Treaty of Paris is a real treat Food is pricey, but service and quality justify it

January 22, 1998|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN STAFF

The Treaty of Paris restaurant hasn't been a landmark in Annapolis for decades without reason. It's easily one of the best restaurants in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

It is pricey, but its small-town, historic atmosphere and superior food could rival any major city's best.

Situated beneath the Maryland Inn on Main Street, Treaty of Paris offers a menu that includes local favorites such as stuffed ,, rockfish and unusual items such as Duck Duet Confit, a grilled duck breast covered in dried cherries.

Each dish is matched with sides, usually arriving on the plate artistically. The rack of lamb comes with roasted garlic flan, the New York strip steak shows up with almond potato croquets, and the grilled salmon is paired with leeks and oyster mushrooms.

My friend and I arrived late on a Friday without reservations but had to wait only 10 minutes for a table.

We were impressed right away with the popovers, fresh out of the oven, which melted before you could chew them.

The fresh mozzarella and tomato Napoleon for $6.95 was so attractively arranged that we had to ask how to eat it.

I decided to try the twin lobster crab cakes, a personal favorite, while my friend ordered the stuffed rockfish. Each was $23.95. But just before they arrived, our waiter brought out lime sorbet, which was a nice touch.

The restaurant's executive chef, Richard Breza, seems to know taste buds well. My cakes of crab and lobster meat, sitting in lemon caper veloute, couldn't have been better. And not a single shell.

My friend said the rockfish stuffed with lump crab meat was well seasoned, with each half complementing the other perfectly, a tricky feat with two flavorful seafoods.

Almost too full to eat more, we went for dessert anyway and chose a chocolate covered chocolate mouse in raspberry sauce for $4.95. It was one of those rare moments in dining when something tastes too amazing to be real.

Perhaps my favorite part of the restaurant was our waiter, Leonid, who was attentive, funny and charming even in the subdued, somewhat stuffy atmosphere.

Our meal, not including tip but with a tasty $20 bottle of Australian red wine, came to $89.04.

The Treaty of Paris is not a place most people could afford often, but when they do, they won't be disappointed.

Treaty of Paris

Where: Main Street and Church Circle, Annapolis. 410-269-0990

Hours: Dinner, 5: 30 p.m. to 9: 30 p.m. (last seating at 9 p.m.) Sunday through Thursday; 5: 30 p.m. to 10 p.m. (last seating at 9: 30 p.m.) Friday and Saturday. Lunch, 11: 30 a.m. to 2: 30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 10 a.m. to 2: 30 p.m. Sunday, Hunt Board Brunch.

Prices: Appetizers, $6.95-$9.25; entrees, $18.95-$25.95

Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express; Diners Club

(but call in advance so they can set out the ramp)

Rating: ****

Ratings: * culinary wasteland

**** culinary heaven

Pub Date: 1/22/98

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