In Baltimore, after watching Oscar nominated/Oscar winning films, head to Orto for a bite!

After watching the excellent Green Book at The Charles theater, my friend Carroll and I were up for a little bite to eat. A place that would have been my choice a year ago is resting hard on its laurels. Another nearby spot closed its kitchen about 3 hours early for some unknown reason. So, we gave the brand-new Orto a shot and we were sure glad we did!

The Station North restaurant is only a couple week old, yet it was jam-packed. It’s a narrow, small place, with a longer bar area. Low lighting, large vintage mirrors and dark woods give a romantic feel.

Orto aims to be an Italian inspired, locally sourced place; you’ll find Italian wines, beers with a modern, Italian and American take on cuisine. There is a wide range, price-wise, including snacks for $5, going on to smaller, medium and entree style plates.

I was glad to learn that a “small” plate was a great value-added item: rope caught mussels. Its rich broth is flavored with grapefruit bits, shaved fennel and bay leaf. The mussels are plated with nicely grilled bread — but we also requested spoons. You will, too!

The place is tiny, yet very impressively, they have an in-house pastry chef! She also makes the ice creams and sorbets — they are excellent and would be a fine choice for those just wanting a little something sweet after the movies. I tried the chocolate toffee and also, the white chocolate maple. They are decadent and creamy, not “icy” or thin. The flavors were well-balanced and not overly sugary.

They’re currently open nightly from 5-10, but might be open for lunch in the future.

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