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February 11, 2009

Alizee, the new restaurant where the Spice Company was


Other Reviewer Richard sent me a list of other forgotten restaurants, one of which was the Spice Company in the Colonnade. He's right, which is probably one of the reasons it closed last Wednesday. (His other nominations were Copra and Robert Oliver.)

Joe Chen, an owner of the Moulin de Paris French Bakery in Severna Park, will be opening a new restaurant there. ...

Chen has big plans for the Spice Company space. It will be a Euro-Asian restaurant, a "boutique bistro," and a wine bar. He plans a soft opening March 1, with a grand opening April 2.

Don't hold your breath; he says there's a lot of work to be done.

Alizee will have a sushi chef, and a specialty will be French-sushi fusion. (Hey, I just report this stuff.) Entrees will be priced from $18 to $65. When I asked what you would get for your $65, he said, "Something with foie gras."

What recession?

Alizee's problem will be the same as the Spice Company's, unless something changes: With no outdoor signage, it risks becoming another forgotten restaurant.

(John Makely/Sun photographer) 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 10:43 AM | | Comments (35)


Whoa, $65! That is nuts. Even for foie gras. I am psyching myself up for the $7 foie special at Corks on Monday.

Too bad -- I liked the Spice Company. Their $5 happy hour (for fancy martinis) on Thursdays was a great deal, and I loved the clubby look of the place. Guess I didn't go often enough.

Speaking of outrageous entree prices, BF and I ate at Shula's Steakhouse last week for our Valentines Day celebration. I ordered the Surf and Turf which said "market price". Silly me for not asking the price -- it was $94(!). Surf was 1/2 of a lobster (1/2 of a tail and 1 claw); turf was 8-oz filet mignon. Being a steak house, every thing else was ala carte. My entree only came with drawn butter and a lemon wedge. The price of the chef's table tasting menu with wine pairings at Charleston was less than the cost of my Shula's entree.


The City Paper says The Carlyle Club closed for renovations and is past the date they said they'd reopen.

As you likely know, The Carlyle Club and the Spice Company have the same owners. Do we need to worry about The Ambassador Dining Room now?

I have a number that is when the price becomes "outrageous". It isn't carved in stone because there are exceptions occassionally such as lobster. But, in general any entree over $30 in my mind has entered "overpriced" territory. And, if it's just the entree price with no sides then it has crossed into "outrageous". Therefore, jlk, your meal at Shula's was definitely outrageously priced to me.

I wonder if anyone else has the a certain number where they draw the line?

I don't have a certain dollar amount, but I bet I could figure out an algorithm based on my savings account balance.

We liked the Spice Company for dinner, but the last couple of times I was there for lunch the service was glacially slow. Some people have to get back to work within the hour, you know!

I also hope the Ambassador survives. We are especially fond of the Carlyle Club, so hope it reopens soon.

About 10 years ago, "we" (of that moment) were in San Francisco on Valentine's Day. When we walked up to the door of the nice-but-it-didn't-knock-me-out-from-the-sidewalk restaurant where we had reservations (and I'd tell you it's name if I could remember it!) there was a Special Valentine's Day menu in the front window. Salmon was $90. My heart almost stopped. With or without sides, don't know, don't care. He cancelled the reservation - I forget what excuse he gave and I suspect the restaurant couldn't have cared less why - and we walked down to a sandwich shop, laughing over how much a person would have to love salmon to pay that much for it.

My friend is part of the subcontracted crew working on the Carlisle reno. I will tell him to faux faster.

For what it's worth, I've been to Moulin de Paris in Severna Park (there's a sit-down restaurant attached to the bakery). It's been a couple of years, but it was very good. Lots of seafood, I think.

And their pastries were fantastic - best croissants in SP when I was in high school.

Then again, maybe "best croissant in Severna Park" isn't that big of a deal...

I don't know if this is a sign of longevity or not, but Joshua Hill is the Chef at Alizee.

This is a joke, right? EL

Shouldn't that be Joshau?

I got an email from Open Table inviting me to check out availability for Valentine's Day. Just out of curiosity, I checked the "most romantic" list to see if they had replaced the Spice Company on this list. They had--now at number 9--Alizee! Pretty neat trick for a restaurant that hasn't even opened yet. They also say it is ""downtown"--sorry, not on my map of Baltimore, it's not.

Dahlink, I've found that Open Table is more geographically challenged than I am when it comes to Baltimore. There is some place up by JHU that they list as being "downtown."

Nope. Not even close. I've walked from downtown to JHU, and it isn't a stroll in the park.

Oh SNAP! I looked up Alizee and found this site

The Examiner is using EL posts verbatim as their news source. How pathetic is that? Is that legal?

I think we can dispense with Open Table's romantic recommendations. I checked the web site and what Dahlink said is true. I guess it would be very romantic to take someone to a place that isn't open to the public.

Wow, that is lame...the Sun lawyer (they've got to have one left, to draw up the redundancy agreements, no?) could send them a DCMA takedown over that. The Examiner would probably claim fair use, since they do cite their source.

We could also publicly mock them everywhere we go, which might work better. I bet if we worked hard, we could drive them out of town by, oh, say, Sunday?

Yes, Lissa, the quondam Spice Company is one of those places by JHU. Also Carlyle Club and Brasserie Tatin--they are dropping like flies.

