For the past few years, it seems as though the Annapolis food scene has been putting out headline after headline around new restaurants opening, updated menus, and renovated dining establishment. This month is certainly no different, with updates to a local favorite dining hub at City Dock, and a spotlight on one of the city’s newest additions.
Annapolis Market House Re-Opens
“Been to the new Market House yet?” is a common question hereabouts. Local residents are eager to share their experiences of the newly-opened Market House at the City Dock, a fixture since 1885. The historic city-owned property has been a source of embarrassment over the past decade (and the butt of many jokes) as it has opened and closed several times, with a series of independent owners failing to find the right formula for success. The third time’s a charm, goes the saying, and the newest version is certainly a welcoming update.
So far so good. Like others who remember when the Market House was the place to find fresh seafood, a savvy selection of cheeses, local in-season produce and flowers, I was curious to see the latest edition. What I found on a Friday afternoon were people of all ages milling about the sparkling clean premises trying to figure out the rules of the game. An oyster bar had signs identifying the bivalves’ home habitat. A huge sign announced the availability of “Grain Bowls,” the meal-in-one favorite in the fast-casual world. The idea is to use grains (rice, quinoa, etc.) as a base for other ingredients (seafood, vegetables). Ordering is a DIY culinary exercise.
We were cheered to see cheeses get their due in a special section offering an international selection. Specialty coffees come from Ceremony, a local company with an international clientele. Hometown bagels, pastries and pre-wrapped cookies are convenient choices on a market-wide menu that describes itself as good for “breakfast, lunch, dinner, grab and go.” An early morning favorite is the bacon-egg-cheese biscuit special. There’s a good Reuben and the gelato stand tucked into a corner is worth discovering. Personal touches include board games to play while waiting for your order and small displays of homemade, small-batch popcorn and potato chips.
A full-service bar takes up a sizeable portion of the Market, serving local beer and wine. By far the most popular food item was the crab cake provided by Chick and Ruth’s Delly, served with or without a bun for $16.95. Adirondack chairs in bright pink and turquoise are arranged on an attractive outdoor patio decorated with outsized plants. The Market opens at 7 am for breakfast and closes at 9 pm. Open seating is at individual or communal tables or on stools along the windows overlooking the harborside and at outdoor tables on the Ego Alley side.
Annapolis Market House. 25 Market Space, Annapolis, MD. Open daily 7 am-9 pm.
Flamant in West Annapolis Impresses
Frederik De Pue, chef-owner of the newest restaurant in Annapolis, has an irrepressible sense of humor, according to his restaurant manager Deanna Couch, a military retiree currently pursuing her passion for food and wine. She considers De Pue a brilliant cook, whose talents were recognized by his place as among America’s best young chefs by Bon Appétit magazine. The Belgian native, formerly with a noted restaurant in D.C.’s Cleveland Park neighborhood, migrated to West Annapolis about a year ago. He has since become president of the West Annapolis Business Affiliation and is an enthusiastic supporter of community outreach events such as the annual Oktoberfest coming up on September 24th on Annapolis Street from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 pm.
Check out Annapolis Discovered’s video below for a closer look at Chef De Pue and his restaurant:
Flamant is located in a cottage formerly occupied by the iconic children’s apparel store called Giant Peach and has been cleverly transformed into a cozy bistro geared to its distinctive neighborhood. Open for lunch and dinner, it is a little pricey in a market dominated by chains and “fast casual” eateries. But it is nirvana for adventuresome food lovers who are seeking something new. Expect to be delighted with “snacks” of Maryland Blue Crab rolls, ambrosial grilled oysters swimming in garlic butter or house-made lamb sausage with lentils. Go on with “starters” of giant prawns with white beans and olive tapenade or the chef’s memorable version of gazpacho – bright green in color and tasting of cucumbers and coconut.
We will return for main courses, which on our visit included five choices: duck breast à l’orange, porchetta, a Maryland jumbo crab cake, veal stew, a vegetarian summer squash barigoule. The menu changes with the seasons. (A new one starts in October).
Flamant has a small but savvy wine list and a good selection of Belgian beers. Desserts, including a lovely cherry clafoutis and apricot donuts, are made in-house. A cut-out in the window offers a fascinating view of Chef Frederik and his staff working in the kitchen
Flamant. 17 Annapolis St., Annapolis MD. Lunch Tues-Fri 11:30 am-2 pm; dinner Tues-Sat 4:30-10 pm. Closed Sun & Mon. Reservations recommended. Happy Hour 4:30-6 pm.
NOTE: Established in 2013 by a group of ski buddies with multiple interests, Brigadoon is a global organization that brings together like-minded people for a shared dinner. On September 20, founder Marc Ross and Sam Logan will co-host a special Brigadoon wine dinner at Flamant, whose chef-owner is a charter member of the group. De Pue will participate in a discussion on the state of American dining and cuisine. The event is open to the public. Tickets for $125 may be purchased through Deanna at 410-267-0274 or on their website.