Southern Italian is backJudging from recent restaurant...

TABLE TALK

April 18, 1996|By Elizabeth Large

Southern Italian is back

Judging from recent restaurant openings in Baltimore, I'd have to say that what's old is new again: Southern Italian food is making a comeback in a big way. The latest example is Sotto Sopra at 405 N. Charles St., where the Vanguard Cafe used to be.

Of course, this isn't spaghetti with marinara sauce but homemade buckwheat pasta with spinach, potatoes and fontina cheese or filet of salmon in a basil, anchovies and garlic sauce -- you get the idea. The newly renovated dining room is very chic, far from the homey Little Italy spots you may think of when you think Southern Italian. Sotto Sopra's chef, Riccardo Bosio, was born near Milan and worked in Europe, New York and Washington, D.C., before coming to Baltimore.

It's Tenosix

I got three calls last week and a faxed request for the name of "that noodle place" I reviewed a while back, so here it is one more time: Tenosix at 1006 Light St., (410) 528-2146. Tenosix specializes in Asian noodles and other pasta dishes from around the world.

I've heard good things about Nates and Leon's Bird Feeder as an alternative to expensive stadium chow. For $8 you get a corned beef, turkey or roast beef sandwich, coleslaw, a bag of chips, a pickle and a brownie. You can pick up the bags before Oriole games in front of the deli at the corner of Pratt and Howard.

Required tipping

A reader raised an interesting question recently. She and her friends had dinner at a restaurant in Ellicott City, and the service was "extremely bad." They decided not to pay the 15 percent added to the checks of parties of six or more. (As at many places, the charge was stated in advance on the menu.) The manager and waitress chased after them and threatened to have them arrested if they didn't pay. Could they do that? she wanted to know.

In an informal consultation and off the top of his head, lawyer and good eater David Pessin, a sometime dining companion, pointed out that the "contract" (the menu) didn't promise good service, just service, i.e., putting the meal on the table. So while there was no criminal intent involved in not tipping, and therefore it was unlikely they would be arrested, there might be the basis for a civil suit.

"But what restaurant owner in his right mind would insist on a tip for bad service?" David asked rhetorically. "He'd be smarter in the long run to offer the party a free meal."

On the sidewalks of Canton

By the time you read this, it may be warm enough for Weber's on Boston to have put out its sidewalk tables. According to the restaurant, this will be Canton's first sidewalk cafe -- but I bet it won't be its last. Weber's is located at 845 S. Montford Ave.; the tables will be right out front.

Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Large, Table Talk, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Or fax to (410) 783-2519.

Pub Date: 4/18/96

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