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Georgie's has creative dishes, neighborhood feel

The Baltimore Sun

Georgie's of Canton deserves credit for its creativity. What other restaurant would put a crab cake on top of a Caesar salad, or add grilled peaches, asparagus and shrimp to an otherwise simply prepared piece of mahi-mahi?

If those experiments aren't to your liking, that's OK. You can opt for more traditional dishes, like lasagna, ribs or chicken parmigiana. The restaurant, which opened in June, is all about making its customers happy.

Owner George Platis hails from a restaurant-owning family in Brooklyn and was a partner in two Canton landmarks, Coburn's Tavern and Grill and Dockside, before striking out on his own. His philosophy, he says, is "you gotta hit a home run with the hospitality."

Customers will forgive a less-than-perfect meal if they feel they've been treated right, he said.

From our experience, Georgie's embodied that philosophy to a T. Though some of the entrees worked better than others, our meal was prompt but not rushed, and the staff was friendly, attentive and happy to offer recommendations. A glass of wine that was not to my friend's liking was quickly replaced.

But Georgie's has an uphill battle, partly because of its location, which has seen three other restaurants come and go in rapid succession. And parking on Boston Street is hit or miss.

We had some yummy food at Georgie's, especially a mushroom tart appetizer ($8), which was more of a stew than a tart. Served in a crock, it featured red peppers and several types of mushrooms, cooked until tender and then topped with a thick, savory gravy, provolone cheese and a wedge of puff pastry. Another appetizer of seared tuna with wasabi and a honey soy glaze ($11) was fresh-tasting, but not as flavorful as I had hoped. A platter of crab balls ($10) was less upscale but more interesting, especially when the bite-sized crab cakes were dipped in the horseradish-spiked sauce served alongside.

As for entrees, we especially liked the meatloaf ($12), which was sliced and attractively arranged on a mound of roughly mashed potatoes. The entrees are served with a fresh salad and a choice of decent dressings, including a slightly tart citrus vinaigrette.

Platis explained that his restaurant has a small kitchen, and so it offers only about 10 entrees at a time, plus appetizers, salads and specials. He changes his menu quarterly, choosing his new entrees from the specials that were most successful.

I suspect the creole mahi ($12), a special during our visit, will be on the new menu. The fish, though maybe a minute and a half overcooked, was certainly fresh, with a mild flavor that provided a nice counterpoint to the andouille sausage and heavily spiced sauce of tomatoes, peppers and onions.

Seafood plays a big role at Georgie's. Mahi-mahi also turned up in a sandwich of blackened fish, shrimp salad and grilled pineapple ($10), which proved far less successful. The blackening spices were unbearably salty, the shrimp salad turned out to be whole grilled shrimp, and no sauce or seasoning held the ingredients together.

A main-course salad called Caesar by the Sea ($15) simply topped a Caesar salad with a crab cake, some shrimp and, yes, mahi-mahi. The crab cake had a nicely browned exterior and good flavor, but the combination of the salad and seafood didn't quite gel.

Georgie's has a cozy neighborhood feel. The downstairs features a cute bar topped with attractive stone tiles, and a tiny dining area. A larger dining room is upstairs. Burgundy tablecloths seem to be the code for "nice, but not fancy."

Georgie's serves a lunch menu of salads, sandwiches and a few entrees. Platis said he hopes to add a Sunday brunch soon. Meanwhile, the pleasant atmosphere, combination of classic and less-expected dishes, and good service make this a restaurant worth checking out.

Georgie's of Canton

Where: 2304 Boston St.

Call: 410-327-1112

Open: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Tuesday through Friday, 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday

Credit cards: All major

Prices: Appetizers $3-$11, entrees $6-$28

Food: 2 1/2 STARS

Service: 3 STARS Atmosphere: 3 STARS

[Outstanding: 4 STARS -- Good: 3 STARS -- Fair or uneven: 2 STARS -- Poor:1 STAR

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