What happens when you combine a farm to table concept, exceptional food, a modern upscale yet laid back setting, excellent service, and excellent drinks? Fleet Street Kitchen of course! This relatively new restaurant seems to make all the right moves and continues to impress. Conveniently located in Harbor East, Fleet Street Kitchen sits next to its sister restaurants TenTen and Bagby Pizza Company.
The interior of the restaurant feels rustic yet has modern elegant accents. The tall ceiling in the main dining room has windows both at eye level and several overhead which allow a lot of natural light during the early part of dinner service. Thick wooden struts extend from the exposed brick walls to the center of the triangular ceiling. Various decorative glass bottles provide a color contrast to the abundance of dark tones. The restaurant manages to have a fine dining feel, while still being comfortable and not pretentious.
The wait staff is very welcoming and knowledgeable about the restaurant and the menu. We turned to our waiter, Isaac, several times for suggestions and he never steered us wrong. The menu draws inspiration from many cuisines, but the overall theme is contemporary American cuisine. Most of its ingredients are sourced from Cunningham Farms, which is owned by the restaurant.
Appetizers include options such as roasted beet salad with a borscht emulsion sauce, or a split pea soup with ricotta served table-side. Some heartier options showcased butter-poached lobster, crispy pork belly with a smoked maple glaze, and caramelized scallops with spring vegetables. The menu changes very frequently based on the what is seasonally available, so by the time you read this the menu will probably be drastically different. We sampled the split pea soup, which had a velvety smooth consistency and a wonderful fresh aroma from the spring peas and mint. The dish comes to the table with ricotta in the center before the waiter pours the hot pea soup around the bowl. The spring peas had a nice bite and worked perfect with the rich yet airy ricotta cheese and the pungent mint. Our friends who were dining with us that evening ordered the roasted beet salad, which was one of the more beautiful plates I have seen. They both raved about the borscht emulsion sauce, which tied the entire plate together.
It was very difficult to pick between entrees. With options such as Chesapeake Bay rockfish with clam and bacon stew and leg of lamb with charred ramps and parsnips, it sounded as if you couldn’t go wrong. I settled on the rockfish with spinach clam and bacon stew. The dish sounds a mess but when it arrives to your table it all makes sense. The skin of the beautifully fresh rockfish was seared until extra crispy, while still leaving the pearly white flesh completely juicy. The generous center cut portion of fish sat atop a very light seafood stew, which had a green color from the spinach. The stew featured items such as leeks, bacon lardons and various shellfish. Each component of the dish was perfect on its own but was absolutely delicious when combined in the same forkful. We also had the roasted leg of lamb, served with faro, parsnips and charred ramps. When the dish arrived we were pleasantly surprised to see the leg of lamb was cut into thick pieces as if it was a steak. The overall concept was to make a relatively inexpensive cut of lamb taste and eat like a steak with some lighter grains and vegetables as the accompaniment. Yet another truly delicious dish, so mission accomplished.
Our fellow diners ordered the roasted farm chicken and the 30 day aged ribeye steak. The chicken was served in a somewhat classic French preparation, in which the chicken is separated by section, leaving the golden brown crispy skin intact on each section. The chicken was perfectly cooked and very moist, as it sat beside brussel sprouts, creamy polenta and Fleet Street Kitchen bacon – a perfect dish for any palette. The ribeye was grilled and then pre-sliced into thick portions, served with a crispy potato hash, house made sauerkraut and veal jus. I must admit the portion of the steak was not what you would expect, being a bit small to be really considered a hearty dinner like the other entrees. Jacob assured me the steak was very delicious however, as we all cleaned our plates.
Although all of us were already admittedly stuffed from the appetizers and entrees, the desserts sounded to intriguing to pass up. Most options are classic dessert items but often with a modern twist and/or deconstructed presentation. For example the carrot cake cheesecake, which had square chunks of carrot cake that sat atop various sauces or textures, each representing a different flavor of the carrot cake as a whole. The dessert was as gastronomically pleasing as it was aesthetically pleasing – a hard feat considering the work of art each dish is. I was really craving coffee after our meal so my friend pointed out that Fleet Street had an affogato on the menu. I had never heard of such a thing before, but an affogato is a shot of espresso poured over a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Lemon ginger snap cookies are served alongside the beverage for dipping. It was the perfect after dinner drink.
After our meal we were in awe as to how good everything was. The food was as delicious as it was creative – each dish perfectly executed and beautifully plated. The farm to table concept is really exemplified at Fleet Street Kitchen. I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a different Baltimore dining experience, or anyone just looking for a great meal – enjoy.