Mark Henry, who has been delighting Maryland diners since he put the Milton Inn back on the map a couple of decades ago, has retired as executive chef of the Oregon Grille in Cockeysville, where he's been since 1997. Owner Ted Bauer says Henry and his wife are moving to Virginia, where the chef plans to garden and "just kick back."
Henry, who opened the Oregon Grille, allowed plenty of time for a national search for his replacement. He also stayed long enough to work with his successor, Stefan Sabo, for a few weeks, "so there's been excellent continuity," Bauer says. Sabo's resume includes the kitchens of the Willard Room in D.C. and Bernard's Inn, a four-star restaurant in New Jersey.
At the moment, the Oregon Grille's menu is staying the same.
"I want to get comfortable," says the new chef. "I want to get to know my customers."
Sabo's influence is seen more in the daily specials. His emphasis, he says, is on the "lighter side. I avoid cream and butter." Instead he focuses on spices like cardamom and star anise to add flavor. He's also trying to work more with local vendors and expand the restaurant's own herb garden.
"The Oregon Grille is known for its steaks," Sabo says. "To also be recognizable from the fish side is one of my goals."
Another Henry --"My dream of having people eat pie breakfast, lunch and dinner is finally coming to fruition," says Rodney Henry. "It's going to be awesome."
In a month or so Henry, the owner of Dangerously Delicious Pies, is planning to open the Dangerously Delicious Savory House in Hampden, where Finnerteas teahouse used to be.
During the day, you'll be able to get the dessert pies and coffee; then at 5 p.m., dinner will start. There will be six savory pie specials available each week, and they'll be served with a side and a salad. The Savory House will be open every day.
Peerce's redux --The spot that was Peerce's Plantation in Dulaney Valley was finally sold on Valentine's Day, but it won't be another restaurant any time soon. Signature Catering owns it, has renamed it Peerce's Landing, and it is now open for business. The company's phone number is 410-252-1033 -- strangely close to the old Peerce's number (410-252-3100, now disconnected).
In with the new --Cyrus Keefer has left Saute in Canton, the restaurant he opened in February. Two chefs have taken his place: Mark Suliga, formerly at Cosmopolitan and Dooby's, and Brian Mathias, who has worked in the kitchens of Joy America, Hampton's and Brasserie Tatin.
General manager Tony Guarino says Keefer hadn't planned on the restaurant's being open for lunch so soon, and his dishes were a little too labor-intensive once Saute did start serving a meal midday.
"The new menu is not as time-consuming," says Guarino, "even though it's larger. It's American bistro with a European twist."
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.