Buildings that once housed our seminal business institutions often become kitschy mini-museums, offering little but souvenir sweatshirts, well-maintained water fountains, and nowhere to sit down and cry after mom freakishly explodes at your ingratitude over that lame sweatshirt. Going a grander route, B&O American Brasserie, open today in Baltimore's brand new Hotel Monaco.
In the awe-inspiring former headquarters of the B&O Railroad, this majestically cavernous duplex is filled upstairs with dark-wood benches, trolley-style gas lamps, and tables partitioned to evoke private dining cars, while downstairs is a stunningly chandelier'd bar and a gold-accented lounge dominated by a dark-wood-framed wraparound couch, truly, a wrapper's delight. The food stands up to the space: hearty American rickrolled with brasserie fare, highlighted by traditional brick oven pizzas (slobber-inducingly prepped in an oven facing the dining room), plus entrees like Rice Crusted Diver Scallops w/ succotash & cherries and uber-tender 24 Hour Verde Pot Roast w/ summer greens and sweet potato mash in lobster stock -- the most epic 24-hour green pot roast since you and Kazlow giggled through the complete Planet Earth box set. Because no one will recognize you in Baltimore, you should strongly consider tackling B&O's most kingly offering, "Not Your Dad's Mixed Grill": smoked sausage, jumbo shrimp, and beef w/ chimichurri sauce, served in a coal-heated clay hibachi shaped like a pig, reinforcing the time-honored rule, you are what you eat out of.
As for libations, B&O's packing 50 wines, beers from Belgium's Leffe Blonde to hometown hero Clipper City Loose Cannon, and specialty cocktails like 12yr Yamakazi/Grand Marnier/vermouth "Grand Dram" and the vodka/apple juice/ginger beer "Devilish", exactly what your mom called you when you refused to ram your head through the neck-hole of that "Carnegie Steel My Heart" sweatshirt.