Friday, March 02, 2007

Drunk on Pasta

The first two months of this year have largely been a blur due to a client project that has consumed most, if not all, of my time. (Which explains why I still have a big box of THG #10 review copies sitting on the floor waiting to be shipped out.) Let me put it this way – if there's a month where I only watch two movies something else must be going on.

Luckily, the project is almost finished and I was able to take a couple hours out of my day yesterday to meet a buddy for lunch down in Little Italy. Actually, that wasn't our first stop. We initally walked over to something called the Iguana Cantina but despite a spot that screams out for a good lunch destination that's not a horrible chain (I'm looking at you ESPN Zone), Iguana appears to be closed during the day so they can host a bevy of cheap drink nights. Ugh.

Failing to spy anyplace in the Inner Harbor that looked appealing we strolled over to Little Italy and went to Amicci's, an always dependable Italian eatery where we've had dinner together on numerous occasions. We weren't even sure it was open for lunch but upon sticking our head in the door we realized it was.

As we stood in the vestibule waiting to be seated we got into a conversation with a woman who we initially mistook for a restaurant employee. She took no offense and told us that it happens to her all the time, even relating a tale of being in a womens department and helping a cross-dresser find a suitable frock to make him/her feel girlie.

And people wonder why I love Baltimore.

Once we were seated in the dining room we took a look at the paired down lunch menu which offers a handful of appetizers (Cheese Bread, Calimari, Mussels, etc.), pasta combos, and entrees from which to choose. This made my life easier since the dinner menu offers about four or fives times as many choices and my head tends to swim with the possibilities. (According to the website lunch is served daily from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM with the dinner menu served all other times.)

After ordering a couple beers – dang! why didn't I go for a glass of red wine? – we decided to split some Calimari while Billy ordered up the Penne Amicci with Italian Sausage ($9.50) and I went for the Cheese Tortellini with Creamy Alfredo Sauce ($8).

Normally when I'm out I tend to order things I won't make for myself at home, either because Chris isn't a fan (mushrooms, liver, venison, buffalo) or, like this instance, it's something we don't typically indulge in.

Calimari ($6) was excellent, sizzling hot like it just came out of the fryer, but not so coated that you felt like you were eating deep fried batter. In fact, it reminded me of the excellent, huge portion of the dish served at Samos, an excellent Greek restaurant I'll be writing about in the near future.

Despite the lunch menu timeframe, the entrees were no less huge than the dinner portions at Amicci's. Tortellini and Penne arrived in huge, filled-to-the-brim bowls that I don't think either of us finished, though I gave it my best shot. By the time I arrived home I realized I that I was literally woozy from the delicious, but artery-clogging combination of pasta, cheese and cream.

As I wrote in THG #10, Amicci's remains a solid, if unspectacular, destination when I want good Italian food. The lunch menu doesn't offer their Signature Shrimp Bowl (a hollowed out hunk of bread topped with massive shrimp drenched in a garlic cheese sauce) and maybe that's a good thing. Definitely recommended for lunch or dinner, though weekend nights may include a lengthy wait due to its popularity. A recently opened bar area features a few tables for folks who don't mind a slightly louder atmosphere.

231 South High Street
Baltimore, MD


Baltimore Snacker said...

I was thinking of this place for dinner. As long as I sit at the bar maybe there won't be a wait. I think I know where I'm eating tonight!

Dan said...

Let me know if you checked it out and what you had. Definitely one of my fave comfort food places in the area. After the zine fest we ended up going to Pei Wei Chinese Diner over on York Road. Pretty good semi-fast food/semi-sit down Chinese food. As one friend said, it's like a Chinese food version of Chipotle. More info to come.

Anonymous said...

Although the Signature Shrimp Bowl is not on the lunch menu, they have been more than willing to serve it every time I have been there for lunch. Kind of one of those "in the know" things!

Baltimore Snacker said...

Dan, I gave up on finding a place to park and headed to Sammy's Trattoria. Just wrote about it on my page. But oh yes, I will visit Amicci's soon. Oh yes.

Fairfax said...

Ten of us had dinner there last month and it was excellent. We had some very small children with us and the restaurant was very accomodating.

Dan said...

Anonymous: Aigh! Don't tell me The Shrimp Bowl is available at lunch!! Lalalala, I can't HEAR you!

Fairfax: I agree with you about Amicci's being accomodating. I've probably been there a half dozen or so times in the last few years and I've never been disappointed in the service or food. Solid place.