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March 10, 2009

Top 10 Restaurants I'm Looking Forward to Reviewing

BrianVoltaggio.jpgLast week someone commented that I always use the same restaurants in my Top 10 lists. I was incensed because I try so hard for variety. But there's no getting around the fact that one reason good restaurants are good is that they do a lot of things well.

So this week I decided to do a Top 10 list that is made up of first-timers. None of these places has been on a Top 10 list before. I thought it would be useful to those of you who like to try new restaurants -- a list of the most promising restaurants that have opened up recently or are soon to open, and why they may be worth a visit.

Of course, I'm not saying when I'll get around to reviewing them.

Here's my list in alphabetical order: ...

* Alizee in Homewood. The boutique bistro and wine bar opened recently where the Spice Company used to be in the Inn at the Colonnade. Specialties include fushi, fusion sushi.

* Cuadrado on North Avenue.The owner of Joe Squared Pizza is planning to open a barbacoa (Mexican barbecue) with meats slow-cooked in banana and agave leaves. It will be across the street from his first place. With major renovations underway, Joe Edwardsen is looking at a fall opening.

* La Famiglia in Homewood. The northern Italian restaurant opened where Brasserie Tatin was. The owner and many of the staff came from the now-closed Boccaccio in Little Italy. Expect the same sort of food at slightly lower prices.

* Hell Point Seafood in Annapolis. Well-known D.C. restaurateur Robert Kinkead is opening a neighborhood seafood place where Phillips' was on the dock. Scheduled to open next month, Hell Point will be more casual than his Washington restaurant, Kinkead's.

* South American Grill in Cockeysville. Fans of Brazilian food will find authentic dishes here. (The owner's wife is Brazilian, and the two own another restaurant in Brazil.) The South American Grill is small, casual, BYOB and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

* Sullivan's Steakhouse in the Inner Harbor. The latest entry in the steakhouse sweepstakes. Sometimes you just need a big hunk o' beef.

* Talara in Harbor East. This Nuevo Latin tapas bar will specialize in ceviche and have a lively bar scene. It's part of a regional group of restaurants. The opening date is set for late April or early May.

* Taverna Corvino in Federal Hill. What goes around, comes around. The Juniors space is an Italian restaurant again (when it first opened, it was Vespa) with Christopher Paternotte, formerly of Vin in Towson, as the chef. The place never really closed after it was sold; the new owners kept it open as a "test kitchen."

* Ullswater in Riverside. The owner of the Bicycle is planning to open an Italian restaurant in the spot where Soigne and the Sly Fox Pub were. There will be some New American dishes as well. No firm date yet, but when I ate at the Bicycle plans seemed to still be coming along nicely.

* Volt in Frederick. I've been meaning to get to this relative newcomer, but it's such a hike I've put it off till better weather. The food is high-end Modern American. It's back on my radar now that the James Beard Foundation has named it a semifinalist for this year's Best New Restaurant award.

(Photo of Brian Voltaggio, Volt chef, by Andre F. Chung/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 5:45 AM | | Comments (27)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


Let me start ....

What about Blah Blah?

What about Wah Wah?

You're absolutely right. However, I'm not as dumb as I look. I can only do this Top 10 during a recession when so few new restaurants are opening there are only a few more than 10, and many of the new ones will be reviewed by Richard anyway. EL

The Mr and I went to Alizee last Friday. While the restaurant is still working it out (I'd wait a month or so before reviewing, EL), and the menu is kind of all over the place, the food was very good. The place is still looking for an identity - part Polo Grill, part sushi bar - but there's an earnest attempt being made to build something dependably good and fun. The chef is from New Orleans so I think we can expect some NOLA influences as they get themselves established. My BLT risotto was great, despite what you might think just hearing its name!!!

Umm . . . not to make too fine of a point, but the old Soigne/Sly Fox Pub is not in Locust Point. That's Riverside Park or, the more generic, South Baltimore. Locust Point is everything east of Lawrence Street.

OK, thanks. Faithful readers know I'm terrible with neighborhood boundaries. EL

I'm hoping that Cuadrado corners the untapped market with the Mexican White Cheese Dip!

BMS - I thought Joshau Hill was from Tennessee...? Tennessee is to New Orleans as Country is to Jazz.

