Thursday, May 04, 2006

Vin by Chef Paternotte: Soon to Open Towson, MD Hotspot

Vin opens May 12 at One East Joppa Road in the southeast corner of the former Hutzler's complex. More than a week before the opening, at least 40 black-clad employees were busily training. Vin is the brain child of Baltimore County native Christopher Paternotte, who recently spent four years as executive chef at Kali's Court in Fells Point after graduating first from Randolph-Macon College and thereafter the French Culinary Institute in New York.

Vin is contemporary sleek. A long bar with shiny red upholstered chairs lines the west wall of a large dining area largely defined by similarly upholstered banquettes. Ultra-modern red and white red lighting fixtures hang from yellow rectangular clouds suspended from the industrial ceiling. The walls are birch. Don't expect the digital screens above the bar to be about television. Think silent black and white movies or colorful evolutions of flowers and bubbles. In nice weather, patrons may enjoy a drink and lite fare outside on an enclosed deck with its own bar. Vin will be open seven days for lunch and dinner. Live jazz is planned for Wednesday nights after ten. Free valet parking will be available.

Chef Paternotte's vision is to "redefine fine dining by taking the stuffiness out of it." Needless to say, at Vin, wine and food are aligned, with plenty fun and fancy cocktails to boot. Ultimately, it's all about the cuisine, call it "high-end new American comfort food." That means everything from meatloaf to foie gras, to whole roasted fish.

Vin is likely to evolve very interestingly. Particularly significant is the role of Chef Paternotte's partner, the Cordish Company. Cordish is known to be interested in a restaurant concept worthy of a roll-out. Paternotte is thinking the same way. Asked where he'd like to be fifteen or twenty years hence, his answer: "I want to own and operate several different restaurants---same concept or different concepts---all across the country if I can."