I eat out quite a bit, but rarely am I compelled to write a review (of sorts).
Sorry for those readers who aren’t within shooting distance of this Annapolis, Maryland eatery. However, I still highly recommend the trip to all you out-of-towners!
I am not remotely a food critic, but I am a food aficionado. My husband and I have been lucky enough to partake of some pretty incredible dishes in true foodie towns like NYC, Portland, and Charleston, as well as our own District of Columbia.
Lest you think that Michelle and Jeremy Hoffman are just another cute couple playing at being restaurateurs, let me tell you that they are not. Preserve has been 2 years in the making for these CIA grads (The Culinary Institute of America, for you food-newbies). They come highly trained and since then, have worked with and for some of the premier chefs in this country. And lucky us, they decided to set up shop in Annapolis so they could raise their son here while treating us to some of the finest cuisine available, anywhere.
Our thoughts on Preserve restaurant?
Preserve did a damn good job of impressing us! Fresh, delicious foods backed by a commitment to using local, sustainable food sources. Why should you care? Well check this out: 7 Benefits of Eating Local Foods. Even cooler is that the genesis of their name, ‘Preserve’, nods to their love of pickling, preserving and fermenting foods. Not only are these processes delicious, they are good for you (for real!).
We showed up for dinner at Preserve on their first Friday open to the public, surprised to see a full house and a waiting list — but more than willing to wait. Michelle, masquerading as a lovely hostess, told us there might be as much as an hour wait, but that she’d text us the minute a table became available for our party of four.
Less than 20 minutes later, I got “dinged”, and down we sat in their cozy corner booth.
Having had a cocktail (or possibly three) before I arrived, I brazenly asked told our waitress that we didn’t want to look at the menu, we just wanted her to bring us any four appetizers and four entrees that the chef would like to prepare for us. Olivia didn’t miss a beat. She and Michelle conferred, and moments later she described in mouth-watering detail what they had chosen for us. I have to say, her menu savvy was impressive, and she was cute as a button with a big personality – they have definitely not lost the art of customer service here.
I won’t embarrass myself by trying to explain the dishes in detail; I’ll leave that to the experts. Let me just say that everything was fresh, delicious, beautiful and most dishes were very atypical of the tres’ predictable crab cake and rock fish specials a la Annapolis. This meat-averse girl was very happy with the many vegetarian options available in addition to fresh animal proteins.
Beyond the great service and food, the décor (most DIY projects by chef/owners Michelle and Jeremy) was spot-on. Great comfy wall seating with a subtle nautical flair. A garage door fronting Main Street to enjoy an (almost) al fresco meal was our favorite touch. Even the restrooms (unisex, thank goodness) were papered with the Farmer’s Almanac, a homage to Preserve’s philosophy of truly farm-to-table. I even dig their logo, which is reflective of their menu – simple yet intriguing!
At a time when many new digs are trying to capitalize on the farm-to-table movement, Preserve doesn’t spend a whole lot of time waxing philosophical about that. They are too busy dishing out great food to those of us lucky enough to find a seat at their dream child.
(No vegetables were harmed during the writing of this blog post).