Over-the-top Irish


True, it's not a catchy name. But when An Poitin Stil opens on York Road in Timonium this fall, it could be the area's hottest new night spot.

To call it an Irish pub is to call ESPN Zone just a sports bar. Inside will be -- to name just some of the drinking and dining areas -- a traditional pub, a Victorian pub, an Irish cottage, a circular stone monk's cell, a minstrel's area, a medieval banquet hall (with deer-horn lights) and a ruined castle tower.

Dr. John Mitcherling, an oral surgeon and one of the owners, won't say exactly how much it's costing to build the destination restaurant -- just that it's "well in excess of a million."

The executive chef will be Chris Ellis, whose background includes stints at Linwood's and the Polo Grill. His menu will be a balance of Irish and American food, with such signature dishes as Dublin beef stick -- prime rib deep-fried in a Guinness batter (no calories in that), Welsh rabbit shrimp dip, Irish cobbler potato soup with smoked Gouda and bacon, and lamb shanks in a stout stock with turnips and other vegetables. American dishes will include a Cajun lamb steak with a tarragon-infused chasseur sauce, and potato-crusted grouper.

An Poitin Stil, by the way, means "moonshine."

Locally made ice cream

Need ice cream? You bet, particularly if you live in Roland Park and your Baskin-Robbins has closed. Luckily, Need Ice Cream has opened at 506 W. Cold Spring Lane, selling Lee's ice cream and Vaccarro's pastries.

"It's real sensual in here," jokes owner Ann Howell. Besides offering the rich, locally made ice cream and sinful pastries, her shop sports a teal, turquoise and cantaloupe-orange decor.

Jazz club-restaurant

Tom Love and Reginald Duffie are renovating the storefront at the corner of Park Avenue and Chase Street, near the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and some time early next year plan to open the Cornerstone there. It will be a jazz club and a restaurant specializing in American seafood and steaks.

Around the clock

The Strand Cybercafe at the harbor is now open 24 hours a day, except on Sundays, when it closes at 9 p.m. It joins, most notably, the Double T Diner, the PaperMoon Diner and Chick & Ruth's in Annapolis.

New at Hunter's Lodge

Maybe not wild things, but things are happening at Hunter's Lodge in Ellicott City. All three levels of the restaurant are being remodeled, with improvements that include sound dampening. The executive chef is now Daniel Frank, whose new menu is regional American with Mediterranean and Asian influences. Frank has introduced "tasting plates," with two or three smaller portions of the restaurant's most popular entrees. Hunter's Lodge has also expanded its wine list and added monthly wine and beer dinners.

Zagat's 'in' spots

It's always interesting to see ourselves as outsiders see us. According to the latest Zagat Survey, "2000 Update," these are the Baltimore-Annapolis area's "in" places: Black Olive, Brewer's Art, Cafe Pangea, Harry Browne's, Linwood's, Manor Tavern, McCormick & Schmick's, Middleton Tavern, Milton Inn, Nacho Mama's, Polo Grill, SoBo Cafe, Sotto Sopra and Ze Mean Bean.

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 elizabeth.large@baltsun.com.

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