It’s Friday Night. My spouse and I just downed a Vodka straight up with olives and we were just about to make grilled swordfish on the grill with some leftovers. So, we did what any normal couple would do on a Friday night at 9 o’clock- we froze the swordfish, got all gussied up and went to The Bygone in Harbor East.
Now, I wouldn’t have usually made this decision, but I was under the influence of vodka and I had read somewhere that The Bygone didn’t require men to wear a coat anymore. Perfect. Short Uber ride, a nice glass of wine and a few apps and a great view-what could go wrong?
Well, nothing really went wrong, as much as I got carried away with ordering on the menu! Tip# 1 when you are going out to a really shishy and expensive restaurant and lounge- don’t drink too much beforehand.
We arrived at the Four Seasons hotel and queued up by the elevator surrounded by red velvet ropes and very well-dressed and fragrant young women. The elevator opened and, I believe, Lil Wayne popped out with a purple top hat and a three-piece suit? It was very entertaining. Our host greeted us and motioned us to enter the cargo-sized elevator with fun music. He explained a little about Bygone, which I don’t remember, and then the doors open and we were escorted out of the elevator.
The immediate feeling was that I had just entered a secret, Blade-Runner-esque club that I sort of didn’t really belong in. Panoramic city views, neon, dark, shiny materials and leather and velvet hit your senses at every corner. We followed a few folks into the main lounge and the 300 degree view of the city with floor to ceiling windows was just stunning-and slightly scary. You really feel like you are perched on a cliff- a really expensive, well-designed cliff.
We checked out the lounge and decided to get a table and eat, instead of navigating the impossible cocktail ordering and meeting new people. We would save that for another night-a night we would remember better.
We were lead to a table immediately, after politely asking for one with a view. Well, we got it. A table for two right against a window and overlooking Fed Hill. I felt like I was going to fly down to the harbor- a little scary. We were greeted by a lovely server and quickly ordered two cocktails. I had a very well-made Manhattan sample- or so I thought. It was actually the whole cocktail in a very precious coupe glass- that probably cost $30? My Hubby ordered a Barr Hill Gin Drink that I cannot remember the name of- but it was very refreshing and tasty and, I am sure, another $30- I am still too afraid to look at the bill. Wait, I just pulled it out of my wallet and it was called the “Bees Knees”- cute, and I was only $16- DC prices.
We were hungry. My Hubby notice the Duck for two and quickly obsessed over that. I knew that process would be lengthy, so I thought we should order some apps? The Gravlax looked yummy and I’m a sucker for cured Salmon, so we ordered that, and the deviled eggs, and the tomato salad and The Duck- with some garlic mashed potatoes and Cajun cauliflower. I know what you are thinking? What a pig, but I really thought the portions would be precious- they were not. All of the appetizers were ample and well-prepared and really tasty. There was not ground-breaking culinary work going on here, but it was really good and not crazy expensive. The appetizers ranged from $14-$15. The tomato salad was a bit pricey at $24. But is was super fresh and local and the burratta was delicate and sublime.
By the time we got to dinner, we had to have our duck packed up for home. We were so full. I know, we should have waited to order for dinner. Oh, well, lesson learned. However, the presentation of the duck dish beforehand was fabulous. The server rolled out the whole duck on a rolling card with a bunch of fresh herbs and wild flowers sticking out of its glistening, just roasted carcass. The Peking Duck was so impressive! The server then took a gravy boat full of Peking sauce and poured it over the entire duck and lit it in fire- It was like Chinese New Year! Something on the plate was sparkling and making a sparking sound and the whole duck lit up with a beautiful orange and blue glow. That part was worth it- and the duck was perfectly cooked and enjoyed the next day.
We enjoyed two glasses of wine while we waited for the duck- a ‘Carpenter’ Semillon and a Famille Duveau Cabernet Franc. They were reasonably priced at $13 and were what you might expect from both respectively, Light, bright and crisp and creamy, round and luscious. They would have been great with the duck?
Well, I don’t really remember much after that? I did sing “girls just want to have fun” with a lot of other girls in the elevator on the way down to the lobby as my Hubby rolled his eyes and carried our 10 pounds of doggy food with him- he want’ very happy. The Uber driver was a delight and I sunk into bed after an Ambien.
I felt really guilty about the whole escapade at The Bygone. Mostly because I didn’t remember much the next day. But as the hours passed, and details started to emerge, I remember it being a very dynamic, yet subdued, gorgeous looking spot with stunning views. The drinks and food were really good. I mean, it’s expensive, but you are not dealing with the masses here and the service is top-notch.
I would suggest you visit The Bygone after work for a cocktail on your first visit and then if you dig it, you can reserve a table for a really important celebration. I will definitely go again to The Bygone- the experience was positive, if surreal. But the next time, I will make sure Vodka is not involved prior to going. I will also, temper my appetite and remember that the portions are healthy and rich.
The Bygone is a nice addition to Harbor East. It is a stunning new restaurant that I am sure will grow into its 3-piece, sequined suit.
400 International Drive, 29th floor
Baltimore, MD 21202