924 North Charles Street, Baltimore
At The Manor in Baltimores Mount Vernon, avant-garde meets the high society of the past. The ambience is a collision of history and haute couture, offering dining settings spanning the spectrum of intimate to gregarious. While each room offers an abundance of charm, the food and drinks keep pace in style and extravagance.
Chef Parker Greene and his teams dazzling menu exhibits creativity and passion. Common dishes such as the wood-oven pizzas and Manor Burger will satisfy less adventurous eaters. The Strip Steak au Poivre and Manor Crab Cake fuse elegance with comfort food. The house-made Tabbouleh and also the Beet & Citrus Salad were a step above simple and pleasantly fresh. However, Chef Greenes excitement of his craft truly bursts forward on each of his more original plates.
Small plates such as the Lamb Meatballs reminded me of some of the old-school Sicilian style methods not found in modern restaurants. The Maitake Taco was a flavorful combination of mushrooms with a sweet, slightly acidic bite. The Fried Octopus with Jalapeo Herb Pesto was tender and a great alternative to the usual fried calamari. The Spatzle Carbonaro had a litany of flavors and doughy, pillowly textures culminating into something that felt like a comfort food we never knew we needed (imagine a soft, light pasta with a hint of bacon and egg-yolk infused creaminess).
Larger dinner options such as the Seared Scallops in Vanilla Brown Butter maintained that same level of excellence. Even more so with the Hickory Smoked Duck, a sous vide prepared orgy of flavors. The almost steak-like tender duck is accompanied by preserved cherries, compressed pears, and an almond crumb topping that needs to be its own food group.
Show up early for your reservation so that you can try one of the many house libations at either of the two bars while working up your appetite over a plate of Maryland oysters. There is a chance you might run into some old friends. Or maybe make some new ones at the bar or in the lounge area.
- 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.