Victor's finds home in Timonium

TABLE TALK

November 08, 2006|By SLOANE BROWN

A well-known Baltimore City resident has moved to the 'burbs. After closing its Lancaster Street location a year ago, Victor's Cafe now can be found in Timonium.

Owner Victor DiVivo says he was forced to leave his waterfront location because of plans to build a Four Seasons Hotel on that spot. But he wasn't about to leave the restaurant business. And he decided on the old Donna's space in the Timonium Crossing shopping center because the parking was easy. And free.

He describes the space itself as a "typical cafe, very comfortable, very cozy." There are lots of warm Mediterranean colors, and tables to seat about 45 inside and a few more outside, weather permitting. There's also a counter for carryout, all that's available until 5 p.m. Table service is offered from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Fans of the old Victor's will be happy to hear that he's offering a similar menu. But much like the restaurant itself, he says it's not as big as his old one, because of a smaller kitchen.

It includes a selection of cold and grilled sandwiches, like shrimp salad ($6.99); an Italian cold-cut sub ($6.25); and grilled portobello mushroom with mozzarella, roasted red peppers and fresh basil ($6.25). There are also a few panini: cheese steak ($5.75); grilled chicken with peppers and onions ($5.45); and eggplant parmesan ($5.25).

The salad menu includes Caesar ($4.99); spinach, blue cheese and walnuts ($4.99); and a chopped salad ($5.75) - all of which can be topped with grilled chicken, blackened shrimp or tuna salad ($1.45 to $2.75).

Those items are available all day. Starting at 5 p.m., there are about a dozen possible dinner entrees, such as spaghetti or penne with a light sauce of plum tomatoes, toasted garlic and basil ($8.95); risotto with pesto sauce and shrimp ($12.95); chicken marsala ($10.95); and sausage and peppers, served with spaghetti ($10.95).

Then there's the new addition to Victor's menu - so important, in fact, that he briefly named the new eatery after the dish, Pizza Rustica, before deciding that the old name was a better choice.

"It's the new big thing. ... It started in Rome about 10 years ago, and now it's making its entrance into the U.S.," he says.

"The key is in the flour. It's different [than other pizza-crust flours]. The crust is much thinner and very soft. ... I love it. I have it every day!"

It is so soft that the pizza is cooked in large bakery pans and cut into 16 pieces. DiVivo says half a Pizza Rustica is the same as a large round pizza.

Victor's classic Pizza Rustica is made with plum tomato sauce, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, diced fresh tomatoes, ham, kalamata olives and fresh basil ($13.99).

Other pizza choices are barbecued chicken with red onions and roasted peppers ($13.99); Hawaiian, with ham, pineapple and diced tomatoes ($13.79); and quattro formagi ($13.95).

Victor's Cafe, 410-308-0620, is located at 2080 York Road in Timonium. It's open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. There is no liquor license. However, you are welcome to bring your own wine.

Martick's reopens

Meanwhile, a Baltimore gastronomic treasure is back in business. Martick's Restaurant Francais had been closed for several months in the summer; owner Morris Martick says he'd been invited to go to St. Thomas.

"I'm 84 years old, and I haven't had a vacation in 25 years," he says. When he got back to town, he says he did a few small renovations to the place, likely nothing customers will notice, he says. Then he had to rehire staff and finally got everything back up to speed to reopen about three weeks ago.

You'll find Martick's, 410-752-5155, at 214 W. Mulberry St. Its hours are 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Reservations are suggested.

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.

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