I made the earliest reservation possible, 5:30pm, because I get off work at 4 and am downtown anyway. Yes, I sacrificed myself by staying for an additional hour just to be able to eat at Cinghiale. It may or may not have been worth it.
We arrived at the restaurant about four minutes early and were asked to wait in the bar. Soon enough we were whisked to a table in the front corner of the empty restaurant. Another couple waiting with us got seated at the very next, so close it was practically adjacent, table. Huge empty restaurant, and they put the two couples eating early right next to each other. The woman at that other table was so loud, hell, they might as well have given us a four-top.
Anyhoo, lets ignore them for a few minutes, as if that's possible.
A bit of advice. If your server asks if you've eaten at Cinghiale before, say yes, otherwise he or she will start a seemingly endless spiel about how the menu works. There are two prix fixe options, a rustic 3-course with limited choices and a larger and fancier 4-course version, both of which are spelled out very clearly (and in different colors) on the menu. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry at our server's pronunciation, which was only made worse by her Valley Girl-esque delivery. Eventually, she left us alone with the menu. As we perused it, another server brought over a basket of bread and poured puddles of olive oil onto our bread plates. I think a single saucer of oil for the table would have been a better idea. The oil was so raw and bitter, we rejected it after one taste and had to balance our bread on the rim of our plates to avoid the stuff. As it turns out, the bread itself--a rustic Italian and another with bacon and dried cherries--was delicious on its own. Come on--bacon bread. What's not to love?
After we ordered and before we received our first course, we learned that the couple sitting at the next table were vegetarians who fancied themselves as wine snobs. (They may not have appreciated the bacon bread.) She nattered on about trivial things for much of the duration of our meal. He didn't say much at all, and when he did, it was in much quieter tones than hers. I figured they were probably on their second or third date.
Meanwhile, the woman at the next table liked the vinaigrette on her asparagus A LOT. And whee...look! Her red wine is a different color than his red wine! And if she can't see Andrea Bocelli in Tuscany, she'll settle for seeing him at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Life's hard like that sometimes. (Heaven forbid that she be forced to see him at the Verizon Center.)
At this point in our meal, we find out that
By this point in the evening, Mrs Wine Snob (turns out they were celebrating a wedding anniversary) was completely blotto and practically yelling about how much she enjoyed the meal. What started out as amusing had finally taken me past the point of being annoyed, and I was eager to pay the tab and hit the road. I was especially pleased that the tab was so low, thanks to that Open Table cheque.
822 Lancaster St
Baltimore, MD 21202
Posted on Minxeats.com.