As I mentioned in an earlier post, I meet with a group of wonderful women once a month for brunch. This Sunday, our group was particularly small and all lived near or in Baltimore so I decided to go for another one of Baltimore Magazine’s Best Restaurants. Since it was still restaurant week, we were able to get good food at a discount. I picked The Wine Market Bistro located at 921 East Fort Avenue Baltimore MD 21230. Founded in 2004, the Wine market is a unique bistro, wine bar, and wine shop all under one roof. Their philosophy on food is to be sustainable always, and local whenever possible sourcing many of their ingredients from many local farmers. They also rigorously adhere to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recommendations when deciding on fish offerings.
We arrived for brunch at our 12pm reservation and found the place to be relatively empty. Parking was fantastic because it is located in plaza with other businesses that had a parking lot right out front. When you enter the restaurant, you enter the Wine Market area that looks like a rustic and fancy version of a liquor store….or a wine market. The next room is the dining room and bar area.
I decided to order their special grapefruit and lemon Bellini ($7) to start my meal. Bellinis are usually peach but I was open to try something new. My friend, who doesn’t drink, ordered one as well. I gave her this face of shock and she realized that it was a cocktail. However, the waitress was able to accommodate and made a virgin version of the cocktail for her. The cocktail was wonderful. It was not bitter or too sweet, it was the right balance of flavors. The Prosecco used in the cocktail also took it to another level. She too enjoyed her version and ordered another later in the meal.
The Bistro’s normal brunch menu includes a prix fixe menu of 2 items and a non-alcoholic drink, bloody Mary, or mimosa for $19. This can be an appetizer and entrée or an entrée and a dessert. So for restaurant week, they took, the price down to $18. Since I had the cocktail, I decided to do the appetizer and entrée and my friends did the second option. After the waitress took our order, she mentioned that she would be right back with our beignets! This is listed nowhere on the menu or website and I was super excited. Like why is this place empty if they serve complimentary beignets. I will say that the location of this restaurant does not get a lot of foot traffic and barely street traffic so you have to know what you are looking for. That may not help. Over the course of our brunch though, people started to come in and there was also a private party getting ready to begin in another dining room.
Now, back to the beignets!! I was so excited that I literally forgot to take a picture of serving plate presentation. They were lightly dusted with powdered sugar, which made it easier to enjoy without messing up your clothes. They were also served with this chocolate hazelnut sauce that was light and not overly sweet. The beignet itself was more of a donut-hole but still very enjoyable on its own. Of course, the sauce was just an added bonus of flavors that were wonderful. This may have tasted even better because they were free but, I am almost sure that I enjoyed them, we all did.
For my appetizer, I ordered the Mac and Aged Cheddar Cheese ($6) served with truffle oil and scallions. After my Bookmakers experience, please check that out if you have not read it, truffle oil is my new thing. I bought some recently and put it on my roasted Brussels sprouts! They were amazing. When the mac and cheese arrived, it looked a bit watery as if it needed to cook a bit more. From the picture, you will see there was too much shine. I got disappointed until I tried a bite. The flavor of the aged cheddar cheese was delicious! The bites with the scallions had that extra bit of onion flavor that took the dish to another level. It was a bit rich and a large portion for me to enjoy so I ended up taking most of it home for later. But this is a case where looks can definitely be deceiving.
I ordered the Bacon Breakfast Burrito ($9) as my entrée. The bacon burrito included cranberry beans, scrambled eggs, avocado, cheddar cheese, chili aioli, and a side of hash browns. I am slightly annoyed that the items I ordered only cost $15 dollars and I would have been better just ordering them individually but I did not catch this at the time. To make things worse, the burrito was just ok. I ordered this because I had seen this dish served to several people while I waited and it looked amazing. Not really sure how much bacon was in the burrito to start. The burrito is served cut in half and the first half had a few bites and the second half had none at all. This was disappointing to say the least. I’m expecting bacon in my bacon burrito. The cranberry beans are nothing more than darker pinto beans and were good as well. The overall flavors in the burrito were ok, though the avocado was scarce as well. The hash browns were more like roasted potato slices with onions which were pretty good. I enjoyed that more than the burrito. At some point on the second half of the burrito, opened the tortilla just to see the bacon and ended up just eating the interior and leaving the rest there. To say the least, I was left with more to be desired.
As for my friends, one ordered the Charm City Breakfast ($9) which included the choice of bacon or sausage link (she ordered sausage), 2 eggs any style (over hard), and hash browns. The other friend ordered the Vanilla-spiced French toast, choice of meat (she ordered bacon cooked hard), strawberry ice cream, and maple syrup. The sample menu on the website says this dish includes cheesecake ice cream but that was not available that day. This is not a typo, ice cream is served with French toast. They both equally enjoyed their breakfast. The Charm City Breakfast was simple and done just as requested. The eggs were cooked right, the dish came with two sausages that were enjoyable, and the hash browns were just the same as mine.
My other friend was amazing with the creativity of her dish. The French toast was heavily breaded that gave it a crunch. The scoop of ice cream was served on top of the French toast and she enjoyed that with the French toast as well. She first wanted to separate them but realized it went together well. She also topped that with the maple syrup. The bacon was cooked the way she liked and overall, she was a happy customer.
For dessert, my friend ordered the Pomegranate Sorbet and the other ordered the Strawberry Tiramisu. Prices for the desserts are not listed on the website and change frequently. When the desserts arrived, the server brought a Cherry Sorbet for me, and the other desserts for the others. Not sure what the mix-up there was but I decided to enjoy my additional treat. The Cherry sorbet had a rich pinkish/red color that looks delicious. The sorbet itself was amazing, fresh, and light. There were small pieces of cherry in the sorbet to add to the dessert and I enjoyed every spoonful of it. The pomegranate sorbet was tasty as well and had a lighter pink color. The flavors were not as pronounced as the cherry but the sorbet was good nonetheless. The strawberry tiramisu was an inventive take on a popular dessert but looked more like strawberry shortcake served with mint and berries. It was also delicious, not overly sweet, and light.
Overall, I had a wonderful brunch with my friends. While I am mildly disappointed that I overpaid for my meal, I do not feel scammed because overall the food itself was great, I was given free beignets, and a free delicious dessert. My brunch came out to $26.71 and after tip, $30.71. I would definitely make my way back here for brunch or another time of day because their menu looks amazing and because the place is not overly crowded, I feel that I can make a spur of the moment visit. Plus, the parking being free and convenient is an added bonus to consider in the city. The following is my Seven Mac Score for the restaurant:
Wine Market Bistro
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Please look out for my next post as I review another one of Baltimore’s Best and other restaurants in the DMV area. Also, you can find me on Instagram @finediningdiva and twitter @moderndaybeauty. Also, if you would like to follow my blog to receive notification when a new blog is posted, please send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And remember: It’s a BIG world and we are going to eat our way through it!