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Aug 11, 2008 12:40 PM

Grano in Hampden (Baltimore)

I had to give a shout out to Grano, the new pasta bar on 36th Street in Hampden ... had a very very good dinner there this weekend. I normally do not like pasta but this was fantastic, had the special penne w/ brocolli rabe and sausage. Pasta perfectly cooked, very flavorful. I think they use Springfield Farms meats too. It is BYOB for now but the Wine Source is very close by. I highly recommend it and will definitely return.

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  1. I'm glad you had a good experience mine was inexcusably terrible. I want to like this place (BYOB, simple concept, inviting space, close proximity= all things I love) I really do and perhaps they are getting it together but here is my experience.

    Husband I went he had Bolgannese and I had the Olive oil garlic sauce (name escapes
    me). 1st I think it is odd that they do not make their own pasta or at least a local home made variety vs. the comercial Barilla but initailly I was willing to withhold judgement.

    2nd and major problem: I had the whole wheat linguine and it was not well cooked at all. crunchy At first bite I was wondering is this just firmer than I like/used to. Husband confirmed it was straight up undercooked. When the instructions are written on the side of the box the pasta comes out of that is just straight up sloppy.

    3rd we order garlic bread and what was served was cold baguette with a olive oil mixed with garlic paste. While flavor was fine that doesn't count as "Garlic bread" not in my book for sure.

    4th (and this one had the previous not occured I might have overlooked) The server while nice never informed us on the specials that evening which sounded great, we learned of them by overhearing a different server list them to another table after we had been served our food.

    So we informed the manager/owner? of the pasta problem he thanked us for the input stating that they precook all the other pasta and cook the WW on an individual basis- hardly an excuse. The garlic bread he explained was not their "normal" recipe again an odd response. And no compensation was offered I'm not going to request that but if offered it would have helped soften my bitterness.

    The sauces were fine, simple and tasty but inspite of everything they didn't impress us to do anything but stay home and cook it ourselves.
    Sorry but I was far from impressed. My experience was about 1month ago. If others have had fabulous meals since I'll consider giving it another go

    2 Replies
    1. re: poached

      The specials are listed on a large board by the entrance. I think good fresh sauce is more important than homemade pasta, so I love this place. Unpretentious and friendly, and also has luscious home made desserts.

      1. re: poached

        I really don't think that it's odd at all that they don't make their own pasta. How many places do you know of that make their own? Especially the dried, durum wheat variety, I really can't imaging any place making their own that isn't very high end (i.e., Komi might make their own). Fresh northern-style pasta, of course, is another thing entirely, but that isn't what it sounds like they do here.