New chef looks for fresh and finny


July 25, 1996|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,SUN RESTAURANT CRITIC

Don't worry. The fried lobster tails aren't in jeopardy, and you're still going to be able to get the Caesar salad at the Polo Grill. But 37-year-old Thomas Brown, the restaurant's new chef as of three weeks ago, has some definite ideas about how he can improve the menu. The emphasis, he says, will be on fresh and very seasonal ingredients, more seafood and less busy plates. Although Brown's background is in French food, the Polo Grill's signature American dishes will remain.

"But I'm going to be working on that bread basket," he warns. "I'm not going to be sending out white rolls and sesame breadsticks anymore."

208 Talbot honored

Only one restaurant in Maryland received the DiRoNA (Distinguished Restaurants of North America) award this year, and it isn't in Baltimore or Annapolis. You'll have to go to St. Michaels to enjoy dinner at 208 Talbot. The award is given by a nonprofit organization of nearly 750 restaurants. Candidates must pass a detailed and anonymous inspection for "superior commitment to dining excellence." Six other Maryland hTC restaurants are past DiRoNA award recipients: the Brass Elephant, Hampton's, Prime Rib, Rudys' 2900, Northwoods in Annapolis and Tragara in Bethesda.

Fajitas on wheels

Feel like fajitas but don't have the energy to go out? Pretty soon you'll be able to dial (410) 235-BEAN and have them delivered to the door -- if you live in the Hampden area, that is. Holy Frijoles has just opened at 908 W. 36th St., and it's cute as a bug's ear. Look for delivery as soon as owners Scott French and Geoff Danek get the sit-down restaurant part of the business running smoothly.

The food is basic Tex-Mex, but everything is made fresh on the premises except the tortillas. And more good news: Nothing costs more than $10.

Grilled cheese, upscale

The best variation I've had recently on the grilled cheese sandwich was at the new Cafe Pangea in Hampden. Herbed focaccia is split and filled with fontina cheese, roasted red pepper strips and mushrooms, then grilled until the cheese melts and the outside of the focaccia is hot and slightly crusty. Not exactly lo-cal fare, but worth every guilty mouthful.

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: 7/25/96

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