townhouse on the corner of south hanover street and west fort avenue, the place is oozing with charm and character. we immediately head to the bar to get drinks before the happy hour specials are over and are greeted by bartender Kelly.
Bluegrass Tavern is known for their extensive selection of bourbons so i choose a cocktail featuring one - the bluegrass manhattan. this drink features makers mark, blood orange bitters, and green mountain maple liqueur. the maple flavor leaves a sweet, smooth finish to this tasty concoction. E has a bit of trouble deciding what he wants and Kelly helps him narrow down his choices based on what he usually likes to drink. she suggested a blended scotch not on the menu and E is not disappointed. he enjoyed the light, smooth taste of Great King.
it's also worth noting they have quite the selection of beer as well (artfully displayed on their chalkboard by the bar).
we made our way upstairs when our reservation time arrived and quickly settled on the butcher and the cheesemaker daily selection of house made cheeses. we let the chef choose three for us and were not disappointed. the cheeses were divine (i only wish i remembered the types) and the crustini was the perfect vehicle for the creamy cheeses. my only qualm was the balsamic was indistinguishable in the strawberry balsamic reduction smear on the side of the board.
the menu changes seasonally based on what is fresh and in-season (i love that) but E and i managed to order two things that are mainstays on the menu. i got the fried chicken with potato salad and deviled egg puree. it. was. excellent! i can't tell you the last time i had fried chicken but i loved every bite. they used boneless, skinless chicken thighs which i loved. i don't want white meat with fried chicken and it felt a smidge healthier without the skin yet it still maintained a ton of fried crunch. perhaps me favorite part of the dish was the deviled egg puree. it literally tasted like pureed deviled eggs (one of my favorite dishes). the tangy bite of vinegar was evident and the creaminess paired well with the crunchy fried chicken. (i am even pleased to report that it reheats well. i could only manage one thigh but heated the second one in the toaster oven and it remained crispy!)
i also (unwisely) ordered a side of fries. i only say unwisely because fries came with E's order and we ended up having way too many fries. the malt vinegar aioli was excellent. the fries were good but could have been crispier in my opinion.
E ordered the daily grind burger which was an 8 ounce ground creekstone beef burger with grilled onions, roth kase rufomo cheese, special sauce, housemade ketchup and fries. the burger was melt-in-your-mouth tender and the onions and cheese made it even more mouth-wateringly juicy. i can't wait to go back so i can order the burger and have it all to myself!
E also ordered the spicy mac and cheese. the waiter told us it only had a hint of spice but we both found them to be quite spicy. i love it (even more so warmed up the next day - i think things get spicy the longer they sit) but E found it borderline too spicy. the flavor was good and the texture was creamy and cheesy.
finally, i am sad to report we did not have enough room for dessert. i took a picture of the dessert menu though because i wanted to try everything on it. we will definitely be returning to sample more of the delicious drinks, food, and will be sure to save room for the lemon coconut cake, or the bluegrass s'more, or the strawberry rhubarb sunday, or the . . .
all-in-all Bluegrass Tavern is an excellent taste of baltimore. if you are looking for a true baltimore gem with a focus on traditional american favorites with a new twist, make the trip to Bluegrass Tavern. Just make sure you arrive with an appetite and a thirst for something new.