Chez Charles, 2701 N. Charles St., 366-5700....


Chez Charles, 2701 N. Charles St., 366-5700. This is a lovely, quiet restaurant carved from the first floor of the old Red Cross building in Charles Village, a neighborhood better known for delis and pubs than for sophisticated dining. But sophisticated Chez Charles is -- in decor, food, service and price. The "not so French" French food features distinctive tastes -- most of them quite pleasing -- and light sauces. We loved the Shrimp and Feta in a butter and garlic sauce; it was a wonderful beginning to a most enjoyable meal. $$ 1/2 moderately expensive. (Last visited 1/91.)

LYNN WILLIAMS The Inn at Blackford's Crossing, Route 34, Sharpsburg, (301) 432-8200. Although it is not the quint period building we'd hoped for, this latter-day inn, not far from Antietam battlefield, offers food that is both delicious and reasonably priced. For dishes that are rich without heaviness, try the "seafood toast" (actually a shellfish stew), juicy chicken breast in a blackberry-flavored cream, elegant lobster Thermidor, or a piece of cheesecake with a decisive dairy note and a light touch of lemon. $$moderate. (Last visited 1/91.)

JANICE BAKER Crab Shanty Restaurant, 3410 Plumtree Drive, Ellicott City, 465-9660. It's an antique barn, rich with paraphernalia to amuse the eyes, with a kitchen that sends out crabs and oysters to please the palate, and potatoes and puddings to soothe the spirit. Dress is casual, the feel is unpretentious and dishes are plain and unsauced. They are also delicious. Recommendations: Baked oysters stuffed with snowy lump crab meat, crab cakes, crab-stuffed rockfish, the very apple apple sauce, creme caramel and bread pudding. $$$expensive. (Last visited 12/90.)

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