A brand new identity for a familiar spot

Changes: The former Hunter's Lodge has been transformed into Blue Pointe Grille, complete with a new look, a different menu and reduced prices

Restaurant profile

October 25, 2001|By Jody K. Vilschick | Jody K. Vilschick,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

There's a new restaurant in town - at least, that's what Mike Strati, manager of Blue Pointe Grille, wants everyone to think. The former Hunter's Lodge restaurant closed during the summer to reopen recently as Blue Pointe Grill.

"We absolutely redid everything, rethought everything we were doing," Strati says. "We changed the appearance of the place, inside and out, and brought our prices down so that anyone can go there anytime."

Changes to the menu, Strati says, include a new emphasis on seafood. Look for Crispy Gulf Shrimp (served with shredded phyllo with a garlic remolade), smoked salmon (served over French bread with horseradish cream, capers, onions and tomatoes), Shrimp and Crab Alfredo (fresh gulf shrimp and jumbo lump crabmeat served over linguini) and Shrimp Fra Diavlo (shrimp, mussels, clams, crabmeat and sea scallops served with ripe tomatoes, basil, garlic and peppers).

"We also added some items that everyone seems to love, but can't get anymore because they're so labor intensive," Strati says.

These specialties include Oysters on the Half (freshly shucked and served chilled with fresh horseradish and local tomatoes) and Traditional Oysters Rockefeller (with spinach over the oysters, baked and served with asiago cheese).

Other menu changes include a variety of "over-stuffed sandwiches," such as the restaurant's Big Half Pound Angus Burger (served with lettuce and tomato on a toasted kaiser roll with "beach" fries), Spicy Creole Grilled Chicken Breast (with avocado, lettuce, tomato and zesty mayonnaise with beach fries), Blacken Tuna Club (with jack cheese, smoked bacon and Creole remolade) and Jumbo Lump Crab Cake sandwich.

Other menu items include Flatten Chicken (with garlic mash and drizzled in balsamic vinegar), pork chops (grilled Canadian center cut finished in ligonberry jus), Blackened Chicken and Spinach (served with garlic, tomatoes and fresh basil over linguini) and Grilled Ahi Tuna (served with roasted garlic, marinated sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and opal basil over linguini with asiago cheese).

A variety of beef entrees is available, including prime rib, filet mignon, Porterhouse steak and New York strip.

But fans of Hunter's Lodge should not despair - the most popular elements of the former restaurant remain, Strati says. Jeff Crise is still the head chef, and he has retained eight of the most popular entrees from the Hunter's Lodge menu.

Crise still makes his daily specials - up to eight a day; these include sea scallops over wild rice served with a garlic white wine sauce; or soft-shell crab tempura served with coconut risotto. Crise plans to introduce midweek specials that will include lobster, prime rib or Alaskan king crab claws.

The Hunter's Lodge wine list is largely intact (with more than 200 choices), although "we've greatly increased our glass wines," Strati says.

"Overall, we wanted to make our restaurant more approachable," he says. "We wanted a place where anyone can come at anytime - even in jeans and a T-shirt - and be comfortable, but sit down to a meal they'll remember for a long time."

Blue Pointe Grille

Where: 9445 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, 21042, 410-461-4990.

Hours: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Prices: $6.25 to $21.75.

Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express

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