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Supano's Steakhouse, 110 Water Street in Little Italy

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I rarely post in the Baltimore section, but I was surprised not to see Supano's with a write-up. It's a family-owned Rat Pack-themed Italian restuarant with gorgeous woodwork all over the interior, and pictures of Frankie and Dino and all of their buddies festooning the walls. A large projection screen in one corner dominates the dining room, with videos of Sinatra's concert events running non-stop. The menu also announces "Best Italian Restaurant in Baltimore" and "Best Steakhouse in Baltimore" by various sources, as well as many dishes such as "World's Best Eggplant Parmigiana" and "Baltimore's Best (this or that)"....superlatives aside, this is a restaurant with incredible decor and very good food.

I had the shrimp cocktail and the "World's Best" Eggplant Parmigiana. The shrimp cocktail was pretty good, although not the "best" I've had. The eggplant was worthy of superlatives, but perhaps not "World's Best"....nonetheless, I would most definitely order that dish again.

As you can imagine, the steaks and chops are also the stars of the show, and the pasta and other Italian selections look like they're from a competent kitchen. There's a whole lot of menu to be sampled here, and I will do my best every time I visit Baltimore.

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From the Baltimore Sun weblog in 2010:  "They had to change the name after original owners Frank and Nazz Velleggia successfully sued the new owner after the Little Italy location was abandoned and he slapped the name on the vacant former Water Street Exchange." 

I know Vellegia's dating back to my first encounter with Little Italy in 1971 or '72.  It was always considered one of little Italy's best-forty years ago-although Maria's 300 was my favorite.  FWIW I have both restaurant's menus from then and Maria's promoted that, in the '20's, it was the restaurant of choice of Al Capone when he was in Baltimore.

Anyway,  Vellegia's signature dish was Saltimbocca.  BUT, that was forty years ago and a different location and different owners.  I can't find either a Baltimore Sun or Baltimore Magazine review of this "new" place and I'm not familiar with any of the sources of their awards.

For serious Italian American I would go to Chef Vola's in Atlantic City.

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There is a Supano's on Light Street, about a block and a half from the Convention Center, and it's quite an oasis far from the madding (maddening?) crowd all heading down to Inner Harbor restaurants at break time. Had two lunches there this week: lasagna one day and veal parmigiana day 2. Lasagna hit the spot, my low expectation spot. Not bad. My friend had penne with marinara sauce and meatballs both days. He was satisfied.

Nothing fancy. It's a bar, really, with a projector screen showing a Frank Sinatra TV special with guest stars The 5th Dimension and Diahann Carroll. Wouldn't you like to fly in my beautiful balloon? Could have used a good Joe Piscopo parody of Frank right then, but hey! Made for a history/nostalgia lesson.

Also on menu: pizza, burgers, subs. Wish I had tried. Looked like locals in there for lunch, but quiet.

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