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Monday, November 28, 2016

Victoria Gastro Pub

     The menu is varied and the atmosphere lively. The drinks are sophisticated and the intent to please perceptible. Those are certainly necessary features for a grastro pub, but they are not what captivated me at this suburban Baltimore spot. Instead, it was the commitment to celebrating London's Victoria Station and its environs in the decor. Tudor archways, velvet draperies, Renaissance chandeliers and banners festoon the dusky space.
     Victoria Gastro Pub's cocktail and draft beer menu offers a lovely selection of libations, every inventive name a lure toward investigation. The Flying Dog Horchata Lager and the Lagunitas Stoopid Wit made great conversation points, but John finally settled on the Bell's Amber Ale with a little citrus, a little caramel, a little bitterness. I ordered the Violet Beauregard martini with its promised sweetness from its muddled blueberries, Veev Acai liqueur, blueberry juice and Limoncello. Both our selections were solid, but neither caused any satisfied lip-smacking.

     We sampled a good cross-section of the brunch and dinner menus. As an introduction, small biscuits and butter arrive nestled in brown paper. Biscuits are always a welcome sight for John, but these were so dense, they stuck stubbornly to the roof and corners of your mouth. 
     We ordered the lobster grilled cheese, the Victoria Pub Black Angus burger, the mascarpone stuffed challah French toast, and the salmon Rosti, a combination of smoked salmon, eggs sunny side up, over a Gruyere potato cake, and dill creme fraiche. The lobster grilled cheese contained a Brie fondue with bits of Maine lobster and plenty of flavor. John found his burger disappointing. It was cooked slightly over his desired medium and bland. I've warned him about pursuing burgers in a place that doesn't specialize in them or has no reputation for them, but he won't listen. His argument is, if he doesn't try, how will he find hidden burger treasures? Fair enough.
     The Rosti was the quintessential brunch dish. However, the eggs were just a bit overcooked, so I didn't get that silky burst of egg yolk to penetrate the nooks and crannies of the potato cake and gently touch the salty salmon. Individually, all the elements were acceptable, but that little detail would have made it come together.
     The French toast was the best of our selections. Thick slabs of challah bread with blue and blackberry compote, vanilla whipped cream, and orange flower maple syrup combined to create a fresh, light, and addictive flavor pallette.
     Don't think the abundance of dishes on our table discouraged us from perusing the dessert menu. I was curious about the Tiramisu trifle, but John theorized that it was just Tiramisu in a glass, and in his world, that's just wrong. We decided to sample the brownie-bottom cheesecake. It was satisfying but predictable. In fact, I will confess that at this writing, I'd forgotten we had it until I found the picture in my phone. A sweet nothing, if you will. 
     Victoria Gastro Pub is the kind of place you want near home. It may not offer menu sensations, but it's a go-to spot where you're sure to get consistently satisfying fare in cozy yet elegant surroundings.

BB Free @2016