Pan-Asian was one of the top restaurant trends in '07, and a couple of Pan-Asian places opened in the Baltimore area last year. These have menus that aren't Asian fusion, but offer Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Sushi is usually part of the mix.
Add contemporary American to that list, and you'll have Luminous, the new Pan-Asian restaurant in the Westin BWI Hotel (1110 Old Elkridge Landing Road, 443-577-2310) in Linthicum. The food and beverage director is Edward Evans, formerly at the Hyatt hotel downtown.
Signature dishes include Asian braised short ribs and seared sea bass with a miso glaze and pickled cucumber relish. Entrees run from $18 to $28.
The contemporary dining room is done in colors of earth, wood and leather, with lots of windows; tucked-away, intimate booth areas; and a small private dining room that holds about 20. It's comfortable but minimalist.
Because it's a hotel dining room, Luminous is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Phat Pug redux --I got an e-mail recently from Michael DePasquale, owner of Phat Pug Coal-Fired Pizzeria in Perry Hall, which has had all sorts of problems, including a disconnected phone. He says he has a licensing agreement with someone to take over the Perry Hall location, and he's going ahead with plans to open other places.
"I understand there have been lots of complaints about my restaurant and how it has been run," he said. "I'm very sorry ... about these problems, but they will be straightened out ASAP. There is some new remodeling taking place, new equipment being installed, and some rearranging going on."
A new phone number will be up and running soon, as well, he said.
Healthful but good --Vegetarian Desserts Bakery should be opening soon on Antique Row at 827 N. Howard St. I never thought of desserts as not being vegetarian (except maybe old-fashioned mincemeat), but these will be not just vegetarian but vegan.
The owner is the charmingly named Charmane Baker, who said her goodies are "made without any dairy, animal products, honey, preservatives or fillers." Specialties include fresh fruit pies, cinnamon-raisin rolls, chocolate fudge with fudge frosting and chocolate brownies.
Meanwhile, Fisher's Bakery (8143 Main St.) in Ellicott City will become Sweet: A Bakery & Cafe this month. That does sound more modern, doesn't it? The cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dessert and is open for brunch Saturdays and Sundays.
Send restaurant news, trends, questions of general interest or observations to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax me at 410-783-2519. Snail mail works, too: Elizabeth Large, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278.