Hollywood's menu

Table Talk

July 09, 1998|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,SUN RESTAURANT CRITIC

We've heard endlessly about Planet Hollywood's celebrities and its merchandise, but not much about the food. Now that one of the trendy chain's eateries has opened up in Harborplace, I thought it might be time to take a look at the menu. Even those who aren't planning to go now will probably end up eating there sooner or later -- dragged to it by their teen-agers or out-of-town visitors.

Not surprisingly, the food is mostly casual fare, with burgers, fajitas, pastas and salads front and center. There are three entrees: Ranchos Notorious Grilled Chicken, Meat Me in St. Louis Ribs and New York, New York Grilled Sirloin. The good news is that you'll probably spend more money in the souvenir shop than the restaurant proper. Prices range from $7.50 for a hamburger and fries to $17.95 for the sirloin steak.

Outdoors in style

The Oregon Grille near Oregon Ridge Park has just opened its new outdoor seating. The flagstone patio, which is landscaped with Japanese maples, shrubs and flowers, seats 90 or so. A bridge over a stream connects it to another patio where cocktails are served. Off the second floor is a deck with more tables.

Dinner amid topiary

If topiary tickles your fancy and you like interesting food, you'll be happy to learn that the Ladew Cafe, run by the Brass Elephant, is now open for dinner one night a week through Labor Day. Earlier this year, the catering arm of the northern Italian restaurant took over the lunch spot at the Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton. Now the weekday hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. have been extended until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Saturdays the cafe is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

Eating safely

Interested in food safety as much as a restaurant's ambience? Check out the Web site at www.marylandrestaurants.com/foodsafety.html. There you'll find a list of the first recipients of the Maryland Council on Food Safety's Seal of Commitment, awarded when at least 75 percent of a restaurant's staff completes an on-site educational seminar and the restaurant fulfills other food-safety requirements.

Cool new drink

A reader wrote to rave about a drink that's served at Shanghai Lil's. It's a new one on me. The recently opened Canton restaurant serves a "sake-tini" with its sushi -- a vodka martini made with sake instead of vermouth and garnished with cucumber. To quote the reader: "It was awesome ... so cool and refreshing!"

Zagat finds the deals

Zagat has just come out with its 1998/99 "America's Best Meal Deals." The Baltimore area's top-five value restaurants are, in descending order, Helmand, Narrows, Marconi's, Faidley's Seafood and Cantler's Riverside.

"Meal Deals" is a useful little guide to moderately priced places in 35 cities, but I have one complaint about the local listings. Reviews of a couple of Mount Vernon restaurants end with a warning to diners to be careful at night. Mount Vernon isn't any more dangerous - and maybe less - than several other neighborhoods mentioned; I'm sorry that the tourists who read "Meal Deals" will get the wrong idea.

Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Large, Table Talk, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278; fax to 410-783-2519; or e-mail to elizabeth.largaltsun.com.

Pub Date: 7/09/98

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