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.
Dining room at Noona’s in Bolton Hill.