Tom Sietsema reviews the Italian fare at Prince George's Bond 45
149 Waterfront St., Oxon Hill. 301-839-1445. bond45.com.
Open: 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Major credit cards. Valet parking at dinner $10. Parking lot nearby.
Prices: Lunch appetizers $8-$25, entrees $14-$48; dinner appetizers $6-$25, entrees $28-$85.
Sound check: 73 decibels/Must speak with raised voice.
There's no red carpet at Bond 45 in National Harbor. It just feels that way.
The sense that you're in the home of an especially exuberant host sometimes begins at the long, stained-oak bar, where mixologists give arrivals a verbal salute. Other times, the professional embrace commences with a dapper greeter who ushers diners through the middle of an open kitchen to their table in one of several handsome rooms graced with antique tiles, art-deco-style light fixtures and wine-colored leather banquettes.
Smart start: To the right of the path, patrons catch steaks and fish coming off the heat. To the left, a rainbow of vegetable salads and charcuterie is on display behind glass. Even before you see a menu, you're hankering for something grilled and something green.
You look up from your perch to see Ms. or Mr. Congeniality, who explains the Italian menu. The descriptions make everything sound appealing; even when a server up-sells some cheese, you can't fault the delivery. (And as it happens, the house-made burrata, priced $4 higher than the $8 mozzarella we first considered, is buttery and decadent.) The guide's departure is followed by the delivery of the first of several treats: freshly baked and slightly cheesy popovers.