NOONA’S

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - TRAVEL -

heir­loom pep­pers that we en­joyed in late sum­mer. Lin­de­man is averse to the term “farm-to-table,” but he points out that Noona’s re­lies more heav­ily on lo­cal grow­ers like Monk­ton’s Karma Farm than many Bal­ti­more restau­rants.

What lingers in mind is the per­fect, pil­lowy gnoc­chi ($14), served with ri­cotta and basil atop a de­li­ciously plain house tomato sauce that keeps the fo­cus on the pasta. That dish, we fought over.

Spe­cial touches: Ed­i­ble flow­ers make every­thing look gor­geous, from the gnoc­chi to a yo­gurt panna cotta. (Alas, that last dessert is no longer on the menu, re­placed with an espresso cho­co­late mousse. “We don’t re­ally like to re­peat our­selves,” Lin­de­man said.) The artis­tic plat­ing is some­thing you might ex­pect at a Miche­lin-starred restau­rant like The Dab­ney. At Noona’s, it’s a nice sur­prise, like find­ing a Marc Jacobs purse at TJ Maxx. Pro tip: In ad­di­tion to rea­son­able menu prices, Noona’s of­fers cost-con­scious guests even more in­cen­tive to come back dur­ing the week, with spe­cials like half­priced bot­tles of wine Wed­nes­days and buy-one-get-one-free piz­zas on Tues­day nights. “We def­i­nitely want to make our food as ac­ces­si­ble as pos­si­ble,” Lin­de­man said. “I think this ex­act same restau­rant could ex­ist in D.C. and our prices could be twice as high.”

Bot­tom line: Bal­ti­more’s rel­a­tively laid­back food scene seems to have pro­vided Lin­de­man the an­ti­dote to Wash­ing­ton’s in­tense culi­nary world, and he’s re­turn­ing the fa­vor at Noona’s by mak­ing tasty food that you can ac­tu­ally af­ford to eat. We’re happy to re­port that Lin­de­man’s time here has turned him into a Charm City booster. “Bal­ti­more gets such a bad rap on so many lev­els,” he said. “Hav­ing lived here for three years I can re­ally say, it’s not fair.”

1203 W. Mount Royal Ave., Bal­ti­more; Open for lunch, din­ner and week­end brunch Tues­day through Sun­day. 410-424-0857. noonaspizz­a.com. Ac­cepts reser­va­tions.

KIM HAIRSTON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Din­ing room at Noona’s in Bolton Hill.

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