Restaurants gear up for the blast

July 03, 1992|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Restaurant Critic

Outside seating at the Bamboo House in Harborplace is booked up for tomorrow night. In fact, some repeat customers have been making their Fourth of July reservations a year in advance for 10 years. Pier 500, which specializes in inventive and not inexpensive seafood dishes, will have a roving hot dog cart in honor of the holiday. Wayne Brokke, owner of Wayne's Barbecue in the Light Street Pavilion, says the Fourth of July is as big as New Year's Eve for his restaurant.

The Inner Harbor fireworks don't start until 9:30 p.m., but plenty of people are going to make a night of it. Restaurants in the area are planning on doing a lot of business tomorrow night, and many have adjusted their menus and reservation policies accordingly. Here's what's happening:

American Cafe, Light Street Pavilion, Harborplace, (410) 962-8800. No reservations will be taken for the evening; but if you can get in, manager Ann Spiegelthal promises "the best view of the fireworks in Harborplace."

Bamboo House, Pratt Street Pavilion, Harborplace, (410) 625-1191. You won't be able to have one of the 18 tables on the terrace at this point -- they're booked -- but you can probably still get a reservation inside and enjoy Mandarin and Sichuan dishes before the fireworks.

Berry & Elliot's, Hyatt Regency Hotel, 300 Light St., (410) 528-1234. The view of the harbor from the 15th floor of the Hyatt is magical. No wonder reservations for Berry & Elliot's three seatings (5:30 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.) are going fast. The special prix-fixe menu geared to the patriotic will cost $60 a couple.

Chart House, 601 E. Pratt St., (410) 539-6616. Usually no food is served on the deck, although there are a few tables for drinks. On the Fourth, you'll be able to eat from the Chart House's all-American menu of steak and seafood outside while you watch the fireworks.

City Lights, Light Street Pavilion, (410) 244-8811. This primarily seafood restaurant isn't planning to do anything special tomorrow night except to focus on a quick turnover of terrace seating. No reservations.

Harbor Court Hotel, 550 Light St., (410) 234-0550. Neither of the hotel's two dining rooms, Brighton's or Hampton's, is offering specials for the Fourth; but they both have a good view and good food, and they're both still taking reservations.

Harrison's Pier 5, 711 Eastern Ave., (410) 783-5553. Reservations will be taken inside if you want a seafood dinner, but none outside on Harrison's crab boat (for steamed crabs) or on the patio, where hot dogs and hamburgers will be available in honor of the holiday.

Nickel City Grill, Pratt Street Pavilion, (410) 752-0900. The grill, which specializes in contemporary American cuisine, won't be taking reservations tomorrow night; but the patio seats 200 so you might get a table. Guitarist Ellis Woodward will be playing from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday only.

Paolo's, Light Street Pavilion, Harborplace, (410) 539-7060. Paolo's is featuring a soft crab special for the holiday weekend, plus several all-American frozen drinks perfect for sipping on its terrace.

Phillips Harborplace, Light Street Pavilion, Harborplace, (410) 685-6600. The outdoor tables at Phillips get taken by 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.; and, manager Michael Gough says, the customers don't move until after the fireworks. A ragtime band will be playing in the bar all day.

Pier 500, Harborview Marina, 500 Harborview Drive, (410) 625-0500. The restaurant is located a few hundred feet from the fireworks barge, so it's gearing up for lots of people. The menu's emphasis will be on Maryland seafood, crab cakes, hamburgers and sweet potato fries. Outside on the pier, you'll find a roving ice cream man and a hot dog cart.

Rusty Scupper, 402 Key Highway, (410) 727-3678. The menu of seafood and prime rib is all-American to start with; the only thing the Scupper is doing special for the holiday is limiting seating to two hours.

Tandoor, Pratt Street Pavilion, Harborplace, (410) 547-0575. Starting at 8 p.m. tomorrow, Tandoor will offer a fixed-price menu of Indian food for $25 a person, which will include appetizers, a choice of four entrees, breads, coffee, dessert and champagne.

Taverna Athena, Pratt Street Pavilion, Harborplace, (410) 547-8900. You can get reservations on the terrace of this popular Greek restaurant only until 7 p.m. tomorrow night; after that, it's first come, first served.

Wayne's Barbecue, Light Street Pavilion, Harborplace, (410) 539-3810. A barbecue place should go all-out for the Fourth, so Wayne Brokke's new restaurant will be decorated to the nines and will offer rib specials. The restaurant does take reservations, but it's just about full.

Windows, Stouffer Harborplace Hotel, 202 E. Pratt St., (410) 547-1200. This formal hotel dining room expects to be booked for the night because it's on the fifth floor, high enough for a good view of the fireworks. There'll be live jazz playing in the lounge.

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