Titanic's last meal

Table Talk

March 19, 1998|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,SUN RESTAURANT CRITIC

Jason Bulkeley sees himself as the James Cameron of the restaurant business -- at least on April 14, when he'll be re-creating the last dinner served on the Titanic. His restaurant, the Orchard Market and Cafe (8815 Orchard Tree Lane, Towson), will abandon its Persian cuisine for one night and duplicate selections from the original 11-course first-class menu of the ship. (The kitchen will limit itself to a mere eight courses of French-Edwardian cuisine.) April 14, of course, is the anniversary of the Titanic's sinking.

The staff plans to dress in period costume, the tables will be set to the specifications of the ship's first-class dining salons, and Peabody Conservatory students will provide appropriate live music. Dress is formal, and period costumes for the guests are recommended.

Dinner starts with oysters a la russe and ends with Waldorf pudding or peaches in Chartreuse jelly, with many good things in between. The bad news is that it took the restaurant less than a week to book all the tables, simply by word of mouth. And that's in spite of the fact that dinner had to be paid for in advance ($47 per person). Not to worry. Something this successful is bound to be repeated.

Return of O'Leary's

O'Leary's (310 Third St., Annapolis), which closed abruptly last fall, should reopen in April. New owners Paul Meyer and Charles Bauer are renovating the interior but plan to keep O'Leary's as a seafood-only restaurant. "Annapolis' only seafood-only restaurant on the water," says Meyer. One notable change: The new owners plan to keep entree prices under $20.

Mum's not the word

After owner/chef Kenneth Knief bought Mum's Tavern (136 Dock St., Annapolis), he renovated and reopened it last year as Ego Alley. At least that's the bar downstairs -- you might miss the fact that upstairs is Samson's Dining Room, named after Knief's dog.

Not the most promising name for a fine-dining restaurant. But the menu features dishes like "fricassee of skate with fresh cactus, prickly pear and a habanero coulis" and seared foie gras for a first course, to be followed by "stewed baby octopus in an aromatic rosemary, garlic and Roma tomato reduction surrounded by towers of bread and vegetable" or "pan seared amberjack sauteed with 'purses' of escargot, shiitakes and leeks on a thyme-Riesling sauce with lemon orzo" or even more elaborate presentations for veal loin or beef tenderloin. Wow.

Dinner entree prices run from $16 for a vegetable and pasta dish to $39 for a whole Maine lobster with other seafood.

Pub Date: 3/19/98

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