Ethiopian food, and an international buffet, are as close as Charles Street

TABLE TALK

February 10, 2000|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Sun Restaurant Critic

If you're still driving to Washington for Ethiopian food, you probably don't know about Five Seasons at 322 N. Charles St. Seven nights a week owners Rebecca Atnafou and Solomon Belay serve an a la carte Ethiopian dinner; Monday through Friday there's an international lunch buffet for $6.99 with dishes from Asia, Latin America, Uganda and Kenya as well as Ethiopia. On Fridays the buffet features mostly seafood.

Dinner specialties include a vegetarian sampler that offers choices like spicy red lentils, collard greens and cabbage. Sauteed lamb and sauteed chicken are also popular.

If you're interested in eating the traditional way, from one large basket, you should ask for a table in the upstairs dining room.

Five Seasons has a liquor license and offers live entertainment on the weekend.

Coming to Canton

As if the Can Company in Canton doesn't already have enough good places to eat, it'll be getting a new Italian restaurant this spring or early summer. Franco-Zeppi (co-owner Joseph Drecchio says they're "99 percent sure" that will be its name) will have counter service, but the food will be cooked when you order it.

"The food will be as good as a [table-service] Italian restaurant," Drecchio says, "but it will be very fast."

Dinner entrees will range in price from $6 for pasta to $13 for veal. The restaurant will have a liquor license.

New at Lista's

When is a Mexican restaurant not a Mexican restaurant? When it's Lista's at 1637 Thames St. in Fells Point. Some of the Mexican specialties are still on the new menu, but the emphasis is now on American bar food: burgers, ribs, sandwiches, homemade soups and wings. And the name has changed slightly; it's now Lista's Bar & Grill.

Crash Cafe

It sounds like a sick joke, a chain restaurant with a theme of crashes and explosions. A lot of people thought the Crash Cafe would never happen. But now, against all odds, it looks as if the first restaurant in the proposed chain will open sometime in April or May at the southern end of the Inner Harbor. One of the draws will be a DC-3 airplane, which will appear to be crashing into the restaurant's exterior -- burning rubble, smoke and all. No body parts, I hope.

Chef John Walsh's menu is tapas-inspired, with small dishes that can be mixed and matched, like portobello mushroom risotto napoleon, hot smoked salmon, free-range chicken drummettes and crispy banana spring roll.

Aphrodisiac dinner

Forget the box of chocolates. How about an "Aphrodisiac Dinner for Two" from Harbor Court on Valentine's Day? To go, no less. The four-course menu created by chef Tom Olson includes poached white and green asparagus with berries dressed with vinaigrette, a celery root bisque with lobster and morels, beef Wellington with potatoes and baby vegetables and, for dessert, chocolate-dipped strawberries and petits fours. The all-inclusive cost is $90; the dinner must be ordered today by 6 p.m.

Adios, Red River

Area Red River Barbecue & Grille locations in Annapolis, Columbia, Frederick and Woodbridge, Va., aren't long for this world. Famous Dave's of America has bought them up and will convert them to Famous Dave's Barbecue restaurants in the next four months.

More chain news: Red Robin has opened its first location in Maryland -- in Owings Mills Mall. The 147-restaurant chain is known for its burgers and more burgers, with names like Monster Burger and Bleu Ribbon Burger. You get the drift.

Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits 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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