Will anyone miss the Examiner?

Ed Norris, for one, will miss the Examiner. I know I sure as hell won't miss dodging the guys on the corner downtown, and the idiots to who hold up traffic for a free paper.

I'll miss the Examiner, despite not reading it, because I don't think that a single-newspaper city is a healthy city. I grew up in a city with a righty afternoon paper and a mildly liberal morning paper. Not only could you tell a lot about someone by what paper they carried around, but you could occasionally buy the opposing paper to find out what your enemies were up to.

Competition is good for newspapers.

Back in the old days, when the Sun had the Evening Sun and the Morning Sun and there was the News American, we were almost a 3 paper town. Now barely one. What's happened to us?

That's an easy one. TV and the internet. EL

"That's an easy one. TV and the internet. EL "

And a growing population that can't or won't find the time to sit down and relax with a newspaper. Gotta have our news in short sound or print bites (or is that bytes?). I guess its an old fart thing, to sit and read the morning newspaper over breakfast, occasionally swapping tidbits with my DW as she reads The Baltimore Sun and I read The Washington Post, with Thursday forays into The Howard County Times and Sundays with The Baltimore Examiner at our bagel shop (at least until this weekend).

RiE, I salute my fellow news junkies. You will be amused by what happened at my gym the weekend before the Inauguration. Our instructor chats as we lift weights (partly to keep our minds off what we are doing) and she mentioned the Ravens' big game that day. Someone did not know that the Ravens were in the playoffs. So the instructor said, "You do know there is an Inauguration on Tuesday, right?" Heads nodded. And then she said "And you know about the plane that landed on the Hudson and everyone survived?" Some people had not heard about this. A pause--and then a voice from the back of the room asked "What airline?"

I read the newspaper everyday. The problem is I read it on-line and I read it for free.

Somehow the newspapers need to find a way to make money off the internet. There is strong demand for the stories newspapers produce, but people just don't want to pay for it. on-line subscriptions never got off the ground, and on-line ads produce a fraction of the revenue of print ads.

At least when I read the hard copy edition I don't have some ad start running before they'll let me look at the article. Some have tried requiring subscriptions for on-line access. Most have failed. The Wall Street Journal, I think, still requires a subscription; The New York Times lets you look at the main news for free, but if you want some of the features and puzzles you have to pay.

RiE, actually once you 'register' (like the Sun) the Times now is free.

At least when I read the hard copy edition I don't have some ad start running before they'll let me look at the article.

The hard copy Sun has been having the paper equivalent of pop-up ads for awhile now. Just this morning the front section required disassembly before reading.

Pop-up ads can be blocked. There are ways of blocking other ads, too. And of breaking the pay wall for the Wall St. Journal and others.

Personally, I block pop-ups. I block ads that move. I don't block static ads. I will wiggle around the pay wall for no more than one article a month.

Everyone has to find their own comfort level. The papers need to make a living, but there is a line between advertising and annoying. A very thin one, sometimes.

I haven't bought a Sunday Sun in a few years. For many years I used to buy it primarily for the (NYT) crossword (because the Sun was cheaper than the actual NYT). I always felt sad that so much paper was wasted. It took me less than a half an hour to read anything interesting. Since we're all so concerned about being "green" for he moment, how do we reconcile that with the the bloated advertising monster that is the Sun, almost any paper? We PAY for the Sun and it is mostly ads. At least online ads don't waste paper.

I think we need to stop being nostalgic and consider what it is we really want.

All papers should learn from the International Herald Tribune, the only truly worthwhile daily publication in the English-speaking world (or Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, or Italian as far as I know).

Nostalgia is prejudice against the future.
-- Umberto Swarm

Popup ads? How is this an issue in tihs century? Tell your browser to turn them off. Even IE does this easily.

You can even replace ALL ads in Firefox and Opera with a simple plug-in. You can replace them with art. Art.

Happiness is just a few plug-ins away.

Does anybody know how to make xpi files work in Opera? It's supposed to be possible but I can't figure out how.

Cool space saver: get rid of the stupid Windows START button with:

OMG--Umberto Swarm--wasn't he character in a Nabokov novel?

Once upon a time, I could spend most of every Sunday chugging mass quantities of coffee while reading the Sunday Sun, NYTimes, and WaPo. The addition of a dog to the household put a kibosh on that weekly ritual -- he couldn't conceive of newsprint as anything but training material, even while I was trying to read it.
Meanwhile, Owl Meat, the IHT may have been something once, but nowadays it's little more than warmed-over NYTimes reprints.

Back when the Orioles were good and I was in Scotland in the early 80s, I followed their progress all season in the IHT (and the Stars and Stripes) and in their last series against Milwaukee. They came up short against the Brewers. Maybe they were waiting for me to come home when they won it all.

The IHT is everything a daily paper for today should be: concise, well-written and interesting. Even baseball is intersting in the IHT.

Once, about 20 years ago, my father had a ruptured aneurysm from which he survived. The surgery which was very touch and go from the beginning was about 5 hours or longer. My aunt, my sister and I split a Sunday NY Times in the waiting room and never did finish reading all of it. That's a paper that's a whole day event (at least).

Has anyone actually eaten at Alizee??

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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