Only roughly a month after Flamant, a popular Belgian bistro of six years, closed in West Annapolis, a new restaurant has taken over its space.
InGrano Restaurant and Events, a fine-dining eatery with chef Adam Pusateri at the helm of its euro-chic menu, had its opening night this month.
The InGrano name — which means “against the grain” in Latin — is already associated with tasty treats because Pusateri, a native Annapolitan, has been chef/owner of InGrano Bistro Bakery on Harry S. Truman Parkway since 2020. There, he had plentiful opportunities to experiment with the possibility of a fine-dining restaurant less than five miles down the road.
During after hours, the InGrano Bistro held supper clubs and wine dinners that repeatedly sold out, energizing the prospects for a future location with a further range of chef-created menus.
Pusateri, who attended the Culinary Institute of America and worked in restaurants in Las Vegas, aims to do just that at his new venture. In a Facebook post in early January, the InGrano team wrote, “the idea behind this new restaurant is to take the essence of InGrano — innovative dishes, a commitment to excellence, and connection to the local farms and community — and place it at the forefront of an elevated global dinner experience” that draws “influence from Italy, Japan, Spain, Greece, and more.”
The new digs are at 17 Annapolis Street, in what was once a quaint residential neighborhood just northeast of the Naval Academy stadium, now lined with specialty stores and coffee shops.
Annapolis foodies are sure to be excited about this boutique-style restaurant. Diners can try items such as the yellowfin cannoli, teasingly likened to a crunchy tuna roll with a hint of spicy mustard, lobster rolls with a sweet and spicy twist, and other enticing starter plates.
If you are looking for “signature dishes,” there are two options here: one from land and one from the sea. An impressive Wagyu short-rib Wellington with mushroom duxelles and fork-tender beef is beautifully bundled inside a crisp, golden-brown pastry along with a drizzle of an apple brandy glaze. For those who favor fish, large sea scallops sit atop a bed of chive-potato puree finished with crispy parsnips.
Pusateri also uses his classically trained artful techniques to elevate what may appear to be traditional dishes, such as the sweet potato-stuffed pappardelle with garlic flower, and farro risotto transformed with truffles and wild mushrooms.
Given the chef’s bakery background, it would be wise to count on memorable desserts such as the deconstructed yuzu cheesecake and the flourless chocolate cake.
In terms of events and capacity, general manager John Buda, who also formerly managed Flamant, told The Baltimore Banner that InGrano offers two venues: a sunny all-season enclosed patio with high ceilings and lots of windows that seats gatherings up to 80 for daytime business events, birthdays or bridal and baby showers. For those looking for a more intimate evening setting, the restaurant has a private dining room that comfortably accommodates eight. If you’re looking for something more in between, the Bistro Bakery, an already well-established event venue, can be reserved for informal gatherings of up to 40.
And, if you’re worried about losing what Flamant left behind, don’t fret. Many of the prior eatery’s staff members, including Buda, are working at the new restaurant.
Robin Daumit is an Annapolis-based freelancer who has appeared on several Food Network competitions, along with PBS’ “The Great American Recipe,” and the content creator behind @WhiskandDine.