Seems summer is the time to freshen up menus around town, even if you're the new kid on the block. Like George's on Mount Vernon Square, which opened the end of April on the Monument Street level of the Clarion Peabody Court Hotel (note the new name there).
The hotel's food and beverage director, Jason Franke, describes the restaurant as "fine dining done casually." In a couple of days, patrons will get their first crack at the restaurant's new menu, which includes items such as tomato and basil bruschetta ($5.50), grilled flank-steak Caesar salad ($8.95), and roasted chicken breast stuffed with brie, tomato and asparagus ($11.95).
While the menu has a slightly trendy flair, Franke says, the restaurant itself goes in the opposite direction. Its marble-top tables, hardwood floors and vintage architectural features offer both hotel guests and local diners a sense of Baltimore's elegant history.
George's on Mount Vernon Square is located at 101 W. Monument St. It's open daily for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Daily dinner hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Oh, and what about the name? Franke says the restaurant is named for three Georges who all had Baltimore ties: George Washington, George Peabody and George Herman Ruth, also known as Babe Ruth.
Rocky Run adds items
The local restaurants in the Rocky Run Tap & Grill chain have just overhauled their menu, adding about 25 new items. The folks there say some of the new hot sellers include a crab pretzel, a big soft pretzel topped with crab dip and melted jack and Cheddar cheeses ($7.98); the Cuban panini sandwich, which is roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, jalapeno mustard and pickles hot-pressed on a ciabatta roll ($7.61); and the grilled Caribbean trio -- skewers of marinated chicken, shrimp and steak, grilled with jerk seasonings and served with rice, roasted vegetables and deep-fried spinach ($12.76).
You'll find Rocky Runs in Columbia, Marley's Station and at 3105 St. Paul St. in Charles Village.
DeGroen's goes to pub fare
DeGroen's Grill, which surfaced about six months ago (it used to be the Baltimore Brewing Company), should be introducing its new menu any day now. While the restaurant has kept a couple of the Brewing Company's German dishes, such as wiener schnitzel ($18.50) and a sausage platter of bratwurst, weisswurst and bauernwurst ($13.50), the new menu contains mostly American pub dishes such as hamburgers ($7.50) and a crab cake platter (market price).
Fans of DeGroen's beer will be happy to know that the Baltimore Brewing Company -- which is still in the beer-making business -- is celebrating Christmas in July. Tomorrow, it's re-releasing its popular wintertime beer Dopplebock.
DeGroen's Grill is located at 108 Albemarle St. in Little Italy.
Black Olive expands
The Black Olive just keeps on growing. The popular upscale Greek eatery in Fells Point now has a patio and a wine cellar. Stelios Spiliadis, who owns the restaurant with wife Pauline and son Dimitris, says the patio and cellar are the last part of the Black Olive's recent expansion (in which the restaurant doubled in size).
The patio seats 25, and the wine cellar not only stores vino at just the right temperature, it also can be reserved for private dinners -- up to 12 guests for a $350 fee, plus the cost of the meal.
Spiliadis says Dimitris decided to model the cellar on the room at the Hatzimihalis winery, one of Greece's oldest.
"Everybody who sees it comments on how beautiful the room is," Spiliadis says.
The Black Olive is located at 814 S. Bond St. It's open seven days a week. Lunch hours are 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please fax suggestions to Sloane Brown at 410-675-3451 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.