My wife and I went to Volt on New Year's Eve. I you like a restaurant that is expensive and when you leave you are hungry, this is the place for you.

The food, the miniscule amount, is presented artfully. If I wanted art, I would go to a gallery. If I wanted to be fed, I would go some place else.

Know this is a long shot, but the thumbnail picture on the main Sun page that brought me here today was a photo of a quite delicious-looking salmon and couscous dish (maybe?). Any leads on where that came from? Looked yummy.

On topic, Talara looks good. Is it going to be similar to Jaleo in Bethesda/DC? I hope so! :)

I checked, and the photo is from Alizee. It's sesame-crusted sea bass with pineapple ginger sticky rice. EL

I feel you Stuart.

My friend was telling me about a place in the city that has a great new sandwich: hand-cut North Pacific cod lightly panko breaded and served on a fresh Kaiser roll. I wish I could remember the name of the place....

At this point, Hell's Point is a publicist's delusional figment. Legal notice on the door this past Sunday says next hearing for extensive reconstruction list is 3/20, the place is completely actionless, dark and without a hint of work start. Neighboring merchants express doubt when asked about chances for opening soon, saying there are "city issues". Since Mr. Kinkhead has some TD-like tendencies and history, this one needs a boulder of rock salt.

I'm sorry to hear that. But then we doubted Sam, and look where it got us. :-) EL

Yay! Thanks, EL! I'm going to have to add that to my list to review as well, especially because the description is better than my lame attempt at describing it! :)

OMG II, you are bad maaaaan. Unfortunately, I know the place. >:)

Canton Kate must be talking about Wendy's

To Owl Meat,
I think you mean Wendy's. I saw the tv commercial last night. Only kidding, I think!

If Talara is not opening until late April or early May, how do you know it will have a lively bar scene???

Excellent point. That's what they're going for, and it sounds like they made it happen in their other restaurant, Seviche. But I should have included a disclaimer saying this is just what the PR people and others who have a vested interest in these restaurants have told me. EL

Metromix reviewed La Famiglia early this month. Here's the link.

Are you going to review Mekong Delta at Saratoga & Liberty?

Richard is. EL

Doug, I saw a Sun photographer taking pictures there last week.

How did you know he was a Sun photographer? Are they easily identifiable (fedora with Press card stuck in the band?) or have you seen him at other times?

A photograph is always invisible, it is not it that we see.
– Roland Barthes

Photography is a kind of primitive theater, a kind of Tableau Vivant, a figuration of the motionless and made-up face beneath which we see the dead.
– Roland Barthes

Eve, the Baltimore Sun jacket and large, professional looking camera kind of gave him away.

Of course, he could have been a former Sun photographer, working on his porfolio.

Just finished arranging my sandbox puppetutes into a Tableau Vivant.

Owl Meat Grave, have you ever seen Victorian postmortem photographs?
Kind of a Tableau de Mort.

Laura Lee, are you sure you're not Laura Lippman? I read "To the Power of Three" while lounging on vacation, btw--another great one from LL (whichever one collects the royalties ...) My dear sister Rosebud would love it, I know.

No I am not, Dahlink. I'm also sorry to say I have never even read any of Laura Lippman's novels although I now intend to, very soon, if I can spare some time from the blog. I used to read her stuff regularly when she worked at The Sun. Somewhere I think I still have a copy of a piece she wrote about going to the Homewood Post Office (yes, Homewood). It was beyond hilarious to me because that was my post office at the time and her experience there mirrored mine completely.

BTW, where IS Rosebud?

I don't know where Rosebud is these days, unfortunately, but I miss her.
And I'll take your word for it, Laura Lee, if you promise to start reading Laura Lippman. I am very fond of the Tess Monaghan mysteries for their quirky characters and Baltimore local color, but the stand-alone books are well worth reading, if you accept that a mystery can also be a serious book.

P.S. I miss the Homewood post office--that used to be my post office, too, before it was eliminated. Somehow I must have missed that LL piece--did she write about the "post office lady"?

Point to Lissa -- Gorelick's review of Mekong Delta, with accompanying "Baltimore Sun photo", appears in today's Sun.

Eh, I just got lucky, hmpstd. Mekong Delta just happens to be at my favourite post-work bus stop. I spend a good bit of time there.

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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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