When the deal to sell M. Gettier's Orchard Inn in Towson to Central Asia fell through at the last minute, it left owner Michael Gettier with a problem. After a restaurant in Baltimore County has been closed for 360 days without the owner filing an application for transfer, it loses its liquor license, thereby making it a less desirable property to potential buyers.
So with time running out, Gettier has reopened his restaurant on a very limited basis-while at the same time staying on as executive chef at Peerce's Plantation in Phoenix. The new Gettier's is now open Wednesday through Sunday for dinner only, offering a fixed price menu for $55 a person.
"We're having some fun with it," says Gettier, by which he means he's cooking exactly what he wants to for a maximum of 20 people. (Only one dining room with five tables is open.) The staff consists of Gettier, his wife and one employee.
Gettier says he's in touch with Peerce's by phone when he's not there, and his sous chef is handling the day-to-day operations.
The bad news? You need reservations, but Gettier's doesn't have an answering machine. Don't bother calling if it's Monday or Tuesday.
A vote for the dim sum
The other day I took a couple of friends to lunch at the new Joe's Dim Sum Palace at 323 Park Ave. The neighborhood is terrible, dM-icor is nonexistent and people smoke at will in the dining room. But the food is fabulous.
I can't vouch for the American-Chinese dishes on the menu; we ordered by pointing to what other people in the dining room were eating. As we were the only people not speaking Chinese in the restaurant - including our waitress - that seemed the best way.
I recommend any of the dim sum except the steamed spare ribs (spare ribs weren't meant for steaming). A sauteed Chinese greens dish was a knockout. But best of all were the soups. Lowly won ton, for instance, comes in a large white bowl with a delicious chicken broth, greens, thin noodles and soft, delicate wontons stuffed with pork and shrimp. Even better was a variation that included pieces of crisp-skinned duck.
Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Large, Table Talk, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278; fax to 410-783-2519; or e-mail to email@example.com.
Elizabeth Large's restaurant reviews appear in Sunday's Home & Family section. This Sunday: the new Blue Agave in Federal Hill