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KeithA

Preserve - Jeremy and Michelle Hoffman's Pennsylvanian-Influenced Modern American on Main Street in Annapolis

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KeithA   

I'm shocked no one has started a topic on Preserve. This place easily is one of the best in the area, and I include DC metro. After having their chef's 5 course tasting menu there last weekend, it is no surprise that they are included in the Washingtonian list of best restaurants. It is in a great location right on Main Street directly across from Chick and Ruth Deli. We had a large group and a fabulous meal with great service. The place is rather small only 40 or so seats in total including a bunch of bar seating. There is an open kitchen right in the back of the long narrow dining room. It is a husband (chef) and wife (FOH manager) team.  We started with a round of cocktails - my gin-based one was great accompaniment to the first snack course.  $65 for 5 courses (not including drinks/taxes, etc.) was a steal as each course was really 3-4 items with sides.

First, we had the Chicken Caesar Skins which was very inventive and delicious. You make your own sandwich of small strips of fried chicken skin, mini romaine lettuce leaves, and spread a bit of Caesar dressing on it (I think I'm forgetting one component too). Also in the first course was their potted, soft goat cheese with warm slices of bread. This was one of the few items that was only good, not great. Most were great. The cheese is topped with oil and possibly some pickled vegetables. ALSO for the first course was a great variety of different quick pickled vegetables - radish, carrots, and 3 more I can't remember. Each one had been brined in a different way - some sweeter, some spicier. I'm a pickle lover and maker and these were superb.

Second course was individual bowls of pan-seared scallops with a bit of sausage in a fennel broth and family style plate of head on shrimp with butternut squash salad with a lime-serrano vinaigrette. I don't eat shellfish so I didn't try this course but everyone loved it.

Third course was three family style dishes: 1) glazed porcini trumpet pasta with roasted mushrooms, preserved lemons, capers and parmesan  - great for mushroom lovers and rich, 2) cheese and potato pierogis with caramelized onions and sour cream - very well made but a bit bland compared to the other bolder flavored dishes, and 3) crispy kale with cumin yogurt, sweet pepper jelly and red onion. This last one is their twist on Rasika's crispy spinach (or Bombay Club's crispy kale) with more mid-atlantic/PA dutch flavorings. The kale was awesome and like Rasika worth a trip.

Fourth course was a bucket of delicately fried catfish, with various sides - creamy mashed potatos, Brussel sprout and carrot slaw, bread and butter tomato pickles, cornbread with honey butter and 4 different sauces - regular remoulade, spicier remoulade, and a green and red hot sauce (all house made). The fish and hot sauces were very nice, the pickles were excellent and the cornbread also really decadent with the honey butter. Mashed potatoes were good, but nothing special.

Fifth course was dessert - individual portions of Tandy cake and shoo-fly mousse pie. The tandy cake is dense yellow cake with a rich chocolate/peanut butter icing. It was only ok. The shoo-fly was better with sweet but not cloying mousse on top of a thin crust.

We also had them pair a white wine with the first 2 courses and red for the second two. I didn't catch the names but they were good and paired nicely.

I highly recommend going to Preserve if you are near or passing through Annapolis. Despite the overwhelming amount of food described above, they are mostly an a la carte menu and have a nice mix of vegetarian and meat/seafood items. If nothing else, go for the pickled items and crispy kale.

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MarkS   

I am running to Preserve based on this review.  I've lived in Annapolis for the past two years and keeps finding new places. 

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ktmoomau   

Will have to plan a time to take my Mom, although she is cooler than me, so she may have been already.

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ktmoomau   

So Mom and I went to Preserve this weekend in Annapolis.  We only had a few snacks, but a lot of things coming out of the kitchen looked very good.  One comment- they appeared to have way more front of house staff then they really needed for the size of the restaurant, and since it isn't a big space, that just is awkward and likely costly for them.  A lot of dishes have a fermented or preserved element to them.  It wasn't all that busy, on a Saturday night, but downtown Annapolis seemed a little slow, likely due to the weather.  We had the Caesar chicken skins.  These I think are supposed to be little lettuce wraps, but it was plated in a way that I am not sure if other people would love, standing up in a cup, which meant the sardines often fell out.  I thought it was tasty, but a little expensive given the size and ingredients.  It was a fine snack.  We also had the shrimp lettuce wraps because my Mom really liked lettuce wraps.  I thought these lacked some flavor, but there was nothing wrong with them.  This was actually a very big portion.  Finally we had the sauerkraut griddles.  These although I don't think they were made out of potato taste like a cross between a potato cake and sauerkraut.  Their sauerkraut was very mild and I really liked it.  They had a really nice mousse on top.  These were creative, I thought the flavors worked and they seemed to be the right portion size for a sharing appetizer.  There was a lot on the menu that looked good that we would go back and try.

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Pool Boy   

My wife is a south-central PA Dutchy girl. I may have to get her here - not interested in tasting menus, but they have PA chicken pot pie on the menu and the sauerkraut cakes sounds quite interesting.

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