One of the city’s oldest hotels beautifully paid tribute to its storied past with a grandiose evening of 1930s and 1940s-style dining and dancing when Lord Baltimore Hotel opened its historic Calvert Ballroom to guests on Saturday, August 26 for an incredible, one of a kind, event called “The Bubble Room”.
In a nod to a more gracious era, the staff of the eponymous hotel, owned by the Rubell family (of Art Basel fame in Miami and world class hoteliers) put on quite a show worthy of the word “wowza”. Dames got fancied up in heels and pretty dresses, fellas had their suits, ties and best foot forward wingtips polished up for the occasion.
Under the original crystal chandeliers of the hotel’s stunning Calvert Ballroom, guests sipped bespoke cocktails, mixed to order, in the intimate lounge area before dining at opulently arranged dinner tables across the main floor. Mythical fine dining dishes such as rich clams casino, roasted Cornish game hen, over the top Crab Imperial (this is Maryland afterall, so a heavy nod to the local favored crustacean was touching and welcome), and a classic Caesar salad tossed tableside; were some of the menu offerings.
Mr. Man and I sipped very grown up cocktails while the 10 piece band played and played. Folks really danced, which was lovely to behold, with some gentleman donning the provided white gloves; ensuring their ladies remained flawless. It was the kind of theatre one hopes for dining out, and such a refreshing change from ubiquitous jeans and heels, and lovely to be catered to by staff who genuinely took pride in making sure guests had a one of a kind experience.
Our memorable meal started with delightful cocktails, for moi, a classic, perfect, very dry, Grey Goose martini with olives…and for Mr. Man, a fun gin based cocktail called a Clover Club which had Monkey 47 Gin, Fresh lemon juice and raspberry syrup. Both went down way too easy and we had to pace ourselves lest we not want to fall on the dancefloor, versus glide upon it.
First courses of Crab Cocktail, featuring a hefty amount of Maryland Jumbo Lump crab, with traditional accoutrements of tomato, fresh horseradish and lemon alongside a Lobster Bisque brimming with chunks of the sweet delicacy were simply fantastic. Lobster Thermidor, an eponymous offering that one often only reads about in books written the likes of MKF Fischer, etc was among the selection of real classic, intercontinental fine dining dishes of a bygone era. All very “Mad Men”, very posh, very over the top, and most of all, clearly, very delicious.
As tempting as they all seemed, each reading richer than the next, after Lobster bisque, and oodles of crab in the Crab Cocktail, ordering two over the top entrees struck us as a bit too much gilding of the lily for our table. We chose to share a hefty portion of Prime Rib of Beef, cut tableside to order, more than enough when factoring in the crudites and vegetables that accompanied it. The meat was velvety and just the right temperature, perfectly seasoned, it needed nothing…the bit of dijon we asked brought to the table, almost superfluous the meat was so fine on its own. Again, no easy feat…when being served for a crowd.
The meal progressed at a bossanova tempo, just right, not rushed, not slow and everything just felt sexy and civilized. When time for dessert rolled around, we’d danced a bit of the meal off and were ready to tuck into the baked Alaska, another rarely seen menu gem, that was flambeed deftly, tableside as well.
The meal was lovely, that’s really the best way to describe it. I’d love to tell you something was off, but honestly, it just wasn’t. Like the orchestra that didn’t skip a beat, the service was impecable, almost over attentive if anything. Clearly the hotel was committed to providing a most excellent experience. And so they did. It was evident an inordinate amount of care and concern was put into the delivery of many complicated dishes. Dishes that require a finesse of service rarely seen, even in fine dining establishments, very often, if at all, anymore.
All in all, the evening, the one of a kind event, was fabulous. One can only hope that The Lord Baltimore’s General Manager, hospitality expert Gene-Michael Addis gets more creative and fabulous ideas such as this one. The hotel’s desire to offer something different, bespoke, and memorable was definitely achieved, and to be commended. The evening was fun, and to finish at the Sky Lounge with a commanding view of both Baltimore architecture and a beautiful late summer sky, while great music played…was simply the cat’s meow.
About The Lord Baltimore Hotel
The Lord Baltimore Hotel is located at 20 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD, 21201 in the heart of downtown Baltimore and within walking distance to many local attractions. Recognized by theHistoric Hotels of America as the “Best City Center Historic Hotel” in 2014 and one of the “10 Best Historic Hotels” by USA Today in 2015, the hotel towers over the Baltimore skyline at 23 stories and offers 440 new guest rooms and suites, more than 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space, and dining options including The French Kitchen, LB Tavern, LB Bakery and LB Skybar. Additionally, art plays a major role in the hotel design with more than 2,500 pieces of artwork displayed throughoutthe building. Originally built in 1928, the hotel was purchased in 2013 and completely renovated by Rubell Hotels. The Lord Baltimore Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More information on the hotel can be found at www.lordbaltimorehotel.com.