Sunday, January 21, 2007

Brass Elephant

I'm not going to Georgia next weekend >>sigh<<. Sad but true. But my sister is, so we decided to go out last night, as we won't have the chance next weekend. I found myself driving all over Charles St., first down S. Charles towards the Matsuri sushi restaurant. We would've stopped there (I've heard wonderful things) , but parking was not to be found, so we got tired of looking. I then found myself going up to Mt. Vernon, and found parking right near the big group of restaurants near the Hippo. We decided to look here. I had told her that I wanted to try something in Baltimore Mag's Best Restaurants issue. So we headed for the Helmand, but there was about an hour wait. We headed for the Saffron, but the prices didn't strike us as very "Moderate," despite the magazine's designation as such. We even stopped by the Minato, which isn't a Baltimore Mag Best Restaurant, but it was an easy enough choice. Not in the mood for sushi anymore. And not in the mood for Indian, either (which nixes about three restaurants right there). We finally decided on the Brass Elephant. This is a restaurant I had been meaning to try out, especially ever since La Rachael Ray talked about it on her Tasty Travels show. She got some sort of martini. Again, the prices aren't as "Moderate" as Baltimore Mag thinks they are. Where do these people eat, anyway, that the Brass Elephant is moderate? But there was a light fair menu with relatively cheaper things to eat, so we set our sights on that.

The Brass Elephant is sumptuous. I cannot stress that enough. It's like eating in some absolutely gorgeous, gorgeous 18th century home. We were given the option of eating in the more formal dining area downstairs or upstairs in their more cazh lounge. The lounge comes with a lite fare menu, so we went for that. Otherwise, it's $30 for an entrée.

Upstairs was just as sumptuous as downstairs, and we were quickly led to a dining area off the side of the lounge. My my! The waitress, who was also a bartender, asked for our drink order. My sister got soda while I asked about the stouts. I got this nice Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout. This is a bit tangier than Guinness, and very good. My waitress poured it for me into a frosted glass. Quite attentive service!

Oh, did I mention this place is sumptuous? I just wanted to note that again. Anyway...

We leisurely looked over our menus and noticed that the lounge menu pretty much paralleled the appetizers menu, with one or two differences. Only the items on the lounge menu were either the same price or slightly cheaper. We each went for two different items, kind of like a tapas bar.

For our first course, my sister ordered the mussels in an herb broth for $6.50 - complete with its own little fork. Of course I tried this, and it was delicious. I ordered the three cheese ravioli ($7). I was surprised to find that I only got three ravioli (or about $2.33 per raviolo). But look at what these ravioli are stuffed with: brie, white cheddar and ricotta. Did I mention the brie? Oh my goodness, how decadent! It came with pecans and a wine syrup. We both agreed, it was good.

Our second plates were treated as an entrée, but they didn't jack up the prices accordingly. My sister got their grilled beef filet ($16), a heavenly portion of beef, not large but just the right size as far as she was concerned. It came with wonderful mashed potatoes ("three onion mashed potatoes"), figs and asparagus (she said the asparagus was perfect), all in a vanilla and black pepper demi-glace. I ordered the rabbit in an apple cider reduction, served on a delicious slice of squash. I have to say the rabbit, at about $9, was the least favorite part of my meal. It wasn't bad, but the consistency was very uneven - some of it was a little dry, other pieces were very moist, but the flavor wasn't exceptional. I could, in fact, imagine a reasonable facsimile using chicken. But that was the only dull spot in an otherwise shining dinner. And the squash was fantastic, so this dish wasn't all so bad.

For dessert, we again opted for different dishes. My sister ordered the dark chocolate mousse torte, covered in a delicious chocolate ganache. I went for the much simpler crême brulée, which (like the cake) came with fresh berries. It was wide and thin, and tasty - not the absolute best I've had, but certainly I would order it again. Each dessert cost $7 - in fact, all but one of the desserts cost $7. About what I paid for a dessert in London, I'm afraid.

I am now very glad we opted for the lounge menu, as the total bill for this cheaper menu came to a whopping $56 before tip. The service was very good, so we left a $10 tip, ab0ut 18%. But that's what you should expect to pay at a posh place like the Brass Elephant. And hell, it's not like I'll be eating there all the time. I probably will save it for a special occasion. But while I don't agree with Baltimore Magazine that it's a moderately priced restaurant, I do agree it is one of the best! And most sumptuous.


Zenchick said...

Baltimore Mag really said it was $moderate$ ?? I've lived here for like 17 years, and YET to go there...because it's known to be the poshest place in town (with prices reflecting!)
Glad you had a good time I know I can go and get the lounge menu!

Baltmore Snacker said...

Believe it or not, moderate. But it is a gorgeous place, even if you eat just one thing.

danielle said...

I had read about the lounge option somewhere before, but still have never been. Posh isn't so much in my budget.

I do like Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout. Great beer to drink when it's cold outside.

If you are ever dead set on eating in Fed Hill and there is no parking to be found, there is the West St. Garage. The first hour is free. I also know some good side street spots.

Baltmore Snacker said...

I must look for the West St. Garage. I rarely get out to the Fed Hill area, I need to get out there more.