Tony Cheng's changes hands


April 26, 2001|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,SUN RESTAURANT CRITIC

A week ago last Saturday, the building housing Tony Cheng's Chinese restaurant (801 N. Charles St.) quietly changed hands. The owner of the Great Fortune Buffet in Cockeysville, who refers to himself simply as Lo, has taken it over and plans to keep things much the same, at least for the present. Eventually, Lo wants to update the menu and renovate the dining rooms. His plans include keeping the first floor an upscale Sichuan restaurant and making the second floor a Japanese restaurant and sushi bar. He'll probably call the two the Fortune Restaurant or the Fortune Szechuan Restaurant.

Bombay Grill, the Indian restaurant that leases space in the basement, won't be affected.

Meanwhile, Lo is planning to open another restaurant, the Grand Fortune - offering everything the Cockeysville buffet does plus a Mongolian grill - at the end of the month at 2654 Chapel Lake Drive in Gambrills.

Scotto's out, Ixia in

For many years the restaurant at 518 N. Charles St. was Louie's the Bookstore Cafe. Then last fall it was sold and became Louie's, an Italian restaurant, and then Scotto's. Now look for another change of owners, name and concept; it's been taken over by the owners of the Papermoon Diner on 29th Street. After some cosmetic renovation (the space was extensively renovated before it became Scotto's), a "New American fusion" restaurant named Ixia should open in mid- or late May.

Ixia is a South African flower; the name was chosen, says Dan Robinson, general manager of operations, because, like the flower, the restaurant's atmosphere will be "simple, beautiful and elegant."

The restaurant's new chef is Edward Kim, who last worked at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington. Ixia will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., probably seven days a week.

Changing Chameleon

During the day, the Chameleon Cafe at 4341 Harford Road will be a coffee shop; at night it will become a full-service restaurant. Hence the name.

Owner-chef and Parkville native Jeff Smith, who now calls himself Henry because he's sick of Frugal Gourmet references, is hoping to open the cafe in two or three months.

Smith has been cooking for the last 11 years: He attended the Baltimore Culinary Institute, worked at Citronelle locally, then moved to New Orleans and spent time in Emeril Lagasse's kitchen and several other restaurants there. His eclectic dinner menu at Chameleon will be small, with lots of seasonal specials.

The two-room space will have seating for around 40. Smith's wife, artist Brenda Wolf Smith, is doing the interior design.

A new Twist

Check out the new Le French Twist at 11 W. Preston St. for lunch. The owner is Michel Henry, a native of France who also runs Le French Twist Catering. Right now, the restaurant is just open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, but Henry plans to start serving breakfast and dinner this fall. Lunch consists of quiches, crepes, salads and the like, all made on the premises.

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 410-783-2519; or e-mail to

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