Double delight: Spanish and Mexican

TABLE TALK

May 27, 1999|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Sun Restaurant Critic

Feel like Latino food but can't decide between a Mexican mole or Spanish paella? You won't find the decision any easier at Jalapenos (Forest Plaza shopping center in Parole), but at least you'll be able to get either one at the same place. The new restaurant specializes in the traditional cuisines of Mexico and Spain.

Partners Gonzalo Fernandez and Alberto Serrano have previously been associated with several well-known Annapolis restaurants: Northwoods, Michaelangelo, Fergie's and the Maryland Inn's Treaty of Paris.

Jalapenos is open every day for lunch and dinner. Entrees run from $7.95 to $15.

A new garden

The owners of the Mughal Garden downtown will be opening a new restaurant in Cockeysville soon. India Palace (Yorktowne Plaza) should be in business by early June, serving much the same northern Indian cuisine as the Baltimore restaurant -- lots of seafood, chicken and vegetarian dishes.

Lights lunch

The day was sunny and breezy, just right for an outdoor lunch at Harborplace. My friend and I ended up at City Lights, the Light Street Pavilion's second-level seafood restaurant. It was crowded -- you couldn't fit another table covered with a red-and-white-checked cloth on the terrace -- but the service was swift and the food enjoyable.

I ordered my first soft crab of the season. It came plump and crisply fried, in a sandwich with tomato aioli. On the side: seasoned french fries and tomato coriander slaw.

My friend had a decent beef and black bean chili that looked even prettier than it tasted. (Hard for chili to do.) It was decorated with fresh coriander and chopped tomato, and had three baby corn muffins placed around the edges of the flat bowl.

Be warned, though. Lunch with a couple of nonalcoholic drinks and nothing else came to $31 before tip.

On the noise front

I got an e-mail recently from a reader complaining about noisy restaurants, my pet peeve. "We now refuse to patronize any restaurant that cannot -- or will not -- keep the noise level pleasant enough for us to talk to one another. ... We can tolerate a higher level in a casual place, but if we are paying for a nicer meal in better surroundings, we don't want to have to yell to be heard," the reader said.

That reminded me of a letter I got after my mostly positive review of Legal Sea Foods in the Inner Harbor, in which I said I wouldn't be back any time soon because of the noise level.

"Although we might at times be a little slow on the pick up," wrote the chain's president and CEO Roger Berkowitz, "we are capable of responding. This past week we installed our new carpet and, lo and behold, it's a much quieter dining experience."

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 410-752-6049; or e-mail to elizabeth.large@baltsun.com.

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