Cheering for Bravo
“A ship begins with its name.” That old Russian proverb was on Alla Sandler’s mind when she named Bravo, the restaurant she opened in Pikesville earlier this year. Sandler chose the name with hopes that the restaurant’s menu, featuring traditional dishes from former Soviet Republics, would give the community plenty of reason to cheer. “Bravo is a word we want to hear often,” says Sandler, a Belarus native who has been in the U.S. for over two decades and now calls Pikesville her home. Menu highlights include a popular chicken paté and gefilte fish made from a centuries-old recipe. “Not a lot of people do gefilte fish at home because it’s a very difficult process,” Sander says. “But in our restaurant, you can try it.” Recipes from the former Soviet Republics often crossed borders, Sandler says, so the menu represents a variety of cuisines. “We have some dishes from Ukraine, from Moldova, Russia, Belarus, even from Poland because it was so close,” she says. “When people come to the restaurant, they can taste the food of their childhood. And for people who haven’t tried Russian or European food, I hope they like it.” 1430 Reisterstown Road. bravorestaurant.net
Twenty-nine floors above Baltimore turns out to be as stunning a view as you might expect. The Bygone, one of the city’s newest restaurants, bills itself as “Baltimore’s most elevated dining experience,” and in this instance, “elevated” means height and luxury. At the top of Harbor East’s Four Season Hotel, The Bygone evokes a 1920s supper and social club with its posh interior, retro photos and even a dress code. “Our goal was to create Baltimore’s premier dining destination, consisting of the best views, service, cocktails and food,” owner Alex Smith says, adding that a lot of thought went into “every aspect from the décor and servers’ uniforms to the lighting and sound system.” The upscale feel may have you asking, is this really Baltimore? The seafood-heavy menu will remind you that you are still in the mid-Atlantic. Chilled options range from crab to scallops ceviche to sardines. Diners can also enjoy caviar or sample three different lobster dishes. Of course, there are crab cakes. Sip something from the whiskey or cocktail bar and make sure you step out unto the patio for that view. 400 International Drive. thebygonerestaurant.com
Suspended Brewing Company may not, as its name suggests, feature fermenters and kettles swinging from the ceiling, but it is innovating in other ways. “Our passion was creating a company we felt could do good for the world,” says Yasmin Karimian, co-founder. “A company that did well for the environment, did well for its customers and did well for the community.” The result is a huge, energy-efficient space on Washington Boulevard, Pigtown’s main drag, a wind-powered place full of natural light and recycled materials — and so popular that the brew pub promptly ran out of beer after opening. These days, co-founder and brewer Josey Schwartz is hard at work keeping their wide variety of IPAs, stouts, lagers and signature Sour Persian in stock, and Karimian is proud of the company’s commitment to the community. After all, she says, “why can’t small business be a model for change?” 912 Washington Blvd. suspendedbrewing.com
When in Rome
As sad as we were to see Petit Louis’ second location in Columbia close, it’s always exciting when another Foreman Wolf concept enters the fray. Their latest, Lupa (which means “she-wolf” in Italian), replaces the French bistro with a classic Roman trattoria. Terracotta orange walls, low lighting and heady music bring an ancient civilization feel to the waterfront eatery, but the menu keeps things contemporary with clever takes on antipasti and pizzas, as well as house-made pastas and to-die-for lamb meatballs (executive chef James Lewandowski’s favorite dish). For all its Old World fanfare, however, the trattoria offers a lower price point than its predecessor and hopes to become a community go-to. And after a visit to the front-of-house gelateria featuring 20+ handcrafted gelatos and sorbettos, we can’t see how it could not. 10215 Wincopin Circle, Columbia, 410-964-9999. lupacolumbia.com
Bravo is overpriced for It’s space and location!