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Table Talk: Hatching plans for Baltimore Easter brunches

RestaurantsDining and DrinkingBrunchCookingInternational DriveSeasons Restaurant

Easter options are plentiful this year, and a few are lavish.

The offerings at The Capital Grille (500 E. Pratt St., 443-703-4064, thecapitalgrille.com) include a carving station, raw bar, and breakfast station with scrambled eggs, French toast and roasted Kona tenderloin. Wit & Wisdom (200 International Drive, 410-576-5800, witandwisdombaltimore.com) at the Four Seasons Hotel is serving a three-course brunch with featuring chicory-glazed ham and, for dessert, a banana cream puff with chocolate, coconut tapioca and hazelnut sherbet.

There are modest options, too. Lebanese Taverna in Harbor East is serving a lineup of Mediterranean small plates (719 S. President St., 410-244-5533, lebanesetaverna.com.), and the revamped SoBo Cafe (6 W. Cross St., 410-752-1518, sobocafe.net) in Federal Hill will offer its regular brunch menu along with a few specials.

A full roundup of Easter dining options is at Baltimore Diner.

On the Waterfront Waterfront Kitchen has opened its outdoor deck.

The Fells Point restaurant opened late last October on the ground floor of Living Classrooms' education pavilion. The space, which was treated to a splendid redesign by Patrick Sutton before opening, was already taking great advantage of the museum's waterside location. The deck will make it even better.

Jerry Pellegrino has been guiding Waterfront Kitchen's farm-to-table menu, which is executed by a kitchen led by executive chef Levi Briggs. There's other news coming out of Waterfront Kitchen. Henry Hong, whom folks know variously as a food writer, radio personality and chef, has come aboard as manager.

Also, English Breakfast and Scarlet Globe radishes grown by the students in Living Classrooms' urban gardening program are on Waterfront Kitchen's current menu, as part of a goat cheese salad. Those little radishes are a big deal. Waterfront Kitchen announced its partnership with the Baltimore Urban Gardening with Students (BUGS) program at the outset, but the restaurant opened too late in the season to really explore that partnership. Now it's happening, and there's more from the BUGS program on the way.

Mark Saturday, May 5, on your calendar for the annual BUGS farmers' market, when visitors will be able to tour the gardens, buy fresh produce and meet the program's participants.

Waterfront Kitchen is at 1417 Thames St. For information, call 443-681-5310 or go to waterfrontkitchen.com

Lobster tales You'd expect a Baltimore restaurant to compete in crab cake competition, but Thames Street Oyster House is contending for a big lobster roll prize.

The event is Tasting Table's third annual Lobster Roll Rumble, which will take place in New York City on June 7. You can take a look at event information and photographs of all 20 contenders at tastingtable.com.

So, how did a Baltimore restaurant come to have a contending lobster roll? Turns out chef Eric Houseknecht stayed in Providence, R.I., after graduating form Johnson & Wales University in that state.

"Whenever I could," Houseknecht said, "I'd head off to Point Judith or Block Island," havens for this quintessential New England sandwich.

The secret of a good lobster roll, according to Houseknecht, sounds a lot like the secret to a good soft-shell crab sandwich.

"It's simple white bread, Houseknecht said, "buttered and toasted. Nothing too crazy."

The Lobster Roll Rumble benefits Share Our Strength.

Thames Street Oyster is at 1728 Thames St. For information call 443-449-7726 or go to thamesstreetoysterhouse.com

Now see this You're not the only one who can't read the tiny type on the menu. Especially in all of those new crepuscular dining rooms. Menu Mates are here to help. A handful of area restaurants, including the Prime Rib, the Rusty Scupper, Cafe Troia and the Capital Grille, are now equipped with an a kit containing four pairs of the most common-strength reading glasses, in partnership with a Baltimore-based eyecare practice.

The Menu Mates program is from Katzen Eye Group, which is providing participating restaurants with a kit that contains four pairs of the most common strength reading glasses (+1.00, +1.50, +2.00 or +2.50) as well as an eye chart for diners to determine which strength they need.

"Our patients frequently tell us that they are always leaving their reading glasses at home or in the car and often have trouble with day-to-day reading, especially when they go to a restaurant," said Katzen's Richard Edlow.

Menu Mates is launching with six restaurants, but Kazten but is looking to expand to more restaurants throughout the area.

richard.gorelick@baltsun.com

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