Viccino's has a new attitude

Table Talk

September 28, 2005|By SLOANE BROWN | SLOANE BROWN,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

From bistro to bar and grill. That's just one of the changes you'll find at the newly renovated Viccino's Bistro on North Charles Street. Not only has the eatery's name changed to Neo Viccino Bar & Grille, but both the interior and menu have had some major work done.

Owner Phillip Quick says it was time. Phillip says that in Viccino's 10-year history it was predominantly a pre-theater venue, offering fine-dining entrees that generally went for $15 to $25 a pop. He says he wanted to change the concept to a broader range, attracting neighborhood folks and students from the nearby University of Baltimore and Maryland Institute College of Art.

That means the more traditional decor is out. Phillip says you'll find a new contemporary look to go with Viccino's more contemporary attitude. There are new hardwood and slate floors, a little lounge seating in the front window, and a cocktail and wine bar, with seating for 10, in the back. The rest of the dining room seats about 65. And it sports black leather booths, high-tech lighting and ash tabletops.

"It has a little black and tan and silver going on, with some purple splashes," Phillip says.

The menu has added some splashes as well. There are appetizers like fried green tomatoes with sun-dried tomato aioli ($7.50), crispy coconut shrimp ($6.50) and grilled baby lamb chops ($7.50).

There's an extensive sandwich menu with items like a burger ($8), chicken Caesar wrap ($7) and Maryland crab cake ($14.50). There are also pizzas ($5 to $8.50), pastas ($8.50 to $15) and entrees including grilled salmon ($15), roasted duck breast ($14) and grilled New York strip steak ($20).

Not that Phillip wants to lose the pre-theater crowd. One thing that hasn't changed is the complimentary valet service, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and the complimentary shuttle service to the theaters.

Another Liberatore's

Make it Liberatore's No. 5. In addition to the Timonium, Eldersburg, Westminster and Owings Mills locations, you can now count Perry Hall as local neighborhoods to boast one of these popular Baltimore Italian eateries.

Partner Italo Liberatore says the new Liberatore's is more casual than the place in Timonium. He describes it as contemporary, with an open kitchen and lots of bright colors. There are three areas - a lounge that has several tables, including a large community table, a main dining area and the carryout kitchen.

Menu-wise, he says, you'll find a lot of the local chain's popular signature dishes, as well as some lighter fare. He describes the menu as kind of a combo of what you'd find at both the more formal Liberatore's eateries and their sister Canton hangout, Cosmopolitan.

"This appeals to the guy who wants to bring his girlfriend here for a martini, but also to parents who want to bring their kids. It is Perry Hall. Not Timonium."

Liberatore's, 410-529-4567, is located at 50005 Honeygo Center Drive, Suite 101, in Perry Hall. Its dining hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The bar will stay open until 2 a.m. weekends.

If you have information regarding a local restaurant's opening, closing or major changes, please e-mail that information to sloane@sloanebrown.com or fax it to 410-675-3451.

Neo Viccino Bar & Grille

Where: 1317 N. Charles St.

Phone: 410-347-0349

Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

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