Taste Mediterranean Grille in the old Cafe Troia space quietly opened last week. After stopping by last night, I don’t expect it to be quiet for long.
Chef/owner Luigi Palumbo has transformed the rooms in the street level of the Penthouse building on West Allegheny Avenue into his own vision: violet runners on bare tables, tile flooring, burnt-orange-shaded walls in the main dining room, and a beautiful, cozy wine room that will eventually accommodate diners.
I wasn’t reviewing the restaurant. I just sat at the cute bar with a friend, where we were well taken care of by the personable bartender, Katherine. The wine list is mostly Italian, though there are several other choices.
We also nibbled on some appetizers. I can already recommend the fish soufflé starter. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but a waiter told me that it is already one of their most popular selections. It’s a small, airy mound redolent of sweet sea bass (this night) in an onion herb sauce.
Just as appealing was the eggplant parmigiana with scabbard fish. We were told this is a Mediterranean fish similar to a swordfish but smaller and thinner like a belt. Whatever its pedigree, the dish was delicious with olive oil and fresh tomatoes.
This Taste has no connection to the former taste restaurant near Belvedere Square (now Crush). The Towson restaurant is named for the tasting menus that it offers. You’ll also find freshly made pastas and risotto, fish, and meat dishes on the menu.
Will this be competition for Cafe Troia, which moved across the street into an expanded space? Maybe. But another Taste waiter we talked to compared it to Little Italy, where many restaurants offer the same cuisine.
I’ll do a full review of the restaurant in the magazine after it has been up and running for a few more weeks. But it looks like they already have their act together.