For me, a foodaholic, the plethora of new restaurant openings in Baltimore’s downtown neighborhoods the past couple of months is the best of times and the worst of times. The worse being my ever growing waistline from dining around town. The best of times is finding a gem the likes of TEN TEN American Bistro in the Bagby Building.
The entrance is located in an alcove next to Bagby Pizza at 1010 Fleet Street. TEN TEN (@BagbysTenTen) takes the former warehouse space and works with its original materials to create a current and welcoming atmosphere. Reclaimed wood floors, exposed bricks and ceiling, marble bar, and black and white photographs add to the atmosphere. The materials and finished decorating touches to one of the most visually appealing restaurants here in Baltimore were finessed by Jane Smith, wife to David D Smith. David is president of the Bagby Restaurant Group, as well as CEO,Chairman of the Board, and Director to Sinclair Broadcasting. The restaurant is stunning and even my snaps aren’t doing it justice.
Recently I wrote about TEN TEN and their new happy hour offerings and soon after received an invite to a media dinner. The media gathering was a great opportunity to taste many of the dishes that intrigued me when reviewing their menu. A number of us gathered in the lounge area where we enjoyed cocktails. Tim Riley is the beverage director not only for TEN TEN but the forthcoming BRG’s Fleet Street Kitchen and their recently announced Towson restaurant. Tim has a number of unique offerings like the Flanders Red Ale – Rodenbach, Grand Cru, Belgium.
Let’s talk food
TEN TEN’s Chef Mark Davis, formerly of The Woodfire in Severna Park and Baltimore Country Club, served us a special creation of venison carpaccio cured with Chinese five spice, pumpkin seeds for texture, micro greens and a delicate hand with truffle oil. (check out the photo slide show)
Once everyone had arrived we were whisked off to dine with the Smiths, Tim Riley and their public relations gal, Carmel Gambacorta. We were given carte blanche to order whatever we desired off the menu. The Dutch Mussels were top of my list and what a great choice. There were a number of factors that made this dish special; the freshness of the mussels, the Dutch inspired leeks as an ingredient and a flavorful grog redolent of the mussels brine, butter and wine.
It was a hard choice to make when it came to appetizers but luckily a number of us shared. Bacon Wrapped Medjool Dates, Seared Sea Scallops, Lobster Mac & Cheese, and Steak Tartare and Roasted Beet Salad were ordered by others at the table.
Entrees for me were going to be between the Grilled Shrimp and Grits, Maryland Rockfish and Crispy Duck Confit but then the special for the evening was a butter poached lobster and I could not resist. Those who know me well know that if I’m offered lobster or foie gras I will not refuse. The lobster was cooked perfectly, succulent and rich. TEN TEN has an in-house pastry chef Niki DeBrouse who has created unusual sweet treats, although I stuck with the decanted chocolate offering with honey sorbet. Consensus from my media pals that they will return to TEN TEN. Would I be back on my own dime, absolutely!
Coincidentially Steve Geppi, publisher of Baltimore Magazine came in to dine that evening and it wasn’t his first time there. Brian Lawrence, editor of Baltimore Style Magazine, Downtown Diane Macklin, headed up the table with David Smith and I sat with the beautiful Jane Smith and Sloane Brown at the other end of the table. Tracy Ward publisher of The Urbanite, Randi Rom of FoodService Monthly, and Julekha Dash editor of BMoreMedia.com filled in the middle along with Style Magazine around town writer Anne Boone-Simanski.
New Year’s Eve – check out TEN TEN
If you haven’t made New Year’s Eve plans you might want to consider TEN TEN. They are offering a four course Prix Fixe dinner menu with optional wine pairings. There are 3 seating times available.
TEN TEN American Bistro – 1010 Fleet Street – Baltimore, MD 21202
410 244 1311 http://bagbys1010.com/
They are now also offering valet parking on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 6 p.m. for $7. There is street parking and parking lots available in Harbor East and Little Italy.