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Crise takes over


Jeffrey Crise, former chef-owner of the Ambassador, who made his name as a fine contemporary-American chef at the Hunters Lodge in Ellicott City, has moved to the dining room of the newly renovated Sheraton Columbia Inn.

As executive chef, Crise has redone the menu completely. His signature dishes include fried lobster tail over warm soba noodles and seaweed salad with a peanut sauce, and charred beef tenderloin with garlic mashed potatoes and mushroom ragout. Entrees run from $15.95 to $29.95.

Gertrude's love potion

I like a restaurant that goes all out for Valentine's Day. Gertrude's in the Baltimore Museum of Art is offering a prix fixe dinner for two for $69 Feb. 12 through Feb. 14. Dinner includes four courses and two glasses of champagne, and is filled with aphrodisiacs.

Some you will have heard of, like oysters; for others -- like artichokes and grapes -- you may have to refer to Gertrude's "Guide to Aphrodisiacs" for descriptions and history. But don't worry. Most of them are simply garnishes for the serious food like salmon filled with scallop mousse, jasmine-tea-roasted duck and chicken-breast love explosion. Uh, did I say serious food?

Another feast of love

Gertrude's inventiveness got me to wondering what some other restaurants in the area were doing on Sunday, Feb. 14. I'm sure every place that's open on Sundays will have something going on, but I thought I would at least check out That's Amore, the Italian chain at various locations around the area. (That's amore as in "love.")

Look for Valentine's Day specials like ravioli alla caprese stuffed with lobster meat and cheese and served with baby shrimp and asparagus sauteed in butter with onions and fresh basil, topped with a lemon sherry cream sauce. Sounds good, but I'm not sure how amorous you'll feel if you clean your plate.

Dessert will be a heart-shaped fresh fruit tart with an apricot glaze served with a half bottle of Bonny Doon Muscat Vin de Glaciere (the wine may vary from location to location).

Jazz brunch

I automatically think of going out to dinner when I think of Valentine's Day, but Jeff Pressman, co-owner of the Tavern at Centre Park in Columbia, says reservations are going much quicker for the restau-rant's jazz brunch than for the evening meal. Light guitar will be on the menu along with all sorts of breakfast and lunch goodies.

Entrees are priced at $20 and $28. With them you get a buffet of breads and sweets like sticky buns, a glass of champagne and nonalcoholic drinks and, of course, a whole table of desserts. (What would Valentine's Day be without chocolate?)

Tapas at Tusks

The Brass Elephant in Mount Vernon has expanded its upstairs lounge and introduced a menu of tapas and other appetizers priced from $4.25 to $7.75. The food is fun and affordable, and you can't ask for a more elegant setting. I'm just not sure about getting a bite to eat and a drink in a place called Tusks.

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 410-752-6049; or e-mail to

Pub Date: 02/04/99

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