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Facci owners open Pisco, a Peruvian restaurant, in Elkridge

The operators of Facci, a casual Italian restaurant with locations in Laurel and Ellicott City, have opened a third restaurant in Howard County.

But the new restaurant is not Italian — Pisco is Peruvian.

And where there's Peruvian cuisine, ceviche is sure to be found. Pisco even has a "ceviche bar," where diners can watch chefs make 10 different fresh preparations of the marinated seafood dish.

Also on Pisco's menu are Peruvian classics like charbroiled chicken; lomo saltado, a stir-fried dish with marinated strips of sirloin, served with French fries and white rice; picante de mariscos, a seafood dish in spicy cream sauce; and anticuchos de corazon o pollo, which are skewered beef hearts marinated in aji panca, a Peruvian red pepper.

"Not everyone can do anticuchos right," said Gino Palma, who refers to himself as the creator of Pisco. "It's a hard dish to do."

Palma is Italian, but his wife, Pilar, is Peruvian, as is their business partner at Pisco, Francisco Acevedo.

"We've been married for 14 years, and we've been together for 18 years. We have always wanted to do this," Palma said. "I've learned more and more about Peruvian cuisine. The good thing about Peruvian food is that it's similar to something that American people will eat every day."

Some of Pisco's cuisine might sound unfamiliar, Palma said, but many dishes have more familiar counterparts in Spanish and Italian cuisine, both of which were major influences on that of Peru.

The conchitas a la Parmesana, one of Palma's favorite dishes, are simply scallops in the shell baked in butter and covered with Parmesan cheese. Camarones al Pisco are just jumbo shrimp in butter sauce.

Other dishes have Japanese and Chinese influences, but what distinguishes Peruvian food, Palma said, is the country's climate and topography. "Costa, sierra, serva — water, desert, forest. There are 32 types of climate in the world, and 28 of them are in Peru."

The diverse climate creates abundance, Palma said. "There are 55 varieties of corn and 3,000 types of potatoes grown in Peru."

The restaurant's name comes from pisco, the strong Peruvian spirit made, as is grappa, from pomace, which is the stuff that remains — skin, pulp, seeds and stems — after grapes have been pressed for juice.

In spite of its name, Pisco does not have a liquor license, although Palma is trying to get one. For now, the restaurant operates as a BYOB.

Pisco, open daily for lunch and dinner, is at 6630 Marie Curie Drive in Elkridge. For information call 410-312-4888 or go to piscorestaurante.com.

In brief

A roundup of other recent news from the Baltimore Diner blog:

•Breathe Bookstore and Cafe (810 W. 36th St. 410-235-7323, breathebooks.com) is closing. The Hampden business will remain open until late September or early October, its owner says, until she can find someone to take over her lease.

Owner Susan Weis-Bohlen ran Breathe as a bookstore and meeting center for about nine years before adding a vegetarian cafe operation last June.

"I need to get back to my roots," said Weis-Bohlen, who acknowledged that running a full-time cafe had become a distraction from her teaching and book business. She is relocating her cooking classes to her Reisterstown home and is looking for a storefront near her home for her book business.

•Timothy Dyson has left Bluegrass in South Baltimore, where he had been the executive chef for just about two years, to join the team at Dooby's (802 N. Charles St., 410-702-5144, doobyscoffee.com) in Mount Vernon.

Dyson's first official day as Dooby's executive chef was Aug. 12.

A veteran of Kali's Court and the Peabody Court Hotel, Dyson will be launching a new dinner menu at Dooby's on Thursday. The menu will have new sections of Asian-American bar bites, comfort food and seasonal entrees — things like chicken curry summer rolls, meatballs banh mi and a vegan-friendly quinoa bibim bowl.

•The owner of Rye is set to open a similar version of the casually lush Fells Point craft-cocktail lounge in Federal Hill. Ryan Perlberg said Bookmakers Cocktail Club will open in early September in the space that was the longtime home of karaoke destination Nevins Cross Street Station.

For Perlberg, Bookmakers is his first foray into Federal Hill. In addition to Rye, he operates two neighboring businesses in the 800 block of South Broadway, the popular hot dog spot Stuggy's and the Latin cantina Willow.

Keep up to date on local dining news at baltimoresun.com/diner.

richard.gorelick@baltsun.com

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