700 East Pratt Street, Baltimore,
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor has long been the jewel of the city, albeit a polished poo the last several years with barely a heartbeat. Fortunately, signs of the next renaissance are appearing, breathing fresh, new life into the escutcheon of Charm City. One of the first new establishments giving reason to visit the waterfront is Blackwall Hitch. The moment you arrive, you feel like you’ve entered the VIP section of a modern steamliner ship with friendly staff ready to take care of you and bartenders who know how to make a great cocktail.
The modern American menu infused with Executive Chef David Saffell’s influence offers a wide range of fresh, upscale flavors that charts comfort food on a delightful gastro voyage. From lighter salads such as The Shobb (a seafood-heavy Cobb) to flatbreads such as the Curry Cauliflower (with pickled peppers, goat cheese, and butternut squash), there are lots of lighter options to go with that first drink.
Appetizers such as the Blackwall Shrimp (white wine, garlic, and creole butter you’ll want to bathe in), Crispy Calamari Fritz with sweet chili BBQ sauce, and Smoky PEI Mussels in Hickory Butter are next-level dishes that stand above the typical menu versions elsewhere. The calamari is accompanied by tasty fried cherry peppers that accentuate the freshness of the sea. The meaty mussels in the hickory butter and white wine / garlic broth absorbed the most wonderful concoction of satisfying flavors bursting into your mouth with each bite.
The dinner menu options continued to make an outstanding impression. The chef’s catch-of-the-day was Opa with Pan Seared Sea Scallops in Beurre Noisette (a nutty brown butter). Both had the richness of the brown butter perfectly seared into the top and bottom of each bite. The Pork Osso Buco with Herb Tagliatelle embodied old-school Italian comfort food at its finest. The huge pork shank was fall-off-the-bone tender. The freshly made Tagliatelle pasta in garlic and chive butter had a deliciously delicate bite while still retaining an al dente texture. As fabulous as these dishes are, all worth repeat visits, I was absolutely amazed by Chef Saffell’s Rockfish with Jumbo Lump Crab and Lemon Butter. There are too few seafood dishes that captures the essence and soul of the Chesapeake Bay as this panko-encrusted rockfish and crab. Everything about this dish reminded me of a warm day on the Eastern Shore, enjoying its treasures with friends. Even the bed of corn and clove rice were impressive. If grits could be served in some form of deconstructed version, this sweet corn was it.
The dessert selection was no less spectacular. A variety of chocolate truffles are a tasty finish if you don’t have any room left below deck. Otherwise, indulge in a final round of decadence with Blackwall Hitch’s Molten Chocolate S’mores Cake (I loved the gooey homemade marshmallow) or the Apple Tiramisu (imagine tiramisu and an apple pie had a beautiful, scrumptious baby).
Whether it’s a special occasion or just another day, Blackwall Hitch makes for the kind of memories we want to keep revisiting with friends and family.
- Michael Ritmiller is a Baltimore native and foodie whose professional career spans across a variety of research & development initiatives in addition to serving local non-profits that benefit the community. An avid believer in supporting small restauranteurs, Michael began writing for Baltimore OUTloud in 2018 with the intent of identifying who offers the “best of” dishes around town.