You want noodles? Tenosix has noodles

February 22, 1996|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,SUN RESTAURANT CRITIC

Baltimore has its first noodle restaurant, and it's a winner. Just about everyone is going to like Tenosix: Those in the know who know it's so New York, your kid who lives on Oodles of Noodles, those with vegetarian leanings, those who love ethnic dishes, those who think $10 is a nice average price for dinner.

Rice noodles. Glass noodles. Penne and linguine. Macaroni casserole. Tenosix has them all.

Not only do you get noodles, you get style. A vase of red and yellow tulips greets you at the door. You walk past an open kitchen (you could eat at the counter and watch) to the small dining area in back, which is painted soft yellow. A striking abstract painting holds your attention. The round faux slate tables are spacious, with room for your own water pitcher, wonderful butter plates that are really bowls, quirkly little salt and pepper shakers in the shape of vegetables.

I'm not saying everything here is perfect. I might as well get the bad news over with. The kitchen needs to season its food more judiciously. It's one thing to make the "Spicy Peanut Sesame Sauce" noodles so hot your customers' hair catches on fire. At least you've warned them. But "Michael's Sausage Noodle Casserole" -- shells baked with Italian sausage, mushrooms and an otherwise admirable Parmesan cream sauce -- was also too fiery to eat. And the fresh spinach, central to several dishes, was oversalted.

But all that is easily fixed. The concept is great: dishes from various cultures based on noodles, not overly fussed with but very prettily presented. For instance, the green and white of the chopped artichokes and leeks in a suave white wine sauce over green and white fettucini was enhanced with a confetti of sweet red pepper. The flavors were subtle and pleasing.

Noodles also come in Japanese, Chinese and Italian soups; but if you're afraid you'll be noodled out by the end of the meal, you could start with thin slices of Chinese smoked pork with a zingy hoisin or large shrimp in a fresh tomato sauce.

No, there's no noodle kugel for dessert. But there is a handsome chocolate cake, something like a fallen souffle; a French apple tart; and my favorite, a dynamite fresh pear tart, all made on the premises.

Tenosix

1006 Light St.

(410) 528-2146

Major credit cards

Open every day 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Prices: appetizers, $4.95-$9.95; entrees, $7.95-$13.95

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