Feast @ 4 East is a hidden gem in the Baltimore neighborhood of Mt. Vernon. Home to the Walters Art Museum, The Peabody Institute, Baltimore CENTERSTAGE, and the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center, the Mount Vernon Cultural District is a destination neighborhood for visitors and native Baltimoreans alike.
Feast @ 4 East is the dining room of 4 East Madison Inn, a Mount Vernon townhouse that boasts a rich history. Now a boutique hotel, the building formerly housed The 4 East Madison Orthopedic Association, and its physicians are said to have treated celebrities such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Katherine Hepburn, Joe DiMaggio, John F. Kennedy, and Mickey Mantle.
Dining at Feast @ 4 East is a distinctive experience, and my husband and I had a memorable dinner there one night last spring. Walking through the door, I felt as though I was entering not a restaurant, but someone’s home. A Chesterfield sofa and old-fashioned chair with an embroidered seat welcomed us into the foyer, and my eyes traveled up the staircase to the guest rooms on the second floor. The hostess took our name and led us past the parlor and into the dining room. Filled with antique furniture and featuring a regal blue and gold color scheme, triple crown molding, and ornate architectural details, the townhouse is certainly grand. But the space also has a lived-in feel. While some visitors might find the crack in the marble fireplace and edge-worn rugs slightly shabby, I appreciated the authenticity of the surroundings and immediately felt at ease.
The restaurant is BYOW (with a $5 corkage fee), so there’s no need to wait to place a drink order. After taking a sip of the pinot noir we brought along, I noticed some offbeat touches in the traditional room. Two bulldogs standing sentinel (as candle holders) on the mantle gave me pause, as did the tiny figurines of people and pigs scattered near their feet. Each table was set with a bright pink tulip in a bud vase—unexpected, but a nice contrast to the blue and gold.
The dining area had only 10 tables, mostly set for two, and included a few overflow tables in the front parlor. Despite the intimate arrangement, the space didn’t feel crowded. Jazz, originating from a bookshelf stereo in a corner, streamed in the background.
The menu had something for everyone, with entrees such as grilled bison, half rack of lamb, and even a nightly vegan creation. Entrée prices hovered around $20, and starters, salads, and desserts ranged from $8 to $12.
The food arrived quickly and was served on mismatched china; a chipped blue and white plate only added to the charm. As we made our way through a gruyere and onion tart, olive tapenade bruschetta, and mixed greens salad with blue-veined cheese, fresh fruit, and roasted walnuts, I mentally revised my initial assessment: I was not just dining in someone’s home—our host had tremendous culinary skill.
The sweet potato gnocchi with sage butter and linguine in a truffle cream sauce that arrived next were both rich and comforting. Although they were listed on the menu under “Light Plates,” they were filling, and just the right portion size for pasta.
Everything so far had been delightful, and dessert was an offer I could not refuse. Belgian chocolate pot de crème and apple bread pudding, accompanied by strong French pressed coffee, were perfectly sweet endings.