The Baltimore area has its first Halal Chinese restaurant, O's Place in Woodlawn. Halal -- as restaurateur Syed A. "Sonny" Aziz describes it -- is the approved diet for Muslims. Aziz says all animals used for meat are slaughtered in accordance with Islamic rites (no pork allowed), and no food is cooked or served with alcohol.
Aziz opened his first Halal Chinese restaurant -- Oh's Palace -- in Alexandria, Va., two years ago. He says he noticed that many of his customers were making the trip from the Baltimore area, so, on March 29, he opened O's Place. Already, Aziz says, the restaurant is getting great response from Baltimore's Arab and African-American Muslim communities.
O's Place is at 1724 Woodlawn Drive. It's open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Extended hours are offered for parties.
Fusion fare at San Sushi
Word is getting around about the creative dishes coming out of San Sushi of Cockeysville. The Asian restaurant is now offering specials like blackened shrimp and tuna pizza, roasted red bell pepper soup and fettuccine with beef Thai. Not exactly your standard Japanese or Chinese fare.
All the credit goes to chef Paulie Choonhawongse, who has spent most of his 28 years as a chef specializing in European fine dining. He came on board San Sushi two months ago, at the invitation of his old friend Sam Sesum, the restaurant's owner.
While others make the sushi, Choonhawongse prepares about a half-dozen specials each day -- fusion cuisine style -- which are offered alongside the restaurant's Japanese and Chinese menu. Sometimes, he'll whip up something to order at a customer's request, depending on what he's got on hand in the kitchen. The specials generally run from about $15 to $25.
You'll find San Sushi of Cockeysville at 9832 York Road. It's open 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Citified in Frederick
There's a chic dining alternative these days to all the pubs that line Frederick's North Market Street. A place that'll make you feel downright citified.
The Tasting Room is a sleek new place that offers a large wine list and trendy martinis along with a slick menu that includes items like sevruga caviar ($54 for a half-ounce), beef carpaccio, hoisin grilled pork loin and sauteed rockfish saltimboca.
Manager Megan Fitzpatrick says this is the third restaurant opened by Frederick native Mike Tauraso. She says Tauraso's goal this time is to give Frederick an eatery with a "metropolitan-type atmosphere." She describes the place as modern -- black with yellow accents, and with a concrete bar as the centerpiece.
The Tasting Room is at 101 N. Market St. It's open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Dinner hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
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