After decades on Belair Road, Bo Brooks is considering a move to Canton

TABLE TALK

June 17, 1999|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Sun Restaurant Critic

Bo Brooks, that fixture on Belair Road, is planning to move to the Canton area by next spring. No lease has been signed yet, but owner Herman Hannan says he's looking to the Lighthouse Point pier as the new home for his crab house.

Over the years, Bo Brooks has lost its neighborhood customer base, although people still come from as far away as Pennsylvania for its jumbo crabs. "The building is old, it was put together piecemeal, and an opportunity has come up in Canton," says Hannan. "It's time to do something fresh after 35 or 40 years."

The crab house would have moved to Camden Yards in 1995, Hannan says, if Orioles owner Peter Angelos hadn't rejected the concept of a seafood restaurant in the new stadium. Later, a spot in the Can Company complex in Canton fell through as well.

The Bo Brooks name will stay the same, but Hannan has big plans for the new site. "We want to establish ourselves as a great Maryland seafood restaurant," he says. Not to worry. There will still be crabs.

Birds of another feather

Birds of a Feather (1712 Aliceanna St.) was always an odd little place, but then that's typical for Fells Point. Now the New American restaurant, which had quite good food, has changed its style and is serving typical bar fare. (Where once it was known for its rack of lamb, it's now famous for its reuben.) Birds of a Feather still has its great selection of single-malt scotches, though.

Ego Alley

From New American to pub grub seems to be where it's happening. Samson's (136 Dock St., Annapolis) -- which used to serve foie gras, rabbit, ostrich, veal loin and seafood -- has become Ego Alley Tropical Grill, an upscale pub with a game room upstairs. The food is now mainly American and Mexican bar food, with a few South Pacific items.

Empire strikes back

The Govans coffee bar Empire Cafe (5857 York Road) was always a better Asian eatery than it was a coffee bar, even when it only had a couple of stir-fried dishes on the menu. Now owner Kuong Phong has set up a full kitchen on the premises and turned the Empire Cafe into a Chinese restaurant. It's not as drastic a step as you might think. His parents own the Golden Szechuan Inn in Bel Air, so there's family tradition involved.

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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