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Upscale restaurant falls short of expectations

Matilde Cascella, Staff writer

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Cunningham’s, which describes itself as a “refined bar and grill,” located right off the Towson Town roundabout and positioned in the lower half of an office building, offered a host of convincing pictures on their website. It was warmly lit with an open kitchen in the center and several dining rooms on either side. The soft lighting in tandem with the soft jazz, provided a comfortable environment for dining.
The seasonal menu advertised a variety of fresh vegetables and meats from Cunningham farms only half a mile away. Serving everything from $8- simple-roasted pumpkin soup, to a $38-strip steak served with heirloom tomato salad, balsamic roasted pearl onions and demi-glace, Cunningham’s isn’t a cheap eat.
For appetizers, we decided on $12-cornmeal-fried oysters with heirloom tomato, arugula, bacon sherry vinaigrette and buerre blanc and a $15-tuna crudo with pickled black plums, hazlenut, jalepeno and radish. The oysters were tender, evenly coated with a light batter and elevated by the arugula. The tuna crudo was fresh, buttery and went surprisingly well with the hazelnut, but was nothing worth $15.
The entrée selection featured seafood, white and red meat and veggie options that could be accompanied by sides such as mac and cheese or truffle parmesan fries, both of which we ordered. The fries were particularly disappointing because their truffle claim to fame fell flat. The mac and cheese was a mediocre house made mac that didn’t offer any especially new flavors with its typical white cheddar and asiago combination.
My main course consisted of a $25-crispy chicken breast that sounded appetizing on the menu with a bed of corn bread purée, summer chow-chow and cayenne honey. The “crispy” skin the menu promised was soft and the dry breast was ruined even more by the thickly cut chow-chow that overpowered the meat.
For dessert I chose a $7-date pudding with spiced poached pears, warm toffee sauce and buttermilk ice-cream. The pudding wasn’t the traditional JELL-O blob, but an unexpected bread pudding that had a soft, fluffy texture.
While the ambiance was warm, I can say with certainty that there were no particularly delicious new flavors that I would go back for.

 

Cunningham’s:
1 Olympic Place
Towson
Monday – Thursday: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Sunday: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

OVERALL RATING: Three stars

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