Visitors at MGM National Harbor will have a new southern Italian dining option this fall once Osteria Costa debuts into the space formerly occupied by short-lived restaurant, Marcus.
Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s eponymous National Harbor restaurant closed in January. It lasted about a year within the massive, tourist-friendly gambling complex.
MGM National Harbor executive chef Jason Johnston tells Eater he is looking forward to incorporating local seafood into the new restaurant currently scheduled to open in late September/early October. The placeholder Conservatory Cafe that is there now is scheduled to close in July.
Johnston says the original Costa, which debuted in late December at the Mirage in Las Vegas, serves upscale Italian food including Neapolitan-style pizza, seasonally inspired pastas, and seafood dishes. “One of the things that our guests have continually told us is that they want Italian food on property,” Johnston says of the feedback he’s received since the resort opened in late 2016. Restaurateur José Andrés has a high-end seafood restaurant called Fish there, while Top Chef alums Michael and Bryan Voltaggio put in an eponymous steakhouse.
According to Johnston, the mix of traditional comfort foods and lighter fare at Costa should appeal to most food lovers. “It’s not over-complicated. It’s the way Italian food should be,” he says, citing offerings ranging from lasagna and meatballs to grilled branzino as well as peppery, cheese-covered noodles. Johnston says he is working on getting seafood from the Chesapeake Bay into the mix, including rockfish. He’s also excited about the new brick pizza oven being built on site. Johnston says Costa will also showcase barrel-aged Negronis and lots of Italian wines by the glass.