At Baltimore’s Coelum restaurant, go for the foie, skip the CBD

Should foodies of the future wish to know what dining out in Baltimore was like in the year 2019, they would do well to look at a recent menu for Coelum. The corner restaurant in Canton’s former Gitan Bistro Cru offers CBD oil supplements in cocktails, optional foie gras shavings to any entree, and could otherwise be described as “Millennial AF.” (Pronounced KOY-loom, the name comes from the Latin for “sky” or “heaven”).

But don’t write off Coelum as just another passing trend: At its heart is some seriously delicious food. Chef and co-owner Corey Laub previously worked at Columbia’s Aida Bistro and Wine Bar, as well as Fork & Wrench and Modern Cook Shop. At this newest venture, a partnership with sommelier Ryan Thacker, offerings range from simple plates like toast with tomatoes to duck leg that’s been confited five hours, until the meat is perfectly succulent and the skin crackles. It’s the kind of restaurant I’d recommend to anyone from adventuresome young eaters hungry for a snack with cocktails to fussy gourmands desirous of a three-course meal.


First impressions: Decor is simple but elegant, with tablecloths, tons of plants and an indoor trellis that makes you feel like you’re in a garden. A semi-functioning wine shop allows customers to snag a bottle to-go. Service borders on hyper-vigilant: Water glasses were refilled after the tiniest sip, refills were proffered before we were had finished the first drink and someone refolded my napkin when I went to the bathroom.

Must tries: The aforementioned duck confit is the kind of dish you’ll still be thinking about the next day, served with addictive hoisin aioli and potatoes that have been roasted in bone marrow and duck fat. (Cue my Homer Simpson drooling noise.) That may sound like a hearty meal for the summer, but portions are restrained. You won’t feel overstuffed afterward. On the lighter side, a small plate of heirloom tomato toast spotlights fresh local peaches and tomatoes on a base of whipped feta. Another delight: Buttery octopus is served on top of a corn relish — the latter gets a kick from soy sauce. We’ll be back to try the Laotian-style pork egg rolls, a collaboration between Laub and the restaurant’s Laos-born dishwasher.

Pro tip: While eating out is an experience ever-more influenced by (and documented in) social media, a meal at Coelum is a reminder not to believe everything you see on Instagram. A butter cake ordered for dessert appeared underwhelming, but was love at first bite. Unbelievably rich and buttery, it rested on top of a house-made peach chutney. On the other hand, shrimp croquettes plated on a Rorschach blot of squid ink gazpacho looked like something you might see at the Baltimore Museum of Art, but tasted just fine.

Special touches: Like restaurants and cafes nationwide, Coelum serves cannabidiol or CBD oil as an optional supplement to drinks, never mind that it’s technically illegal. (Our waiter compared CBD’s effects to taking an Advil; oddly, I don’t see restaurants rushing to add ibuprofen to their drinks.)

My dining companion described it as having an earthy, dirt-like aftertaste, but no discernible effect otherwise. The question is: Would you like to pay $5 to make your drink taste like dirt? Like the resurgence in tableside flambeing or the proliferation of scooters, this is a craze that seems headed for disaster.

More sensible are the foie gras shavings which accompany the seared scallops and are available as an add-on to other entrees for $8. The shavings — scraped from a medallion that’s been seared and then frozen — melt before the dish arrives at your place, but leave a lingering fattiness that’s just the right amount of indulgence.

Bottom line: Fantastic, day-dream inducing. Go for the foie. Skip the CBD.

Open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday. 800 S. Kenwood Ave., Canton. 410-276-1200.