Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Carpaccio Tuscan Kitchen/ Wine Bar

We have been waiting with baited breath for the opening of the latest edition of the Monte Restaurant group's mini Italian empire here in Anne Arundel County. Each of their restaurants bears its own name and distinct/ unique concept. We've only made one visit, but the early buzz about Carpaccio is that this is MRG's finest hour.

The decor echoes some of MRG's previous restaurants, namely PomoGrille (Bowie) and 4Season's Grille(Crofton), but with a much subdued and more sophisticated slant. Housed on the curve of the new Park Place development on West Ave in Annapolis, the outdoor seating here reminds one of being in a chic cafe in Florence, Italy. I would typifiy the interior as decidedly elegant casual.

The menu is clearly "upmarket" when held against some of the other locations. 6 types of Carpacci are offered, including filet mignon, tuna, anchovies, eggplant and prosciutto. A nice selection of salads is offered. On our visit, my Steven and I, both ordered the Panzanella. It was very good, but I would have preferred a "breadier" presentation. This was more of just a good salad with homemade croutons, which is not a bad thing, just not what I think of when I think 'Panzanella".

Pappardelle Bolognese is one of those things that... if it's on the menu... I'm going to order it. I can honestly say this was the best Pappardelle Bolognese I've ever tasted. This is a real diet breaker. If I was at home I would have been licking the bowl.

Steven had the Monte Santo Pizza, one of the 9 choices of wood burning brick oven Neapolitan pizzas. All I can say is MMMMMMMMMMMMM! Mozzarella, Artichokes, Mushrooms, Peppers, Parmacotta on a crisp and snappy crust. It was equally good the next morning with eggs and coffee.

There are 18 homemade pasta choices (some classics and some not so classic) and 5 Risottos. That's all before you get to the fish or meat entrees. For dessert, we split a Tiramisu. Typically I wouldn't order Tiramisu as it is so overdone, and rarely done right, but this was the real McCoy. I watched one pass by our table earlier and I went all "Homer Simpson" for a minute. "Arrrghghghhhghg" Actual lady finger cookies, with espresso and rum and a heapin' helpin' of sweetened Mascarpone. DEEE-lightful.

Word is already out and it's difficult to get in on a weekend evening, so if you are going, I suggest you make a reservation. Lucky for us we live nearby and a weeknight visit is not out of the question.

As an added bonus, MRG has also opened Carpaccio Pizzaria 2 Go, right next door. Featuring brick oven pizza by the slice, panninis, salads and more!

Carpaccio Tuscan Kitchen/ Wine Bar Carpaccio Pizzaria 2 Go
One Park Place, Suite 10 One Park Place, Suite 11
Annapolis, MD 410-268-6569 Annapolis, MD 410-268-8646

post script: MRG is looking to expand the Pomo Grille concept with locations opening up soon in White Marsh MD, Sterling VA and Herndon, VA.

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