I set out to find a 'real' Italian-American place in Baltimore the likes of which we do not have in the DC area. But when I asked about this on Charm City Chowhounds, I instead was directed to Daniela, a Sardinian restaurant. My interest was piqued! After all, Sardinian is also something we lack in DC, and the menu definitely has some specific dishes impossible to find close to where I live.
We started off badly. It's summer, a heat wave, and we ordered two 'salads', a caprese and involtini, grilled eggplant strips stuffed with tomato, olive and basil. Some lazily fashioned crostini were also served with this. Worthless stuff.
Are tomatoes doing badly this summer? The caprese was served with cherry tomatoes, and I think I could have selected better ones myself. The tomatoes in the involtini were likewise kinda bland, and the eggplant had only a bitter flavor, did not taste grilled despite grill marks. Both dishes were doused with an olive oil that had a peppery finish which did not go with the bitterness of the eggplant or the herbs of the caprese.
The rest of the meal is where this place really shines. We ordered fregula, a kind of rough and hearty sardinian couscous with clams. At first this dish was served way too hot, but once it cooled down it was glorious and rich and complex tasting. The other success was the vitello al limone cooked in a 'double butter sauce.' This is a dark and rich sauce with a very sharp super-lemony kick. It was awesome. Served with some ok crushed potatoes.
Dessert were very good as befitting a place which specializes in pastry. The sfogliatelle were super crisp and amazing and the miilefoglio al ciaccolato was a very tall frozen mousse sandwiched between layers of pastry and covered with a caramel sauce. Thankfully the chocolate did not seem sweet.
Skip right to the pastas and main courses here, and it's possible to have an exemplary meal.
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