Facci Offers Authentic Wood-fired Pizza

TABLE TALK

New Italian Restaurant In Howard County Bakes Pizzas In 90 Seconds

February 03, 2010|By ELIZABETH LARGE

Sometimes it seems as if every new restaurant that opens in the suburbs is another chain, but perception isn't reality. Check out Facci Ristorante (7530 Montpelier Road, just south of Columbia, 301-604-5555, FacciRistorante.com) to see what I mean.

Owner Gino Palma-Esposito completely redid a Pasta Blitz that was in the strip shopping center there, giving it a contemporary atmosphere of brick and stone, and adding a bar and a wood-fired pizza oven imported from Naples. He's trying to make his pizzas as authentic as possible by using tomatoes and Caputo flour from Italy. The pizzas bake in 90 seconds in the very hot oven, according to manager Lisa Passalacqua. They cost from $9 to $14.

But Facci isn't primarily a pizzeria. It's a nice little Italian restaurant with moderately priced, everything-made-in-house entrees ranging from $11 for stuffed shells or spaghetti and meatballs to $18 for seafood Marabella - shrimp, scallops and crab in an Alfredo sauce over fettuccine.

FOR THE RECORD - Clarification : In last week's Table Talk column, I gave the wrong Web address for Facci Ristorante in Laurel. Although it's named Facci Ristorante, the correct URL is FacciRestaurant.com. My fault.

The bar has happy hour specials from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with half-price appetizers that Passalacqua calls "tapas-like." There are 13 of them.

Facci Ristorante is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, till 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Twisted Harp: : Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, a new Irish gastropub should be open in Perry Hall. (Gastropubs, if anyone reading this isn't familiar with the term, are restaurants with the atmosphere of a cozy pub but food that's a cut above your usual pub grub.)

Owners Amanda Nussle and Matthew Tanner are renovating the spot where Raffy's was at 8706 Belair Road. The new place will be called the Twisted Harp - twisted because the menu will be a creative twist on traditional Irish cuisine. The food should include everything from Irish flatbreads to Maryland seafood dishes.

Prices will be moderate, but the place will definitely look more upscale than Raffy's did, with draperies and crystal chandeliers. The opening date is set tentatively for Feb. 20, but we all know how quickly that can change.

Closings: : This is the spot where I tell you about closings. I have two, one permanent and one, I hope, temporary. About a year after it opened, the Northstar Bistro on the first floor of the Douglass-Meyer Maritime Museum has closed in Fells Point. This was the joint venture of Dimitris Spiliadis, owner of the Black Olive, and Ellis Marsalis III, who coordinated the jazz offered there. It's too bad, because the place offered fresh food at reasonable prices.

Meanwhile several readers e-mailed me to say that it looks as if Poe Boys Oyster Bar & Grill in Fells Point is closed, with a sign on the door saying that private parties will be moved to the Waterfront Hotel nearby. That surprised me, because it only opened in December, where Miss Irene's (which hadn't been open that long either) had been.

When I called the Waterfront Hotel, I was told the closing was only temporary for remodeling. We've heard that before, so stay tuned.

Frederick Restaurant Week: : Frederick, which has become a dining destination for people in both Baltimore and Washington, will have its first Restaurant Week March 8-14. More than a dozen restaurants are participating, offering a prix fixe two-course lunch for $15.10 or a three-course lunch for $20.10 (smart to offer the choice) and dinner for $30.10.

You can check out the restaurants and find more details at FrederickRestaurantWeek.com. If you're into social media, get continuous updates during Restaurant Week through Twitter from @tourfrederickmd (not sure what those updates might be: Tasting Room out of chocolate mousse?) and join the conversation using hashtag #FredRW.

But don't expect to get a reservation at "Top Chef" star Bryan Voltaggio's restaurant Volt. Half an hour after a colleague of mine got the press release, she called and the restaurant was booked solid for lunch and dinner for the whole week.

Deal of the Week

Where: : Frank & Nic's West End Grille, 511 W. Pratt St.

The deal: : Five at Five: $1 shooters, $2 drafts, $3 domestic bottles, $4 rail drinks and house wine, $5 appetizers

When: : 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays in February

Call: : 410-685-6800

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