Fresh made-from-scratch ingredients collide in Mia Carolina's culinary carburettor, decorating plates and dazzling diners with a tasty fusion of New World and Old World Italian cuisine. Complement nibbles of its crisp bread with a faithful reading of its lunch or dinner menus, which yield appetite- and mind-stoking antipasti such as the cozze marinara's touching seafood anthology ($9 lunch, $10–$12 dinner) and the involtino di prosciutto di Parma's hearty paean to herbed goat cheese, grilled asparagus, and Italy's twinkling ham rivulets ($10). Pie jockeys can saddle up to the flavorful pizza margherita ($9 lunch, $10 dinner) or the veggie-infused capricciosa ($10 lunch, $12 dinner), and pasta promoters can treat their belly to the fettucine alfredo ($9 lunch, $12 dinner). Each tender cut of the veal marsala comes with fortifications of mushrooms, pearl onions, and roasted-garlic mashed potatoes ($23 dinner).
Mountains of pasta, slabs of steak, and oceanic delights romp across American Bistro's menu. The restaurant's faux-marble walls are bathed in warm light and bedecked with paintings and landscape murals that transport patrons back to the old country as smoothly as Julius Caesar's zipline. Feast upon time-tested Italian dishes including shrimp scampi ($11.95 during lunch; $16.95 dinner) or filet of Pisa, whose twin spires of 5-ounce steaks, mozzarella, and tomatoes ($26.95) tower over appetites. Reenact your favorite opera while noshing on lunchtime comestibles such as the Fradiavolo pizza ($8.95), where Italian sausage, mushrooms, and red onions play tug-o-war with stringy mozzarella ropes over spicy tomato sauce. American Bistro's shelves brim with a parade of libations including wine ($6/glass on average), beer ($4 on average), and the jealous tears of Bacchus.
The owners of Pasta Blitz employ recipes and cooking techniques inherited from their Neapolitan mother to create a menu of homemade pastas, grilled seafood, and veal-based entrees. Mirroring the aesthetic of an Italian trattoria, the restaurant’s relaxed, convivial atmosphere puts diners at ease as they indulge in authentic delicacies such as baked ziti, mushroom risotto, and calamari with caper-and-lemon sauce. Once the sun sets, the restaurant transforms from a casual eatery into an intimate spot for first dates or an awkward location for traffic-court proceedings.
When John Barrett Jr. and Mike Sipes bought Greystone Grill, they made a few crucial decisions. They replaced some menu items, lowered the prices, changed the name, and retained the original serving staff. But perhaps the most important addition John and Mike made was bringing in John Barrett Sr. to make sure they never succumb to "delusions of grandeur."
In the dining room, chandeliers sprout with purple bulbs and glass planter cases bloom with bonsai-style trees?a natural touch that starkly contrasts with the eatery's industrial, stacked-stone walls and steel-gray banquettes. Servers depart from the kitchen, their arms balancing plates of maryland crab cakes, wine-infused rack of lamb, and fish fillets dressed with mustard and capers. Barrett's chefs also take a modern approach to sandwich making, pairing Angus beef burgers with pineapple, short ribs with chili mayonnaise, and hand-cut fries. Adding to the upscale, yet relaxed ambiance, Barrett's Grill hosts live jazz and features half-priced bottles of wine on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
The menu at Arlon's is even more accommodating than the carryout policy. Spanning classic dishes of American, Italian, and Indian cuisine, everything is available for preparation for gatherings large and small. Submarine sandwiches and stromboli are served among other popular hand-held eats, while entrees include house-made crab cakes and tandoori-style chicken and fish curries. Between all these eclectic dishes, though, the chefs are hard at work crafting their signature dish: thin-crust pizzas made with fresh dough and and a trusty sauce recipe. House specialties include the buffalo chicken pizza drizzled in spicy sauce and bleu cheese, and the seafood pizza, which features shimp and crabmeat seasoned with cocktail sauce and Old Bay.
Portalli's Chef Keith Holsey portions his dishes according to the traditional Italian four-course meal. This doesn't stop the chef from crafting a menu of creatively interpreted Italian classics, though, such as Cioppino over fettuccine or Salmon con Granchio. Chef Holsey's creations consist of uncomplicated flavors that, according to the Baltimore Sun, allow "good and simple ingredients to work together." Portalli's also caters to families with dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs or meatball flatbread pizza, which teaches kids about fractions so they don't have to learn about them on the street.