Atlas Restaurant Group is certainly living up to its name these days, taking Harbor East diners on a trip around the world with the Mediterranean cuisine at Ouzo Bay, Japanese fusion fare at Azumi, and East Coast seafood specialties at Loch Bar. And, in keeping with the international theme, the restaurant group’s latest concept landing in the neighborhood explores the flavors of Italy.
Though the new restaurant, Tagliata—whose name refers to the Italian term for cutting or slicing meat—doesn’t officially begin accepting reservations until August 7, we got the chance to preview the space, as well as its neighboring speakeasy concept The Elk Room, at a media event last weekend.
Tagliata and The Elk Room take over the buildings that previously housed Fleet Street Kitchen and Ten Ten American Bistro, respectively. Earlier this year, Atlas owner Alex Smith announced the acquisition of the properties from Bagby Restaurant Group—which just so happens to be owned by his uncle, David Smith. Since then, the two spaces have become nearly unrecognizable from their previous inhabitants.
With the help of local interior designer Patrick Sutton—whose resume includes other Atlas projects as well as the lavish Sagamore Pendry Hotel—Tagliata boasts an open floorplan with gray accents, marble bar tops, modern Edison-bulb lighting, and its own piano bar on the lower level.
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Justin Carr, formerly of Fleet Street Kitchen, maintains his post behind the bar at Tagliata, pouring from the restaurant’s 1,000-bottle wine list and shaking up signature cocktails. We enjoyed summery sips including a peach Bellini with prosecco and Grand Marnier, and the “Figaro,” combining rum with lime, Carpano Antica vermouth, and Italian amaro.
The drinks are a nice accompaniment to the menu by executive chef partner Julian Marucci, who brings his knowledge of Italian cuisine from his previous position heading up the kitchen at Cinghiale around the corner.
Noteworthy bites include charcuterie (with salumi fittingly cured at Bagby Restaurant Group’s Cunningham Farms in Cockeysville), salmon crudo with compressed honeydew and Greek yogurt, and parmigiana reggiano cheese from a wheel aged for 24 months. Marucci will also focus on house-made pastas (we particularly enjoyed the squid ink campanelle with blue crab, breadcrumbs, and sea urchin cream sauce) and cuts of meat ranging from ribeye to New York strip.
Sutton also works his magic at the neighboring Elk Room, Atlas’ take on an early-20th century speakeasy that sits behind a black door authentically equipped with its own peephole. The space not only encompasses the former Ten Ten building, but also connects to a members-only cigar bar in the property that once housed Vino Rosina and Oliver Speck’s on South Exeter Street.
Incorporating elements such as dangling crystal chandeliers, plush banquettes, vintage bookcases, and an antique grandfather clock, the dimly lit cocktail bar features nightly live jazz music and its own menu of snacks like rabbit corndogs and wild boar nachos.
Behind the bar (and under the antlers of a huge taxidermy elk), former Ten Ten bartender Rob Vogel is now joined by Andrew Nichols, previously of Sandlot, and Shaun Stewart, who formerly manned the bar at Gunther & Co. in Brewers Hill. The trio got playful with absinthe and smoke, mixing up house cocktails like the “Fool’s Gold” (bourbon, honey, lemon, and cherries) and a fruity punch with apple brandy, cognac, and Absolut.
Though both spaces exude plenty of charm, perhaps the most alluring aspect of Atlas’ new project is the shared courtyard that connects the two concepts.
In a statement released earlier this year, Smith said that revamping the courtyard was going to be a top priority throughout the renovation. “We want it to be one of the most beautiful outdoor spaces in the city,” he said. Equipped with strung lights, candle-lit tables, comfy couches, and plenty of greenery, we think it's safe to say that the new summer social spot accomplishes that mission.