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Table Talk: Wine Market fills its executive chef position

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The Wine Market has elevated sous chef Andrew Weinzirl to the position of executive chef, the restaurant's owner, Chris Spann, announced Oct. 14. Weinzirl takes over from Chris Becker, who left to join the Bagby Group.

"I wanted to find a chef that understood my culinary philosophy but who also had his own approach to food," said Spann, who added that Weinzirl had been running the kitchen for a month before his promotion.

After graduating from Baltimore International College, Weinzirl put in time at Linwoods, Dogwood and the Chameleon, with a sojourn in between at the James Beard Award-winning Highlands Grill in Birmingham, Ala.

On Weinzirl's first menu: a house-made short rib hot dog with apple kimchi; a pine nut and pinot noir risotto with wild mushrooms and Parmesan sage broth; and a pan-roasted Creekstone Farms bistro steak with potato-kohlrabi gratin.

Spoons expansion Spoons in Federal Hill is glamming it up. The menu has expanded, and a new (old) face is in the kitchen. Champagne Tony is back in town.

The Cross Street gathering spot, which opened in 1999, has shifted gears slightly. Spoons will still operate as a classic coffeehouse during the day, serving its popular breakfast and sandwich menu, the kind of place where folks curl up with a laptop for hours. Laura Lippman will still be able to come in to pound out a new Tess Monaghan novel.

But at night, Spoons gets a little more romantic, a little Lady and the Trampish, maybe. In August, the cafe shut itself down and did some remodeling and moving things around. And a new face has joined the kitchen staff — Pauli Santi, aka "Champagne Tony," who owned his self-named Canton restaurant and headed the kitchen at the Owl Bar. This was back in the late 1990s, when I knew him.

Even before he left Baltimore, I had lost track of Santi, who told me that he ran his own restaurant in Hagerstown and, more recently, helped launch the restaurant operation at a Delaware country club.

On Santi's evening menu at Spoons: a fettuccine Bolognese, a Mediterranean chopped salad, and an oyster appetizer with pancetta, spinach and Sambuca. Spoons, meanwhile, will continue to make cosmetic changes over the next month or two.

Keep your eye on it.

Fall at the taverns Chestnuts, oysters, butternut squash … sounds like fall. And it is.

The Hamilton Tavern and the Brewer's Art are rolling out their fall menus. The two establishments, which have some overlapping ownership and management, have something else in common, too: Some folks insist that they're bars, which can leave the kitchen crew feeling like the supporting cast.

At the Hamilton Tavern, Sarah Thall's new appetizers include crispy fried broccoli and cauliflower with a warm Resurrection Ale-cheddar dipping sauce, house-cured salmon-and-potato pancakes and steamed mussels with Andouille sausage and Cajun butter.

An apple-and-butternut squash salad, dressed in a bacon-and-walnut vinaigrette, is debuting, along with a chicken cordon bleu and a rare roast beef sandwiches.

Downtown, David Newman's starters at Brewer's Art include a chestnut bisque with roasted pears and a sherry-country ham cream. Kung pao sweetbreads are new, as are the fried Chesapeake oysters with horseradish potatoes. Returning entrees include the Utz-crusted cod and a rebooted baked pumpkin polenta. New this year are an Ozzy-brined chicken with fingerling potato hash and an oven-roasted duck breast with grits, brussels sprouts and chestnuts.

A grove, replanted Mango Grove has announced that it's moving to a new Columbia location.

Mango Grove and its sister restaurant, Mirchi Wok, will be rebuilt at 8865 Stanford Blvd., just a few minutes from the restaurants' original Columbia location. The announcement was made on Mango Grove's Facebook page.

Mango Grove, a vegetarian mainstay known best for its dhosa, a kind of Indian crepe, closed in late August after 15 years to make way for new development. It was not immediately clear when the new restaurants would open.

For information go to http://www.themangogrove.net.

richard.gorelick@baltsun.com

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