Published on June 19th, 2012 | by Cada Paulson0
The Food Market in Hampden [REVIEW]
This past Friday I had the luxury of going and trying Hampden’s newest restaurant, The Food Market. Hampden is one of my favorite areas, and I frequent their restaurants- so when I heard a new place was opening, I was thrilled! I will say right off the bat, I was not disappointed. With an ambitious menu, I was worried that the food might be just so-so, but all of the dishes I tried were very well executed, and full of flavor.
What really got my visit off to a good start, was the fact that they have complimentary valet parking. Although common in most areas around Baltimore, this is the only place I know of in Hampden that does this- and anyone familiar with trying to park around the Avenue after 6PM, will know how nice it is to have this service. Once I walked into the restaurant, I noticed the amazing artwork they have hanging on their walls. That, along with the with rest of the decorations, created a gorgeous space.
One of my favorite things about their menu, is that there a ton of smaller plate options, so you can try a bunch of different items without paying a ton or having a lot of extra food. I would describe the food to be a gourmet version of regular American fare. We started off sharing the edamame, which was sprinkled with cilantro salt and ginger harissa dust (not idea what that is, but it tasted amazing), and an order of the crab chips which were covered old bay, granulated vinegar and hot mustard.
The next round we tried the cracker fried oysters, which were covered in a bacon and egg emulsion and served with an incredible green hot sauce. Most time I have tried a fried oyster, they seem to be over cooked and the batter overwhelms the taste of the oyster, but that was not the case with this dish. The oysters were incredible- very juicy and the flavor was perfect!
The final dish we tried was called the S.O.S.- which was basically a shrimp and grits dish. My family is all from Birmingham, AL originally, so this is a dish I am probably overly familiar with, but wanted to see how a Baltimore restaurant would execute it. This was a seriously flavorful dish- with cajun thyme cream, and an andouille chip, I was shocked with how good it was. There was a large amount of shrimp (heads still on, I might add… that was a little odd), and delicious amount of cheddar grits!
This is definitely a place I will visit again, and I cannot wait to try a number of other small dishes on their menu that I didn’t get a chance to try. My only suggestion to them is to shut off the music when the restaurant is full, the noise got to be a bit much with everyone raising their voices to speak over the already loud crowd.