If all goes according to plan, sometime soon Daniel Chaustit, a former chef/owner of Christopher Daniel in Cockeysville, will be the new owner of Taste in Belvedere Square. Or rather, of the space where Taste was. When the restaurant reopens - with good luck, sometime in mid- to late July - it will have a new name and a new identity.
Claustit, who split amicably with his partner, Chris Ellis (the Christopher in Christopher Daniel), says the food will be modern American and the restaurant will be "more of a neighborhood place." Nothing, however, is set in stone yet.
Size matters --Sometimes things get smaller and better rather than bigger and better. The Shark Restaurant on the Coastal Highway in Ocean City (300 seats) has this season moved to 12924 Sunset Ave. in West Ocean City. It's become the Shark on the Harbor, with 90 seats total, says owner and executive chef Travis Wright, "and that's including the bar."
"Downsizing allows us to focus on the quality of the ingredients and use boutique purveyors," Wright says. He uses as much local seafood as possible; local, organic produce; all natural beef and pork; free-range, organic chicken; and organic wines and beers. Entrees run from $17 to $28.
Wright describes the old Shark as a "destination restaurant" and the new location as a neighborhood place and bar. It now serves lunch, with a daily $5 special.
"It's the same Shark, the same staff," he says, "but improved everywhere."
East meets West --But not the way you might expect. York Garden (9726 York Road, 410-666-2590) has just opened in Cockeysville in the spot where Pacific Rim was. It's not a fusion restaurant like its predecessor, even though it does offer both Indian and Mexican food. Right now the Mexican food is available only in the bar; but if it does well, there will be a separate menu in the main dining room.
York Garden also has an Indian lunch buffet.
Chef Effi arrives --Eden Lounge in Mount Vernon has a new chef, Efrem Ogbaye, otherwise known as Chef Effi. He trained in East Africa, Sweden and Washington, and his new menu will offer dishes from three different continents. Two of Chef Effi's signature dishes are chicken awaze tibs and baked tilapia with creamy garlic shiro sauce.
"I went to one of his former restaurants in Washington," says Eden owner Harold Edwards, "and his steak with espresso-infused shiro sauce was incredible. That will be coming soon to the menu, among other dishes."
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.