We're all for the polish and shine of the new enotecas and osterias in town, but sometimes Little Italy standbys, like La Scala (1012 Eastern Ave., 410-783-9209, lascaladining.com), are just what you need for a comforting Old World feast. There are no gimmicks, just big platefuls of tender shellfish, chicken, and veal, immersed in garlicky overtones and thick red sauces. On a recent night, we sought refuge from the cold with spicy shrimp fra diavolo ($22.95, pictured) and a succulent veal chop plumped with prosciutto and fontina ($34.95). The food is the lick-your-plate variety—from the tangy Caesar salad ($7.95) and fat, steamed mussels ($10.95) to the espresso ($3.95) and house-made, big-enough-to-share tiramisu ($8.95). Not that chef/owner Nino Germano has let time stand still. He recently expanded the dining space, added a 2,200-bottle wine room, and enticed patrons with an indoor bocce court—maybe the only one in Maryland. Hint: For the best view, ask for a terrace table.
Tried and true
Issue date: January, 2008