Derrick Vaughan, owner of The Corner Bistro & Wine Bar in Ridgely’s Delight, has a grand idea. He wants to rename the stretch from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Harbor East the “Wine’Tastic Mile”—inspired by Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. He’s produced bumper stickers and has convinced the city to install a Wine’Tastic Mile street sign at the corner of MLK and Pratt Street to promote the bars and restaurants along the route (even turning at President Street to include the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore and Cinghiale). While Vaughan, a former consultant for Fila (a sportswear manufacturing company) waits for other restaurants to jump on board, he and his brother Wesley, who’s worked at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Baltimore, are operating an unpretentious place of their own.
The wine list is nicely edited and affordable with a range of options from California, Europe, and South America. Beer drinkers will find choices like Heineken, Guinness, Resurrection, and Sierra Nevada.
Food offerings are mostly straightforward and geared to a neighborhood clientele. On the printed menu, you’ll find a list of ciabattas (a crab-cake “Baltimorean,” “Vegepolean” with sliced vegetables, and even a “Turducken” with three types of fowl and Havarti cheese), along with a burger and a handful of salads.
Main courses are limited to a few nightly specials. One, a tender slab of salmon, was served on a lattice of white asparagus and topped with crabmeat and a rich herb-butter sauce. Seared scallops came with ricotta-mozzarella ravioli in a creamy sauce, peppered with flecks of parsley.
If you’re really hungry, try the three robust and juicy beef sliders on grill-crisped buns or the crab trio with a mini crab cake, a ramekin of crab dip, and crab salad.
While many restaurants offer midweek wine specials, Vaughan cuts bottle prices in half on Saturdays when the nearby businesses and University of Maryland graduate schools are quiet, and neighbors, I guess, are off to more happening neighborhoods. Clearly, his plan is to lure them all back with his Wine’Tastic idea.
›› The Corner Bistro & Wine Bar, 213 Penn St., 410-727-1155. Hours: Lunch, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tues.-Fri.; dinner, 5-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs.; 5-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 5-9 p.m. Sun. Bar is open until 1 a.m. seven days a week. Appetizers: $3.50-9.95; entrees: $18.95-26.95; desserts: $5.95-7.95.