A reader called to tell me that the Boomerang Pub (1110 S. Charles St.) has just started serving lunch. She raved for so long about the chili that I called chef Scott Heckendorn to see what made it so special.
It is, he says, a "Texas-style chili," with chunks of lamb, veal and beef - "something like Michael Rork's chili." Heckendorn used to be the maitre d' at Hampton's in Harbor Court when Rork was the chef there. "I always had a culinary degree," he says. "And I got tired working the front of the house."
First it was Capers. Then Garry's Grill. Now restaurateur Garry Anderson has opened Woodfire in the Park Plaza Shopping Center, Severna Park. Just about everything is grilled over hickory, white oak, pecan and cherry woods. A couple of signature dishes, salmon Wellington and seafood strudel, are exceptions. If you feel like beef, the 20-ounce porterhouse is the way to go. Entrees run from $13.95 to $26.
You would expect a place called the Olive Leaf in Greektown to be Greek, but not so. Or at least not completely so. The restaurant, which opened a couple of months ago, specializes in Italian, Greek and even German food. It's located where the Aegean, and before it the Mediterranean, used to be (4901 Eastern Ave.). Prices range from $7.95 for spaghetti with meat sauce to $18.95 for stuffed shrimp. The signature dishes are combinations like chicken florentine, filet mignon and shrimp.
Have it both ways
A survey of menus by the National Restaurant Association reveals two conflicting trends. These days customers are both looking for familiar comfort food and experimenting with ethnic variety. There is more sophistication about ethnic food - for instance, Italian restaurants are specializing in region-specific cuisines from places like Tuscany and the Piedmont. But diners still want chicken pot pie and other classic dishes.
Some other findings : The most popular appetizer selection is seafood.
Classic soups like vichyssoise and consomme, which disappeared for a time, are back on menus.
Grains such as rice or risotto, polenta, couscous, quinoa and bulgar are gaining in popularity.
The two favorite entree preparations are grilling and roasting.
Traditional salad greens have been replaced by more exotic mesclun greens.
The most popular sandwich is still the hamburger.
Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Large, Table Talk, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278; fax to 410-783-2519; or e-mail to elizabeth.largaltsun.com.
Pub Date: 6/04/98