New but familiar in Fells Point

TABLE TALK

August 19, 1999|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Sun Restaurant Critic

The owners are natives of Greece, but right now you won't find any Greek dishes on the menu at Fells Point's new Gemini Bistro (710 S. Broadway), which opened last week. Instead, chef Brigitte Bledsoe prepares dishes like grilled tuna with wild mushroom beurre blanc topped with crispy fried leeks, and jumbo lump Creole crab cakes with remoulade and roasted corn relish.

Greek food will be added as specials soon, says Chris Solomonides, who with his twin brother, Theo, owns Gemini.

Bledsoe's cooking is known to Fells Point habitues because she worked at Tapestry before she moved on to Morgan Millard in Roland Park and then to Gemini.

The restaurant, which was Mike's Bar, was renovated by the twins themselves. It features a long wooden bar in the front with tables in the back and a dining room upstairs. The decor is minimalist, with original brick walls and pretty tables accented in green.

Gemini is open for dinner Monday through Thursday and for lunch and dinner Friday through Sunday. Entrees are $15 to $18, and major credit cards are accepted.

Tweaking the menus

Looking for something old and something new? Three established Baltimore eateries have interesting new menus:

The Rusty Scupper (Inner Harbor Marina) is featuring Maryland blue crab on its summer menu in a variety of dishes, from crab fondue with focaccia to cream of crab soup to crab cakes with chive-mustard aioli. Steamed crabs are also available, and the Scupper will do a crab feast for 30 or more people.

Cafe Pangea (4007 Falls Road) now offers everything from grilled breast of duck with wine-cherry sauce to pepper-crusted lamb with sweet potato puree. An elaborate Sunday brunch includes frittatas, waffles, steak and eggs, and curried Maryland crab on toast points.

The Brass Elephant (924 N. Charles St.) has introduced a four-course tasting menu for $30 a person. Available Sunday through Friday, it's designed to attract new and younger customers who think of the Brass Elephant with its luxurious setting as a special-occasions-only restaurant.

About those 'specials'

Since I printed the letter from Rocco's Capriccio that defended the practice of not telling customers the cost of recited specials, I've received lots of mail pro and con. But Tracey Cohen, spokeswoman for the Restaurant Association of Maryland, is worried about something else, namely these sentences in the letter: "We at Rocco's Capriccio do not serve specials. Specials are yesterday's leftovers that the restaurant is trying to get rid of." (The letter instead called them "signature dishes.")

"I need to take a moment and correct any consumer misconceptions about specials being leftovers," Cohen writes. "Restaurateurs agree specials are an opportunity for operators to offer a variety of fresh, seasonal items without changing their entire menu. Chefs use specials as a means to showcase their talents and test new recipes. . . . On behalf of all RAM members, I would like to invite consumers to not only dine out often but also to order the specials."

And be sure to ask what they cost.

Garden Spot Cafe hours

Last week when I wrote about the new Garden Spot Cafe in Towson, I got the weekend hours wrong. It's open Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and closed on Sunday. My apologies to anyone who was inconvenienced.

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.

New but familiar in Fells Point

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