Sunflowers spreading on Kent Island

TABLE TALK

November 11, 1999|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Sun Restaurant Critic

The namesake sunflowers are no longer around, but Sunflowers the restaurant is alive and kicking on Kent Island. The French-European fine-dining restaurant and its cafe opened in September; this week, owner Lisa Takala opens the Old Town Grill in the same Victorian house (401 Love Point Road). The grill serves steaks, barbecue sandwiches and the like. For fancier food, head for the Sunflowers dining room. There you can get dishes such as sweetbreads ($18) and rack of lamb ($26).

Have a Nice Day

If disco, the hustle, smiley faces, Burt Reynolds and other icons of the '70s make you feel groovy, you're going to love the Have a Nice Day Cafe, scheduled to open at 34 Market Place near the Inner Harbor on Nov. 18.

The retro dance club is part of a Charlotte, N.C.-based chain. It's the first new tenant in the Cordish Co.'s entertainment "district," scheduled to be completed next spring in the Brokerage complex.

Not a fan of the '70s? The club will feature '80s and '90s music and dancing, too. But you won't find as much food here as there is at the 18 other Have a Nice Day Cafes around the country. Management feels Baltimoreans need a great place to dance more than they need another place to eat.

New Mara Maru

Now what's a nice Canton pub doing naming itself after a boat in an Errol Flynn movie? Mara Maru opened last week where Harry's Last Resort used to be at 2324 Boston St. The minimalist space has been completely renovated. It now has high ceilings, lots of exposed brick, wood, glass brick and hand-painted murals. It looks a little too chic to be a neighborhood pub and sports bar, but that's what it is. There's even a game room upstairs. Right now, the food is mostly bar food; the menu may get more elaborate down the road.

Thanksgiving takeout

More and more people are choosing to eat their holiday meal out rather than slave over a hot turkey. But there is another alternative: takeout from your favorite restaurant. If a group of eight eats Thanksgiving dinner at Hampton's, for instance, the prix-fixe four-course meal will cost $440. But if you use the luxe restaurant's kitchen for your take-home meal, dinner for eight will be $150. That includes a 14-pound turkey, cranberry relish, garlic mashed potatoes, butternut squash, green beans, candied sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. It's not four courses, but it sure seems easier than doing the cooking yourself. Your favorite restaurant may well have a comparable deal for a holiday dinner.

Korean barbecue and sushi

Bok Joo, a respected chef at Nam Kang, the Korean and Japanese restaurant on Maryland Avenue, has left to open his own place, U-Jung (12-16 W. 20th St.) The new restaurant specializes in Korean barbecue cooked at table and has a sushi bar and a beer and wine license.

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 410-783-2502; or e-mail to elizabeth.large@baltsun.com.

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