On the way: an upscale diner in Timonium


Steve Efstathiou says people are telling him he's crazy. "We bought a nice restaurant, but I tore it down. I wanted it to have my look." He's talking about the space where the Tuscany Grill and before it Milano's used to be at 2047 York Road in Timonium.

Efstathiou is one of the owners of the new Nautilis Diner, scheduled to open late this summer.

Nautilis will be an upscale diner, open 24 hours a day and serving everything from "eggs to lobster tail," Efstathiou says. It also has a liquor license.

Efstathiou and his brother Ted own another Nautilis Diner, in Mamaroneck, N.Y., which serves American, Italian and Greek food. The new menu will be similar, he says, "except everybody says I have to put a crab cake on the menu."

Some like it hot

Quick. What kind of food does a restaurant named Salt & Pepper serve? If you guessed Indian and Pakistani, you're better at this game than I am. The new restaurant has opened at 204 Reisterstown Road, where Annapurna used to be. Hours are every day from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

So what else besides the name sets Salt & Pepper apart from other Indian restaurants?

The fact that the food is cooked to order because the clientele is varied, says owner Malik Latif. "Our Jewish customers like it not so spicy, our Russian customers like it mild and our Indian and Pakistani customers like it very spicy. We make everything to your taste."

At the top

Of all the Greek restaurants in the country, only three are listed in the Zagat Survey's "2000: America's Top Restaurants." Two of them are in New York City, but the third is Baltimore's own Black Olive at 814 S. Bond St. "This young Greek scored high food ratings on its first try, proving that in Fells Point, as on the Aegean, classically 'simple' preparations and hands-on 'hospitality' impress," say the critics.

West Coast trends

In the newsletter of the Association of Food Journalists earlier this year, president Michael Bauer noted some restaurant trends emerging in his hometown, San Francisco. As we know, food trends tend to make their way from the West Coast to East Coast, so look out for these:

* Escalating prices (this is a surprise)

* Younger affluent diners, which Bauer says is one reason noise levels are up in restaurants

* Large, open warehouse spaces

* Entertainment: usually live music or a DJ, but also movies

* A return to luxury

* Complicated combinations

* China with wild patterns and unusual shapes

* More authentic ethnic foods

* Classic revivals like duck a l'orange and beef Wellington

* Wood-burning ovens

* The top trendy foods: whole roasted fish, micro greens (smaller than baby greens), lots of raw fish, from sushi to tuna tartare

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 410-783-2502; or e-mail to elizabeth.large@baltsun.com.

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