Wednesday, June 7, 2017

La Scala Ristorante - Baltimore

In Baltimore, MD we were visiting the harbor area late in the afternoon, after we'd visited Fort McHenry, site of the War of 1812 battle that inspired the Star Spangled Banner. We got to board the USS Constitution, a Civil War era sailing ship, and the World War II Submarine Torsk, a tight, smothering, claustrophobia inducing hunk of metal.   
The most exciting part of Fort McHenry was when a Stealth bomber flew overhead, a first for me. Very loud and very impressive. 
The USS Constitution provided an opportunity to experience a large ship of the sail. 
I am awed by the prospect of the sailors climbing around in the rigging. 
The Torsk just confirmed more convincingly what I already knew - I would not survive psychologically on a submarine. I got claustrophobic with only a few people on board. Imagine full of men and underneath the water. 
We had reservations at La Scala Ristorante in nearby Little Italy, the no. 5 rated restaurant (out of 1,653) in Baltimore on Trip Advisor. I'm not a real Italian food fan, but Little Italy was touted as an area to visit and La Scala had great reviews. 
We walked about .6 miles from the Torsk and found La Scala in a beautiful old red brick building. It was elegant inside, very upscale, with beautiful place settings, linens, silverware, white dishes, goblets and a general feeling of finery. Our waiter, with an appropriately heavy Italian accent welcomed us and told us of the specials. 
We had an interesting non-ordered starter of green beans that were okay. 
Judy loves gnocchi and when I saw gnocchi with Gorgonzola cheese, it brought back memories of the first time she ever had that dish, in Rome many years ago. No question that she would order it. She gave me a bite, which was good, and she luxuriated in it. For me, pasta is okay, for Judy gnocchi is divine. 
For her main dish Judy got Saltimbocca all Romana, veal sauteed with mozzarella, prosciutto, sage and cognac. It was good. 
I got a starter grilled Caesar. It had anchovies, like Caesars are supposed to, and the romaine lettuce was grilled, an iteration I've not tried before. It had a smokey taste from the grilling and I kind of liked it. I would have liked a little more dressing.
I ordered one of the specials, sea bass, or as they called it by the Italian name, branzino or bronzino. I was disappointed in it. Blocks from the ocean and highly rated, I had high expectations, but found it mushy and over-cooked. I was even less impressed when I got the bill and found out how expensive it was  (note, ask for the price next time before I order a special). 
We each got a little cup of pasta with tomato sauce and cheese. Acknowledging that pasta is very low on my desire list, it is pasta like that, bland pasta with bland tomato sauce, that keeps it low on the list, or even lowers it. 
The atmosphere and facility was beautiful and everything about it screamed excellence, but the food was a major disappointment. I have to believe they have dishes that deliver, but we did not find them that night (except perhaps for Judy's gnocchi). 


  1. My gnocchi bathing in gorgonzola was superb, and the saltimbocca was also very good (though nothing can top gnocchi with gorgonzola). I would go back in a heartbeat.

  2. Always a little disappointing when the taste doesn't match the cost. However, I love gnocchi too, and would feel fine getting full on only gnocchi.