Subscribe




All in the Family

Bryan Voltaggio’s Family Meal takes home-style cooking to a new level.

By Henry Hong - July 2015

Review: Family Meal

Bryan Voltaggio’s Family Meal takes home-style cooking to a new level.

By Henry Hong - July 2015

Fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits with hot sauce. -Photography by Scott Suchman

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

Bryan Voltaggio’s newest Baltimore project, Family Meal, named for the staff meal eaten before or after a restaurant shift, manages to be in the heart of the Inner Harbor tourism district while remaining invisible from Pratt Street. The fourth of the former Top Chef contestant’s Family Meal restaurants, it’s a choice spot exuding a palpably relaxed vibe, with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the harbor, Pier 5, and the Aquarium just across the plaza.

The menu is similarly approachable, with familiar home-style dishes, shareable sides, straightforward desserts, and stick-to-your ribs breakfasts. Voltaggio’s concept is “modern diner,” and it’s the details of the dishes that exhibit the thoughtfulness and creativity one would expect from a celeb chef. A seemingly simple Maryland catfish sandwich ($13) becomes a lesson in textural interplay, with a tender fillet encased in ephemeral and crisp tempura-like batter, and thin-sliced fried okra lending a slightly different stripe of crunchiness.

Grilled oysters are topped with bacon jam and “cheddar glacage” ($10), a sort of foamy meringue toasted on top and resembling a marshmallow, which renders the bivalves almost candy-like to satisfying effect.

Other standbys—including burgers, meatloaf, smoked brisket, and fried chicken—are less ambitious, but well-executed. The green-bean casserole ($3.99) is actually perfectly blanched haricots verts with an intensely oniony béchamel and shiitakes. Even the humble deviled eggs ($4.99) are prepared with an exquisitely light yolk filling. While not always on the menu, the smoked beet “pastrami” sandwich ($10.99) is another standout.

This sort of culinary rigor is present in Family Meal’s cocktail program as well, where house-made oils, syrups, and spirit infusions (somewhat confusingly referred to as “sous vide”), make for an expansive set of ingredients. “Le Jardinier” ($12) is a particularly good example of balance and nuance—mellow carrot-infused gin with the slightest bite of ginger and citrus, perfumed with a few drops of basil-infused almond oil to finish.

Service is notably hospitable across the board, though not necessarily completely expert in expounding on the menu’s complexities. That aside, locals who rarely venture to this more touristy part of town now have a good reason to visit.


›› Family Meal, 621 E. Pratt St., 410-601-3242. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Prices: appetizers: $4.99-9.99; entrees: $10-23.99





You May Also Like


The Chatter

Five Things to Know About the Salvation Army’s First-Ever Grocery Store

DMG Foods provides fresh produce and affordable groceries in Northeast Baltimore.

In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Full Tilt Brewing; Tooth N Nail Cafe; Aggio

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

On The Town

Regal Beagle Set to Open in Canton Next Week

The former Jack's Bistro space is now a casual cocktail bar.


In Good Taste

Celebrate Mother’s Day With These Brunches and Boat Rides

Give mom a break this holiday and head to one of these local restaurants.

Food & Drink

Oh, Brother!

Local restauranteurs keep it all in the family.

Food & Drink

Heart & Seoul

Embracing Korean cuisine, Phil Han goes back to his roots.

Fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits with hot sauce. -Photography by Scott Suchman

Connect With Us

Most Read


Halfway Through Light City, Crowds Continue to Flock Downtown : Tuesday night featured performances from an area step team and Fluid Movement.

The Big Baltimore Playlist: April 2018: The top five local songs you should download right now.

Third Annual Rise Bmore Concert Pays Tribute to Freddie Gray: Musicians and artists gather to pay tribute to Gray and the city of Baltimore.

Maryland-Based Company Captures Milestones with 3D Photography: GoFigure 3D Photography creates lifelike figurines.

Open & Shut: Sacré Sucré Coming Soon; The Emporiyum Takes a Break; In Bloom Closes: The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.