It's only January and I'm already wondering if the tapas bar is going to be 2002's restaurant of the year.
Recently, Red Maple opened at 930 N. Charles St., brought to you by some of the same folks who have the Good Love Bar in Canton. It serves Asian-influenced tapas in a chic New York industrial setting. The 16 items on the menu, ranging in price from $4 to $8, include seafood empanadas, tuna tartare and New York strip rosettes as well as Asian dishes.
Red Maple (there's a maple tree in the courtyard in back) is open 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. No jeans or tennis shoes are allowed.
Hot and small
The hottest new restaurant on the Eastern Shore may be the smallest.
Mathilda's on Mill Street in Oxford, where the Chatterbox used to be, seats only 36. It's run by Jorge and Emily Alvarez. (She does the cooking and was last in the kitchen of the Williamsburg Inn in Virginia.) The seasonal menu of French and Mediterranean dishes changes every two weeks. Entrees - such as red snapper over artichoke puree, rabbit stew, and fillet of tuna with seared foie gras - average $23.
Because the area is a boating community, the restaurant is less formal than a description of the food might imply. The dining room, done in soft, muted colors, is comfortable and casual.
Mathilda's is open for dinner only Monday through Saturday. Reservations are recommended, given the size of the dining room.
Sushi, day and night
What kind of food does an upscale night club offer? Obviously not pub grub. Redwood Trust, the popular new club at 200 E. Redwood St., has affiliated itself with San Sushi in Towson. The sushi restaurant has opened a branch in the club and serves lunch Wednesday through Friday. It's also open during club hours and Friday afternoons for happy hour.
Surprising Acknowledgement of Baltimore's Culinary Greatness: The fried onion rings at Burke's (36 Light St.) were among 162 reasons it's good to be an American man listed in the December issue of Esquire magazine.
Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Large, Table Talk, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278; fax to 410-783-2519; or e-mail to email@example.com.