I absolutely adore Cinghiale in Baltimore’s Harbor East. Whenever we have something to celebrate, I find myself booking a table at the osteria. Even when we don’t have anything to celebrate, we’re there. Sometimes we go just to share a plate of cured meats and wine at the bar. We used to dine there quite often, but these days we only treat ourselves once a month and because there’s an abundance of new restaurants in the city, we like to switch it up and try other places as well. BUT recently, we received some good news and I knew I wanted to celebrate over a delicious meal at Cinghiale. The chef at Cinghiale uses seasonal local produce in the menu and I always enjoy trying out the different combinations like prosciutto with local peaches. It’s my favorite fine dining restaurant in the city, but don’t let the words fine dining intimidate you from checking it out.
There are three ways to order – Prezzo Fisso, La Cucina della Nonna, or A La Carte.
Prezzo Fisso (Fixed Price) is $62 per person and includes one each from Salumi or Antipasti, small portion Primi, Secondi and Dolci. You can think of it as a 4-course set menu. They also offer Prezzo Fisso with wine pairings for $92 per person.
La Cucina della Nonna (Grandma’s Kitchen or Grandma’s Cooking) is $29 per person and includes Bruschetta or Insalata, and one each from Piatti Principali and Dolci. You can think of it as a more casual 3 course meal.
And of course, A La Carte. Order whatever you like off the menu at the list price.
Here’s an Italian lesson for you (Hey mom! Look! I’m making good use of my Italian Degree! 😉 ). In Italy, meals are served in courses. You will rarely find a restaurant that serves meat, pasta and vegetables all on the same plate like you would here in the States. Each course is served on a separate plate. Antipasto is the starter. Primo piatto is the first course – usually rice, pasta or soup. Secondo piatto is the second course – usually meat or fish. And Dolce is the dessert. Servers in Italy may look at you funny if you only order a plate of pasta. It’s common to order an antipasto, primo and secondo or at least two dishes – antipasto/primo, antipasto/secondo, primo/secondo. However, I’m sure they are used to foreigners ordering just one dish. You may still get a dirty look!
We usually order the Prezzo Fisso menu, but on this particular occasion we went A La Carte. We started the evening with 2 prosecco, remember it was a celebration afterall! We shared 2 antipasti – affettati misti with formaggi (Chef’s selection of assorted cured meats with local peaches and we added a selection of 3 cheeses. We let our server pick her favorite cheeses for us. Not pictured.) and bagna cauda. Kevin had the duck and I had the pork. We ordered a bottle of red wine from Chianti Colli Senesi and enjoyed a fabulous meal!
Bagna Cauda – Crispy local zucchini and their flowers, sweet onions, fennel and anchovy maionese
Grilled magret of duck, braised fennel, blueberries, Saba (grape must syrup)
Berkshire pork rack, apricot, fresh corn polenta, chanterelle mushrooms, pork jus (They serve a double rack, the portion was huge I couldn’t finish it…but I really wanted to!)
If you haven’t gone out for a date night with your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend in a while, put on your fancy pants and dancing shoes and make a reservation at Cinghiale for a charming evening in the heart of Charm City! (Why you need dancing shoes, I don’t know! It just sounded good with fancy pants! I love the words fancy pants. 😉 )
We’ve been thinking about trying Fleet Street Kitchen next. Have you been? How was it? Let us know what your favorite restaurant is in Baltimore in the comment section below and don’t forget to subscribe after reading.