The old mills along the Jones Falls in the Woodberry/Hampden area have gone through a great deal of renovation recently, especially as new restaurants. Of course, Woodberry Kitchen is the most well known, but Birroteca has been pulling in big business for several years and La Cuchara is a new hotspot in this desirable section of town. In January 2016, Cosima will open its doors in Mill No. 1 serving refined Italian cuisine in a space that combines the rustic elements of its mill past with ultra modern decor and a lovely view of the Jones Falls.
Cosima is the brainchild of Donna Crivello of Donna's in the Village of Cross Keys and Donna's Cafe, and her partners, Alan Hirsh and Judith Golding. The cuisine is Southern Italian, but framed in the format of many New American restaurants, offering appetizers to share, pasta, pizza from their wood-fired brick oven, and entrees that are a bit lighter than your traditional red sauce establishments. The Minx and I were recently given a preview of some of the dishes that will be offered.
We started the evening with a pair of cocktails using various brands of amaro, an Italian liqueur that will be featured prominently on the restaurant's specialty cocktail menu. The word amaro means "bitter" in Italian; each brand has its own level of bitterness, which was balanced by other elements in the cocktails, like prosecco. Cosima will also offer a wine list comprised of wines made exclusively in Southern Italy.
The sharing plates will include a crudo like the swordfish variety we sampled. The light starter featured pickled fennel and a vinaigrette for the right touch of acid.
The brick walls of the old mill provide a perfect home for their newly built wood-fired oven. From this oven will come a variety of pizzas, like the Sfincione Sicilian pizza with eggpant, Italian sausage, and smoked mozzarella. I've always maintained that I'm not a fan of eggplant, but this pizza has me thinking twice. The menu will also feature thin-crust pizzas.
When I first arrived at the preview, Donna was just bringing out the polpetti, or momma's meatballs, and asked if I wanted to be the first to try them. I would never turn down meatballs, so I eagerly said yes. I was a little disappointed when she only put two on the plate rather than allowing me to eat the whole skillet. My disappointment was allayed somewhat by the incredible flavor. Redolent of garlic and cumin and slightly firm (the way I like them), they were enhanced by the tangy ragu and house-made ricotta.
The restaurant was still a work in progress when we visited, so we're eager to revisit Cosima when it opens to see how the finished product and sample more of the intriguing cuisine. When the weather gets warmer, I'm sure the outdoor seating along the Falls will be wonderful to experience.
3000 Falls Road, Mill No. 1
Baltimore, MD 21211
Posted on Minxeats.com.