Hot Spots: Solid Investment

Hot Spots: Solid Investment

By Brian Michael Lawrence

The old financial district on downtown’s east side has more recently become a burgeoning dining destination. Last year, Chez Hugo, a classic French Bistro opened on Redwood Street, and La Calle, a lively Mexican restaurant, opened around the corner on South Street. And now, another eatery has joined the group.

The circa-1901 landmark building that formerly housed the venerable investment brokerage firm Alex. Brown at Baltimore and Calvert Streets now is home to the Alexander Brown restaurant. The iconic building survived the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904, and still bears scorch marks under the windows out front.
The Alexander Brown is now one of Baltimore’s most beautiful restaurants, situated in the grand, marble-lined spaces that once housed busy banking and trading floors. In the main dining room, majestic columns…
…two-story windows and custom-woven carpets are a backdrop for tufted green banquette seating.
Along the left-side wall, a comfortable bar is trimmed out in handsome brass fixtures and a grouping of low cocktail tables lies just behind.
To the rear of that is a small, paneled nook, complete with fireplace—a perfect spot to gather a few friends for after-work or pre-dinner cocktails.
Soaring above it all is a breathtaking glass dome, made of stained glass created by a protégé of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
There’s also a small dining room in an old executive office that retains its original wall murals of the Green Spring Valley.
And, in the rear, the old trading floor room offers another grand dining salon with hunter green walls, wooden parquet floors, marble accents, and lots of historic artwork…
…some from the Alex. Brown collection and some on rotating loan from the Maryland Historical Society.
(And speaking of artwork, check out the fun modern pieces depicting George Washington hanging in the restrooms.)
The menu is full of solid continental classics—ribeye and New York strip steaks, bronzino, scallops, duck breast, rack of lamb and roast chicken for two are some of the dinner entrees on offer. The brunch menu includes avocado toast, a Croque Madam, quiches, omelettes, and Eggs Benedict.
I love the bar menu that includes crunchy over-sized tater tots…
…and a fun $5 spin on a chicken box—a crispy chicken leg, tender French fries and crunchy brioche toast.
It’s a great accompaniment to a perfectly prepared martini.
Dining at the Alexander Brown is a feast for the senses—wonderful food to be enjoyed amidst grand, gorgeous spaces—with something fun and interesting to be discovered around every corner. The owners encourage customers to explore the spaces, and between the architecture, the artwork, and the food, it’s an experience definitely worth having.
{135 E. Baltimore Street, Downtown}
Brian Michael Lawrence

Brian Michael Lawrence is one of THE Baltimore style experts. After all, he was the longtime editor-in-chief at STYLE Magazine, which specialized in covering everything stylish around the Baltimore area. Brian also served as editorial director for the digital division at Sinclair Broadcasting, and creative director at Blue Sky Design. Currently, he oversees communications & marketing for the department of Tourism, Film & the Arts at Maryland’s Commerce Department.  In his bi-weekly column, you’ll get to see what cool hotspots are piquing the interest of this Baltimore style maven and why - whether it's the fabulous food, cool cocktails or elegant environs.

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