Michael's Riviera GrillMichael's Riviera Grill, The...

DINING OUT -- THE CRITICS REPORT

December 14, 1991|By MARY MAUSHARD | MARY MAUSHARD,The Evening Sun Cactus Grill The Sun Gypsy's Cafe The Sunday Sun

Michael's Riviera Grill

Michael's Riviera Grill, The Brookshire Hotel, 120 E. Lombard St., (410) 547-8986. It takes superb food to top the view from this restaurant, many stories up and a block north of the Inner Harbor. And that is exactly what we enjoyed there -- high-quality food, carefully prepared. No, beautifully prepared. The presentation was terrific; the flavors true and exciting. Even the bread was homemade. The menu is called Mediterranean, offering a sampling of French, Italian and Spanish specialties and some that defy classification. The menu is not extensive, but the variety is enticing. Our waiter was equal to the view and the food. He was enthusiastic and friendly without seeming insincere. All in all, a delightful experience. $$ 1/2 -moderately expensive. (Last visited 9/91.) Cactus Grill, White Marsh Mall, (410) 931-6322. Ten years ago it was hanging plants and vintage advertising art. Now it's tortilla-making machines and cases of Corona beer. To its credit, the Cactus Grill has sane prices and enthusiastic service, and the food's pretty tasty (although the platters outshine the salty, cliched fajitas). But the thrill wasn't there. When did Tex-Mex food begin to lose its gutsy outlaw edge (and its corn tortillas) and become mass-market family fodder? $inexpensive. (Last visited 11/91.)

LYNN WILLIAMS Gypsy's Cafe, 1103 Hollins St., (410) 625-9310. We loved the Gypsy Cafe's looks. Picture this: deep purple walls, green-black wood and cleaned and polished brass fixtures with all their beading and curlicues intact. Put a sturdy proletarian wood bar along one wall, add a black, pressed tin ceiling, fit faux-tortoise-shelled thrift store chairs around the tables, add starched white cloths, clunky plates, fresh freesias and congenial people. Finishing touches: good beer and inexpensive, uncomplicated food. $$moderate. (Last visited 10/91.)

JANICE BAKER

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