Tagliata, your’re IT!

I love making fresh pasta.  I usually keep it simple, a dollop of homemade pesto tossed with fettuccine or a light butter and lemon and basil chiffonade sauce with seafood over linguine.  Sometimes I crave something a little heavier and creative- something I wouldn’t go out to a store to buy a million ingredients to make.  Trying to find the right Italian Restaurant in Baltimore with great homemade Pasta took us a bit of time, but we think we have come close to our favorite.  We live pretty close to Little Italy and and Harbor East and lots of our friends have given advice as to which restaurant in that area has the best homemade pasta.  We tried a few places and recently settled on Tagliata.  We have had very memorable pastas at Peter’s Inn in Upper Fell’s Point as well as Cosima up North, but Tagliata was superb.

It was super busy when we stepped in on a Saturday evening.  The bar was packed and we didn’t have a Ressie, but a very happy hostess brought us really quickly to a cute little deuce by the kitchen window.  We dove right in with a bottle of Gruner Veltliner that was crisp and light and assumed would go with our craving of a lighter pasta this night-if there was any wine left by dinner?

We have started to bring a strategy to dining out.  We want to get the best value out of a restaurant while getting many different tastes and options as possible.  We decided to get 1/2 portions of 2 different pastas and split an entrĂ©e and see how we felt for dessert?  Perfect!  Our waitress, Jessica was really well-trained and a delight.  I think she could feel that were not in the mood to be educated and just wanted to get to it.

Tagliata is a spare looking place.  Spare, but elegant with a tone on tone washed grey palette.  It’s like a favorite winter sweater-warm and worn in.  (Even though the restaurant is a little over a year-old.) It’s part of the ATLAS group of restaurants in Baltimore and fits in nicely with their other restaurants.  Chef/Partner Julian Marucci is making some really comfortable and tasty pastas and using super fresh and inviting ingredients.

Rigatoni all Tomato Vodka

It was mesmerizing watching the kitchen associate create cheese and charcuterie plates right in front of us with nothing separating  us but a thick piece of glass.  We were startled back into reality by a cute young man with a basket of bread hanging from his neck by a piece of bailing twine.  This is the only part of the experience that got a little “staged”.  Not only was there enough bread in the basket to feed Sicily, I kept thinking of bus boys and waiters flicking the bread back in the basket after returning from tables-eww.  I’m sure they don’t:)  Bread was great, butter was so indulgent and I believe we got a bowl of some ricotta with honey in it, even though this might be another restaurant?

Fettuccine with Sausage and Tomato Cream

We started with the Rigatoni alla Vodka with a tomato cream sauce and  finished with vodka and parmigiano and the Fettuccine with sausage, basil and tomato cream sauce.  They were both 1/2 portions and just the right amount for an appetizer portion.  The Pastas were both cooked perfectly and had a nice balance that kept all the ingredients tight and you just didn’t have to work to eat it.  It was a pleasure eating each bite.

We then enjoyed the Pan-Seared Halibut with cauliflower, romanesco and almond anchovy brown butter.  I always tell people to order 1 entree and split it, if you are having other appetizers.  I don’t know why, but chefs and kitchen workers tend to give larger portions of the side ingredients of the entree when plating.

Halibut with Cauliflower Puree and Almond, Anchovy Brown butter sauce

The Halibut came to our table and was very well portioned and plenty for both of us.  The brown butter in the sauce was right on and not burnt and blended right in with the almond and salty anchovy.  Wonderful!

We still had room for dessert and quickly decided on a Dark Chocolate Flourless cake with black licorice and sea salt and velvety house-made Vanilla ice cream.  Heaven.  The sweet and and salt was a striking balance and the licorice flavor was so slight and soft mixed with the chocolate.

We left Tagliata happy.  I love homemade pasta and love it even more when I don’t have to make it.  I was happy Tagliata did it so well!