Monday, December 24, 2012

Housemade pasta, creative pizza, local craft beer and more at Birroteca

I think I'm in love. With a restaurant. Birroteca. And it's literally a minute from my house, affair has ensued. I think I've told everyone I know how fantastic this place is. It really could be love. And by the looks of the place, many other Baltimoreans are also having a love affair. Packed - all the time. So, be sure to make a resie on Open Table or just go early and sit at the bar. 

Don't dismiss Birroteca as a pizza place. Or a regular old Italian restaurant. Or, that they only serve beer (but I will say, the beer is a very, very good reason to seek this place out.) Or be weirded out by the location. Why you SHOULD go? The menu is inventive, delicious and beautiful...but not stuffy or pretentious. The servers and bartenders are friendly, helpful and yes, they do sport kinda hipster-esque outfits...but there is no side of 'tude with the plaid shirts. This place is laid back, comfortable and welcoming. So good. I wish I could go once a week. 

Here are a few photos of some of my favorite dishes at Birroteca.  (Wait, is beer a dish?) 
p.s. They are very nice about letting you have a taste of the beers before you order...

Who knows what beer this is? I've tried so many...

Crispy polenta (crispy outside, soft and creamy inside) with eggplant ragu dippage
My favorite thing there - and I usually don't love eggplant...

Risotto with lobster, calamari, artichokes and topped with baby lamb chops

Crudo of porchetta, tuna aioli and pickled fennel

Ravioli with butternut squash and madeira sausage

Fazzoletti with wild boar bolognese


Pizza with spicy fennel sausage and mushrooms 

Pizza with duck confit, fig onion jam and trugole cheese, topped with duck egg

Grilled calamari with lemon, garlic and parsley

Ricotta cheesecake

Happy girl and her beer

And check out Richard Gorelick's and Wesley Case's Baltimore Sun write ups.  

I overheard some folks talking recently about how much they did not like Birroteca. I wanted to shout, "No, no, no. Go back! You got the wrong things!" Here's what I would absolutely not skip: crispy polenta, grilled calamari, kale salad, sausage and mushroom pizza, duck pizza, butternut squash ravioli with madeira sausage, wild boar bolognese and...if they have it, get the ricotta cheesecake. I also loved the olive oil and sea salt ice cream. The flavors are subtle and delicious. And...each night there is a special dish served family style. The folks next to us got the lobster risotto topped with baby lamb chops and that's on my list for next time (have to remember to go on a Wednesday and pray it's still on the menu...)

Seriously, this place is not to be missed. Go!