March 14, 1992|By Mary Corey

TAMBER'S 3327 St. Paul St. Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 9 Sundays.

(410) 243-0383; FAX (410) 243-0478. Say you're not in the mood for Paul Anka, poodle skirts or retromania. But you do crave some first-rate '50s food, or at least an updated version of it.

Tamber's, the Charles Village diner with an extensive carryout menu, fits the bill. There's meatloaf and macaroni and cheese, egg creams and ice cream sodas. But don't be put off by culinary nostalgia. There's also plenty of modern-day fare, including burgers, fries, pizza, salads and subs.

For comfort food at its best, try the fresh roasted turkey breast sandwich served open-faced, $5.95. A blue plate special (even if it is served in a plastic foam container), features slices of turkey piled high and creamy mashed potatoes covered in gravy.

Don't look for any trendy interpretation of chicken salad here. A ,, purist's delight, the submarine, $4.25, had chunks of white meat going head to head with mayonnaise.

As warm weather hits, the carryout ice cream business is likely to be brisk. You can splurge on milk shakes, malts and sundaes or play it safe with low-fat frozen yogurt. If you prefer a non-dairy delight, the silky rich chocolate pie and dense bread pudding with lemon sauce are best bets.

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