Tuesday, July 12, 2016
The Food Market
The Food Market is a polished cozy rectangle with an open kitchen at the far end and wall-to-wall booth seating.
It's Monday evening and the place is packed. It's the last night of our vacation, and in expectation of a brutally early flight home, John and I pass on the cocktails. My daughter Laura, however, ordered a Robin, a mixture of cranberry vodka, hibiscus liqueur, pineapple juice, muddled basil and orange. The drink had an intriguing complexity with sweetness interrupted by a slight bitterness. It worked.
The introductory basket of bread contained perfectly chewy squares of toasted sesame ciabatta with dipping olive oil. I ordered the Crab and Corn Doughnuts served with a roasted pepper butter. These savory little spheres delivered the promised balance of the two main flavors. I didn't even look at the sauce. John ordered the Double Bison with a thick slab of braised onions. He enjoys the lighter, leaner meat in bison.
Laura ordered the Baltimore Club with crab cake and shrimp salad on potato bread, and her friend Chris had the Pat LaFrieda Burger, a solid version with all the traditional fixins'. Except this meat patty came from Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, known for their artisanal burger meat. Each sandwich came in the company of a darling small paper bag filled with crinkle-cut fries.
The meticulous care taken in the combination of ingredients, pairing of flavors, and presentation was evident in every dish on our table, and our desserts were indisputable showpieces. The lemon cheesecake was a fresh and velvety mousse in a glass sprinkled with blueberries. We also shared the Half-Baked Blondie which I underestimated. I thought it would be just another pale brownie with ice cream, but this one stood out. It was thick, cakey, warm, and surrounded by torched marshmallow, chocolate sauce and the expected vanilla ice cream. Masterful execution of an oldie but goodie.
Noise and cramped seating notwithstanding, I would make this a regular haunt if I lived in this area. The food is comforting yet exciting, the service is friendly and efficient, and valet parking is free. Everything about this restaurant says "Come on in. You'll like it here." I did.
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