Finding a sit-down spot for every meal of the day remains a challenge downtown; on top of several pandemic closures, many restaurants have scaled back on day-to-night service.
Alex Smith, CEO of Baltimore’s Atlas Restaurant Group, says his newly minted Parlour Victoria should help fill that void as more office workers return to the downtown core. The restaurant group, known for about two dozen Baltimore establishments including Maximón, Tagliata, Ouzo Bay, Loch Bar, and Azumi, makes its District debut on Monday, February 13 in a glamorous Victorian townhouse attached to the Moxy hotel (1011 K Street NW). The menu slightly mirrors its Loch Bar sibling.
“What we are going for is upscale, American seafood with an all-day menu from weekday lunch to weekend brunch, plus happy hour and dinner,” says Smith.
The space evokes a bygone era with gold fixtures, opulent couches, and oysters served on the half-shell. For architectural history nerds, Victoria Parlour is where novelist William Burr and his wife, Victoria, once lived and the 20th-century mansion was immaculately restored.
The space’s glitzy vibe is reflected across a menu full of fancy dry-aged steaks, extravagant seafood towers, and lobsters flown in fresh daily. Executive chef Brandon Sumblin, formerly with the St. Regis hotel, also showcases an abundant Mid-Atlantic oyster program. “Brandon has a really good knack for elaborate seafood dishes,” says Smith. Rare Steakhouse alum and culinary director Marc Hennessy is “helping us get up and running with our hospitality team,” he adds.
Dishes are also sourced locally, including many ingredients from Atlas Farm—the restaurant group’s organic farm in Finksburg, Maryland. This is one of a handful of restaurant groups in the Mid-Atlantic that grows as much of its own produce close by as possible to maximize seasonality and sustainable farming practices.
“Everything from tomatoes to lettuces, herbs, and even garlic, all sorts of menu items are sourced locally,” says Smith.
Seafood dishes like Chesapeake crab dip, diver scallops, and oysters Rockefeller come from regional purveyors and the Maryland watershed.
“There’s an approachability factor to this place, where you can grab a juicy burger, or go more upscale and grab a nicely cooked steak or lobster.,” says Smith.
Whiskey lovers will also want to pay a visit to the shimmering second-floor bar. The nautical-styled perch offers impressive array of whiskey cocktails like “The Excelsior”—a cask-strength rye whiskey drink mixed with vermouth, coffee, and hazelnut liqueurs, with a subtle cherry-flavored finish.
And while the restaurant feels decidedly fancy, the style doesn’t require patrons to dress the part. In 2020, Atlas Restaurant Group decided against enforcing a dress code policy, following public backlash and a discrimination lawsuit.
“It’s pretty simple, there is no dress code,” Smith says. “People are welcome to come dressed however they would like, and we will not be enforcing a policy at any of the Moxy restaurant properties.”
Patrons can kick back and sip on a premium selection of signature concoctions and classic whiskeys, including six pages of American, Canadian, Scottish, and Japanese whiskeys. Marylanders will appreciate classic dishes including Smith Island Cake, Eastern Shore-style fried chicken, and cream of crab soup.
Like some of Atlas’s Baltimore properties, Parlour Victoria will host local music like weekly acoustic sets. Reservations are being accepted for service starting this week, including Valentine’s Day, when the restaurant will be open for walk-in diners too.
Come March, Atlas Restaurant Group will debut Lucha Rosa on the rooftop of the Moxy. The Oaxacan-style cocktail bar and outdoor restaurant with scenic views of the U.S. Capitol will serve Mexican tacos plus an extensive list of tequilas and mezcals.
“What we hope to create is a layered experience for those visiting downtown,” says Smith. “You’ll have this rooftop restaurant and bar, in Lucha Rosa, the elegant Parlour Victoria, and the Moxy Bar for those looking for a quick drink in the lobby.”
Service runs Sunday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m and Friday to Saturday 11:30 a.m. to midnight.