Looking for a place that can make you look like you know something about food, and make you look like you know what’s new and good about Baltimore? Well, Birroteca is a place for you, cool daddy. This place opened in October and has been packed ever since. Set inside an old mill under the JFX, upon first approach I felt as though I was driving into a drug deal, or that perhaps my wife was setting me up to be murdered. However, much to my relief, there were no cartel members or hit-men in the parking lot, and once inside the doubts about where I was melted away. The bar and dining room look great if not inviting. The stone walls and wood bar and accents give the place a warm and fuzzy feeling. It also kinda feels like you just walked into an old medieval inn. I felt as if I should yell out for ale and wenches, but being as I was with my wife I just asked for a table-for-two. We were told that they were full with reservations, but we could get a full menu at the bar. (If you want a table for you and your little lady-friend, you gotta call ahead, this place is jammin’.)
It was 6 o’clock when we arrived on this particular Friday and the bar was already almost full. We found our spot though and the bartender came right over. This bar is pretty cool. You can go old school with Rye Whiskey, Scotch, and even Chartruese. Or you can play beer snob and select from one of 23 craft beers on draft. (They’ve got Heavy Seas, Evolution, Union Brewing, Flying Dog, and Dogfish among others.) Or you can play cheap drunk-ass and have a good ole fashioned Natty Boh. The wine lists looks good too, with bottles in the $25-45 range.
We got our drinks and and ordered the Arancini appetizer. Arancini are fried rice balls coated with breadcrumbs, for all you dum-dums out there. These were filled with chopped mushrooms and Tallagio cheese. I usually don’t like mushrooms but I like to keep my current wife happy. Wow. These things were awesome. They covered ‘em in a red sauce (or gravy for all you I-talians out there) and the sauce was fantastic. Highly recommend this app if you venture here. For the main course my lady got the butternut squash ravioli con madeira sausage. I was going to get one of the pizzas but our bartender recommended the fazzoletti a la wild boar Bolognese. This kept with my medieval theme from earlier so I yelled out, “YES, bring out the wild boar I just speared for feasting!”. Our entrees arrived soon enough and the both were outta this world. The boar was really, really good. (Where they get this wild boar would be interesting to know. Do they have boars roaming the woods of West Virginia and Pennsylvania? Are there boars in Patapsco State Park? Does the owner of Birroteca hunt the boar on his/her own? Do they use a spear or a gun?) Anyway the Bolognese was on point and the texture of the Fazzoletti pasta was melt-in-your mouth good. The butternut squash was great too. The sauce was sweet and the pasta fantastic. I can’t stress enough on how good the pasta was. I would recommend both entrees to anyone and everyone. But we were not done by any means. For desert we enjoyed pumpkin cannoli…..so good.
But enough about the food, what a great atmosphere for a night out. All around the bar people seemed to be having a great time. It gets loud in here but that’s all good. It is a friendly spot with food that will warm ya and and booze that will buzz ya. The place looks great, the service was fantastic, and the food was bangin’. All this good and the check was somewhere in the mid sixty dollar range. So knuckleheads, you can look mildy sophisticated, get a buzz and eat some wild boar. Throw in a 30% tip, and you are straight pimpin’ at the Birroteca.