Hot Spots: Station North Italian

Hot Spots: Station North Italian

By Brian Michael Lawrence

The space at 1709 North Charles has seen some changes over the years. Originally a barroom that was a part of the storied old Chesapeake restaurant, it more recently housed the French-inspired Colette and then the Italian-inspired Bottega. Now it has been unveiled as Orto, a charming bistro featuring Northern Italian cooking with a focus on vegetable-based dishes.

In fact, “orto” translates to “garden” in Italian. It’s the brainchild of owner Elan Kotz, one of the original partners in The Food Market when it opened in Hampden in 2012. Helming the kitchen is chef Stefano Porcile, formerly of Colette and Chez Hugo.
The space has been given a bit of a facelift, with some lighter colors used on the walls and the alcove area up front now better integrated into the overall dining space with additional table seating and mirrors hanging from the walls.
The bar has also gotten a makeover, with a lower bar height and white marble top.
The food menu offers several scrumptious salads and choices for appetizers. We chose a delicate bibb lettuce salad…
…and burratta-topped flatbread.
The dinner menu offers lots of pasta options, like ricotta cavatelli, butternut squash agnolotti, ravioli pomodoro, pappardelle with beef shank and charred kale, and rigatoni with eggplant and tomato. More substantial dishes include chicken Milanese, suckling pig, seared scallops, polenta with vegetable ragu, grilled bronzino, and braised beef.
Orto is a solid addition to the neighborhood’s dining options, and always seems to have a lively crowd enjoying the room and the cuisine.
{1709 North Charles Street, Station North}
Brian Michael Lawrence

Brian Michael Lawrence is one of THE Baltimore style experts. After all, he was the longtime editor-in-chief at STYLE Magazine, which specialized in covering everything stylish around the Baltimore area. Brian also served as editorial director for the digital division at Sinclair Broadcasting, and creative director at Blue Sky Design. Currently, he oversees communications & marketing for the department of Tourism, Film & the Arts at Maryland’s Commerce Department.  In his bi-weekly column, you’ll get to see what cool hotspots are piquing the interest of this Baltimore style maven and why - whether it's the fabulous food, cool cocktails or elegant environs.