New Wagner's is Italian and more

TABLE TALK

January 24, 2007|By SLOANE BROWN

Glen Burnie has a new place to "ciao" down. It's an eatery by the name of M.J. Wagner's Via Mia - a name that comes from the joint effort between a longtime local chef, Mike Wagner, and the owners, local couple Mibong Hong and Young Moon. Wagner has worked at Piccolo's in Columbia and Fells Point, Rudy's 2900, Baltimore's Planet Hollywood and Aida Bistro.

The restaurant's name also implies a slight Italian bent, one that Wagner's wife, general manager Donna Wagner, tried to convey when she decorated the space.

"I wanted to give it a warm, Tuscany feel, with golden walls, tile floors and fountains," she says. That's right, fountains. Wagner says you'll see two of them on a platform that separates the dining area from the bar area. Think a more modern Tuscany.

She says the dining room features a long burgundy banquette against one wall, with tables covered in burgundy and gold-colored linens, and black chairs completing the look.

Wagner says this spring the restaurant will open a banquet room that can accommodate about 100 people and an outdoor dining area - with live music and another fountain - that will seat another 100.

Meanwhile, you'll also see a little Thai, a little Japanese, a little Spanish effect. Most of that is in the appetizer list. There are antipasti pinwheels of prosciutto, capicolla, soppresatta, provolone cheese, roasted peppers, capers and basil with a balsamic vinaigrette ($9.95); seared sushi-grade tuna with sesame seaweed salad, pickled ginger and a wasabi vinaigrette ($12.95); and Thai mussels steamed with lemon grass, coconut milk and ginger ($10.95).

Salads include Caesar ($6.95); baby greens, candied walnuts, Granny Smith apples and gorgonzola crumbles with a cranberry vinaigrette ($7.95); and baby salad greens with a warm goat-cheese fritter, seasonal fruit and toasted pine nuts in a raspberry vinaigrette ($7.95).

Among the entrees, you'll find Maryland crab cakes ($22.95); grilled Kurobuta pork loin with apples, brown sugar and sage, served with braised red cabbage and spatzel ($16.95) and Wagner's specialty, Chicken Piccolo - boneless chicken breast stuffed with prosciutto, rosemary-scented spinach and provolone in a white-wine-lemon-butter sauce ($14.95).

There is also a pasta section, of which Wagner is especially proud. "I have somebody who comes in at 8 in the morning and makes all the pasta. It's not extruded. It's nicely rolled out, sheeted and cut," he says.

There are a half-dozen choices, including penne puttanesca - pasta, capers, anchovies, olives in a spicy marinara sauce ($12.95); spaghetti carbonara tossed with egg, bacon, onions, Parmigiano cheese and cream ($13.95); linguine with gulf shrimp and andouille sausage in a Dijon-scented cream sauce ($16.95); and spaghetti and meatballs ($12.95).

As of Valentine's Day, Wagner says, the menu will change a bit. The full menu will be scaled back, and a new page of small plates will appear, generally $8 to $14. Starting Feb. 3, Wagner will offer cooking classes at the restaurant on some Saturdays.

M.J. Wagner's Via Mia, 410-760-9333, is at 8 N. Crain Highway in Glen Burnie. Its kitchen is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with the bar open until 11 p.m. Weekend hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, with the bar open until 2 a.m.

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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