Bottega, a just-opened restaurant in Charles North, is not one of your bigger restaurants.
"We know that we are tiny," is how owner Adrien Aeschliman describes the new BYOB. He said his goal with Bottega was to create "a place I would want next door to my home."
Bottega seats about 15 comfortably, and mostly at a communal dining table. On its first official Friday night of operation, the restaurant was full, for the most part, with industry types and other well-wishers.
Bottega has done little in the way of publicity, but it does have a handsome minimalist website and well-maintained Facebook page, with photographs documenting the frequently, if not daily, changing lineup on Bottega's chalkboard menu.
The fare at Bottega, Aeschliman says, is inspired by the Tuscan tradition of finding inspiration in the availability of fresh and seasonal ingredients. Aeschliman, who spent large parts of childhood in Switzerland and Italy, where his parents were educators, also put in some time working at a trattoria named Da Giorgione in the Mugello valley, just north of Florence.
Prices are a la carte but the idea is to eat Italian style: an antipasti course, a serving of fresh pasta, a "secondi' course built around meat or a hearty vegetable and a small sweet.
A recent menu included first courses of root and kale soup, Roma tomato and butter bean salad with a lovage dressing and Scarlet Frill (a Japanese mustard green) with smoked goose. A small pasta course might be sweet potato leaf malfatti or acorn squash tortelli. Main courses are things like lemon turkey with roast pork shoulder or delicata squash. Recent sweets have included panna cotta with chestnut honey and black raspberry ice cream from Trickling Springs Creamery.
Aeschliman, who will be running the front of the house at Bottega, has brought on Sandy Smith as the restaurant's chef. Smith, who is Aeschliman's brother-in-law, interned at Woodberry Kitchen and worked at Flour, Hodge's and the Bonbon Pastry Cafe in Cleveland before returning to Baltimore.
Aeschliman said he had been trying to open a place in Brooklyn, N.Y.
"My wife went to Johns Hopkins Nursing School," Aeschliman said. "I visited often and quickly decided Baltimore was a better place to live and start a business and family."
Bottega is open for dinner Wednesday though Saturday. Beginning Oct. 2, the restaurant will be open for lunch Wednesday through Saturday and for brunch on Sunday.
Bottega is at 1729 Maryland Ave. For information call 443-708-5709 or visit bottega1729.com. The restaurant is accepting reservations.
This post has been edited to update the contact number for Bottega.