Seafood chowda! The hot, steamy, creamy soup is enjoyed in Boston year round, and it’s one of many not-too-crazy yet outside-the-box dishes offered at Fleet Street Tavern, a new pub and restaurant at 2318 Fleet St., close to where Canton becomes Fell’s Point.
Also memorable were the flank steak skewers. For each one, picture a thin strip of tender flank steak, about an inch wide by 8 inches long, accordion folded lengthwise and skewered. With the sweet-spicy Asian barbeque sauce, it’s like a beef lollipop.
Owner Rob Coyle opened the restaurant in late March.
“We seem to get a lot of really good feedback from people,” he said. “We’re a neighborhood place.”
And he is now a neighborhood guy. A Richmond, Va., transplant, Coyle moved to Canton, just a couple blocks from his establishment, last December.
He said that, so far, he loves Baltimore.
“I love the fact that there are two professional sports teams here,” he said. “I love the harbor and the water. There’s just a vibe that’s really cool.”
Coyle hopes the feeling will be reciprocated toward his restaurant, which serves creative American fare, sometimes with an Asian twist.
He notes that though he himself has an Irish name–and Fleet Street Tavern has somehow gained a following of Irish whiskey enthusiasts–the establishment is not an Irish pub. There was, however, rampant speculation that it would be after news broke that Jimmy Fagan, owner of Inner Harbor’s James Joyce, had bought the building. It formerly housed Geckos, a Southwestern joint.
“We just wanted to come in, clean it up, and make it our own,” said Coyle.
Though the initial draft list features many national craft brews, Coyle said that many of those will be replaced by local offerings.
“We’re going crazy with local beer,” he said.
One of the restaurant’s signatures is its Sunday brunch, an all-you-can-eat deal with a carving board and omelette station in addition to the other breakfast mainstays.
“We do a really, really nice spread,” said Coyle. “Everybody that has come in has really liked it.”
He added that Fleet Street Tavern offers bottomless Bloody Marys and mimosas, as well as single versions of the drinks for those who don’t envision themselves quaffing down a carafe or three.
A graduate of the National Culinary Institute of America who has worked in restaurants and catering since his late teens, Coyle said that he is “very hands on” at Fleet Street Tavern.
“Between the kitchen and the front of the house, I’m pretty busy,” he said. “I’m very much responsible for the food…All the menu items are mine, and the recipes are mine.”
Wing lovers, take note: Fleet Street Tavern has multiple flavors, and a very hot fryer, as evidenced by the super-crispy exterior of their offerings.
Fleet Street Tavern was born of an old pact made between friends. About 20 years ago, Coyle’s friend had opened an Irish bar and restaurant in D.C. with Coyle’s help.
“We spoke of one day opening a place together, and then he got this opportunity here in Baltimore,” Coyle said.
Before opening, the building underwent a significant interior renovation, including a new bar, refinished floors, new wooden floors on the upper levels, and TVs.
An upper function room on the third floor has space for 75-100 people.
For more information, including daily specials, visit fleetstreettavern.com or find them on Facebook.
by Erik Zygmont