|Shrimp scampi, beef tenderloin tartare, blackened beef tenderloin|
After conversation and a snack of creamy crab dip with the smack of horseradish, we were encouraged to take seats at tables set up in the cozy Hearth room and an adjacent smaller dining room perfectly sized for a fun dinner for a dozen or so friends.
Now, when I said "sample the menu," I meant it. There are 26 items currently available; we tasted 21 of them. And not a clunker in the bunch. The oyster stew (which happens to be featured in our cookbook, Baltimore Chef's Table), is a standout, and the shellfish soup is light and dreamy, redolent of lobster stock. Other favorites included the beef tenderloin tartare, the Fall Harvest salad and its surprising maple vinaigrette, and the "pasta of the moment," which at that moment involved spinach, mascarpone, and lemon.
|Beef Tenderloin Tartare: With anchovy aioli, sriracha, capers, shallot, cornichons,|
quail egg yolk, smoked sea salt and toasted baguette
There's a nod to vegetarians with a "crab cake" made from shredded zucchini and served with white beans. The pasta of the moment will often be vegetarian, and there are a couple of salads to choose from as well. However, between the several types of shellfish, beef, chicken, venison, salmon, and organ meats, omnivores fare best at c. 1740 Lounge.
The food is uniformly delicious, and the price is right. Courses begin at $12, with a supplement on some dishes with obviously pricier ingredients. Wine pairings are $4 for a 2-ounce pour and $7 for 4 ounces, but if you prefer a cocktail, do try the Port Poached Pear Martini, with gin, vodka, pear liqueur, pineapple juice, port, and sweet and sour. Dinner at the Lounge is available 7 days a week, and one can also enjoy lunch Monday through Friday. Despite the low-key atmosphere, the food and service are still top-notch.
When we thought of the Milton Inn as a special occasion restaurant, the drive up to Sparks seemed like a journey. Now, we realize, it's just a pleasant jaunt up the road.
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