For fresh, tasty seafood, drop anchor at Atlantis

Dining: The new eating place in Harper's Choice Village Center offers an extensive menu of skillfully prepared appetizers and entrees.

February 17, 2000|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Seafood lovers can stop searching the seven seas for fresh fare, skillfully prepared. Atlantis Seafood & Grill opened Jan. 31 in Harper's Choice Village Center in Columbia.

Owner Bobbi Aliapanah has transformed the space, formerly occupied by the Gringada Mexican restaurant, into a tranquil, upscale eating place.

The 135-seat restaurant -- decorated with wooden model ships and other nautical memorabilia -- has a private banquet room and cocktail bar.

The extensive menu offers an array of appetizers, including hot crab dip Aliapanah, described as a house specialty; clams casino; crab imperial stuffed mushroom caps; and raw bar selections.

Entrees from the sea range from oysters Atlantis (oysters stuffed with shrimp, lump crab meat and spinach, and topped with Parmesan cheese and bernaise sauce) for $18.95, to blackened mahi mahi served with a spicy mustard sauce for $16.95 and a broiled crab cake sandwich, $9.95.

Diners who aren't in the mood for seafood can choose from a variety of beef, poultry and pasta dishes.

Patrons may be tempted to forgo the fish in favor of prime rib, boneless barbecue chicken or shrimp fettuccine Alfredo.

The restaurant also offers a few vegetarian selections and diet entrees such as a combination platter of steamed orange roughy, sea scallops and veggies for $14.95.

The children's menu includes fried shrimp, chicken fingers, grilled cheese and a cheeseburger ($4.95 each), all served with fries.

When the weather warms up, Aliapanah plans to offer outdoor seating and will have hard-shell crabs available for eat-in or carryout.

Aliapanah got his first taste of the restaurant business working in his parents' carryout, Old Western Chicken and Chips, in Laurel Mall.

After college, he worked for Mo's Seafood Factory, a restaurant in Glen Burnie.

He brought the chef from Mo's to work with him in his new venture.

"I've always worked in the restaurant business," Aliapanah said. "I decided it was time for me to do it on my own."

A classically trained pianist and graduate of Peabody Institute, he looks forward to playing a piano for patrons in the bar.

"Piano has been my thing since I was a kid," he said.

This summer, Aliapanah will release a compact disc of instrumental music in which he is backed by a full orchestra. He says he'll use the CD as a giveaway at the restaurant.

Aliapanah is confident that Atlantis Seafood & Grill will be a hit.

"The food speaks for itself," he said. "I believe in high-quality, fresh seafood. I get a delivery of fresh seafood daily. I just know that once they come in here and try the food, people are going to be repeat customers."

Atlantis Seafood & Grill

Where: Harper's Choice Village Center, 5485 Harper's Farm Road, Columbia; 410-772-8788.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Prices: Appetizers, $4.95 to $14.95; entrees, $5.95 to $25.95.

Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Diner's Club.

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