Formality and fun under one roof

Hunters' Lodge features fine dining upstairs, live music downstairs

Restaurant Profile

January 27, 2000|By Jill Hudson Neal | Jill Hudson Neal,SUN STAFF

Off to the side of the main entrance of the Hunters' Lodge, one of Howard County's premier fine dining establishments, is a door that leads downstairs to a live music venue.

Called the Stone Cellar, the 2,500-square-foot room rocks three nights a week to the sounds of local bands that play blues, funk, rock, ska and reggae.

The room is making a name for itself as an East Coast stopover on the live-music circuit among national acts such as Jimmie's Chicken Shack, a popular band scheduled to headline a show in the coming months.

Hunters' Lodge owner Michael Stratigareas said the Stone Cellar and its upstairs sibling operate almost as two distinct businesses.

"The two have a very different market and very different clientele," Stratigareas said. "We'd like to think the Hunters' Lodge is on its way to becoming one of the top five fine-dining restaurants in the Baltimore region. Downstairs is something else, but still fun."

In contrast to the formal, hunting-and-fishing decor of the Hunters' Lodge, the Stone Cellar features a bar and smoking area, pool tables, video games and a stage. The room seats 225 people.

But the focus remains on the Hunters' Lodge, which has become one of the more popular restaurants along the U.S. 40 corridor and one of Ellicott City's more elegant dining establishments.

Open in its current incarnation since 1997, the Hunters' Lodge building has been a popular restaurant venue for nearly 90 years. Most recently a Chinese restaurant, Stratigareas spent hundreds of thousands of dollars restoring the former log cabin to its original rustic glory. A room above the restaurant has become a favored location for special occasions.

The cuisine -- modern or contemporary American with an Asian influence -- changes by season. Winter means more tubular vegetables, starches and red meat. Summer brings fresh fish and lighter fowls such as squab or pheasant.

Appetizers include hoisin-glazed calamari with a sesame vinaigrette, wild game spring rolls over rice noodles with pear compote and hoisin remoulade, and crispy shrimp with Thai peanut sauce over soba noodle salad.

The entree list is loaded with a traditional Greek mousaka, sesame-seared salmon over wild rice risotto, Maryland jumbo-lump crab cakes and a whole Tuscan chicken. Pasta dishes are varied, including a shrimp stir-fry, penne with snow peas, carrots, pine nuts and shiitake mushrooms, and shellfish pasta.

Hunters' Lodge

Where: 9445 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City; 410-461-4990.

Hours: Monday through Friday, lunch is from 11: 30 a.m. until 2: 30 p.m., 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. for dinner, Saturday, 5 p.m. until 11 p.m., and Sunday 4 p.m. until 10 p.m.

Prices: Appetizers, $4 to $15; entrees, $13 to $25

Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Diners Card

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