Linwood's/Due opens with specialty of Northern Italian food


September 05, 1993|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

Make it two for Linwood and Ellen Dame.

Last week, the Owings Mills restaurateurs opened their long-awaited second spot -- Linwood's/Due (pronounced Doo-A) -- a Northern Italian trattoria next door to their Cafe-Grille. Although it's more casual than the original, Due, 25 Crossroads Drive, does have a similar open kitchen that allows diners to peek in as executive chef Mark Hofmann (formerly of the Pavilion) prepares Tuscan-style osso buco with garlic mashed potatoes or saffron risotto with grilled vegetables.

While it's still too early to name favorites, we hear that the pastas and pizzas (from the wood-burning oven) have been winners so far.

Mr. Dame, who is also known for creating diet-devastating desserts, has whipped up some enticing-sounding sweets here, including cappuccino creme brulee, chocolate hazelnut cake and tiramisu.

The decor, created by interior designer Alexander Baer, plays up the Northern Italian theme with handmade ceramic plates and a mural of an Italian marketplace.

One of the most tightly held secrets over the last year has been just exactly what the place would be called. The couple decided on Due (which means "two" in Italian), because, says Mr. Dame, "It's simple, easy to pronounce, and this is our second restaurant."

HEATING UP FELLS POINT: As if things aren't hot enough in Fells Point already, Lista's, a New Mexican restaurant, is expected to make its debut at 1627 Thames St. Tuesday. Owned by chef Ruben Evangelista and his wife, Kathy, it should bring some competition to fellow Mexican newcomer, the Lone Star Grill, which opened recently in Harborplace.

Located where Surfside Sally's used to be in Brown's Wharf, Lista's has an Acapulco-meets-Santa-Fe feel with its atrium courtyard, patios and fountains. On the way to building a culinary paradise, Mr. Evangelista did hit a few snags, though: When he ordered 65 light fixtures from Mexico, he discovered they didn't pass American inspection and had to be completely rewired.

Look for a grand opening Sept. 17-19 with drink and food specials. Those who like fiery dishes might check out the five-alarm chipotle pepper chicken.

COINCIDENCE OR TREND?: We'll let you decide. In recent months, we've been struck by how many restaurants now offer Saturday brunch, including the World CafeXBar, Cafe Hon and Margaret's Cafe Open.

In fact, Denise Whiting, owner of Cafe Hon, 1009 W. 36th St. in Hampden, says Saturday brunch draws her biggest crowd of the week.

"If you go to brunch on a Sunday, it's often a dress-up thing," she says. "Here it's just laid-back and lazy. That's what people want after working hard all week."

LET THEM EAT CRAB: Incidentally, we hear that Margaret's Cafe Open, 909 Fell St., has become a favorite hangout for Fells Point locals. Although the eclectic menu showcases Italian, Thai, Mexican and Caribbean dishes, partner Margaret Footner tells us one entree is still tops with her clientele: the beloved Maryland crab cake.

QUOTH THE RESTAURATEUR: After three years in business, the Tell Tale Hearth is no more. Co-owner Ted Getzel has turned the pizzeria into the Cultured Commissary, a catering spot specializing in Mexican and Southwestern fare. Mr. Getzel, who is also the general manager of Mencken's Cultured Pearl, says that when the commissary isn't rented for parties, he may open it as a bar.

BALTIMORE'S SECRETS: If you're in the mood to sample some of Baltimore's best food, or at least some dishes that Baltimore magazine has touted as the best, the publication is sponsoring a party at Stouffer Harborplace Hotel Wednesday at 6 p.m. A variety of dishes will be represented, from chicken salad by the Woman's Industrial Exchange to hickory-smoked barbecue from Red Hot & Blue. Proceeds will go to the Child Abuse Prevention Center of Maryland.

Have news about local restaurants, chefs or clubs? Call (410) 332-6156 or write the Real Dish, Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, 21278.

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