Cinghiale receives an A+ on all counts. I dined there recently while visiting Baltimore on a recommendation from a friend of a friend. We arrived early and sat at the bar. I enjoyed their Cinghiale signature drink composed of Aperol, orange juice and zest. This was very refreshing and the Aperol balanced out the juice well, a tad bitter, a tad sweet and just right. My other half enjoyed a Margarita before the house Pinot Noir at dinner and enjoyed both. While sitting at the long and luxurious bar, we enjoyed watching the gentleman in charge of salumi and antipasti preparation hard at work. That is where I first saw the house bread which I knew would occupy our table. The salumi was shaved with such precision to a delicate width; the plates were a work of art.
We were seated in a cozy corner in main dining room. This section is away from the hustle and bustle of the bar area. Had we had our preference, we probably would have chosen the dining room in the bar area, but being that this was our first visit, we did not know the table arrangement. Along with the house bread (some sourdough and some thyme) I spied and olive oil, we started with the Ricotta and House Made Crispy Potato Chips. This ricotta was wonderful and and also was a nice accompaniment to the bread. We also had the Arugula Salad with Candied Lemon and Parmigiano. A simple, light green salad is always the way to start a heavier Italian meal.
For the main course, I had the Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter Sage Sauce. This was a restaurant week special previously that was so popular, according to our server, the chef added it to the regular menu. I felt fortunate and this dish was so unique. There was even a light cookie crumble atop the pasta. The portion is fair, any more and the sweetness may become tiresome. My partner selected the Lasagna Marchigiana and the Mortadella with Mostarda Cremona. We took most of the Mortadella home but it gave him the side of sausage he needs with every Italian meal. The Lasagna was a hit, and rich, so there were also leftovers.
Last, but certainly not least, the dessert menu was present. All of the selections sounded divine but I immediate chose the Caramel Semifreddo with Coffee Gelato and Hazelnuts. I love semifreddo and do not see it that often. Therefore, I must always have it and Cinghiale's version was met with top approval. I left the Brûléed Bananas on the side for my partner since bananas repulse me but typically, they are on top of the dish. We also ordered a bowl of Malted Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut gelato to share which was a good decision.
Cinghiale is a restaurant but clearly, they specialize in service. Our server knew their selections front, back and in between and helped us narrow down our choices. She was also eager to provide a few recommendations for the rest of our sight-seeing weekend. I love the decor the restaurant presents as well. It reminded of of Balthazar in New York City, another favorite. High ceilings, elegant wood and tile that balances out the look. With a vibrant crowd, everything comes together perfectly.
822 Lancaster St, Baltimore, MD 21202