Cajun concept in Cherry Hill

TABLE TALK

August 08, 2002|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Add a little blue to the Cherry Hill neighborhood. That's Cajun Blu - a restaurant that opened its doors at 1810 Cherry Hill Road a little over a week ago.

The Cajun concept comes from Scott Nero, a partner in the eatery with Baltimore native Ken Whitfield. Nero grew up in Louisiana; he moved here in 1971.

While the dinner menu does offer some dishes with a Cajun zing, such as jambalaya ($12.95) and shrimp creole ($15.95), there are plenty of other choices, including marinated chicken breast stuffed with crab imperial ($15.95), pork chops ($15.95) and baked filet of catfish ($15.95). You'll even find a few pasta items.

Dinner isn't your only option at Cajun Blu. It's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and for brunch on Sunday.

Catering manager Tynise Siakor-Sirleaf describes the restaurant as "not exactly fine dining, but upscale." It has a powder-blue and cream interior, with touches of gold. There are several dining areas, and each has been given the name of a New Orleans locale. The downstairs dining room is Bourbon Street, the patio is the Bayou, and the ballroom-conference room is the French Quarter.

While Siakor-Sirleaf emphasizes that Cajun Blu is not a nightclub, it will offer live jazz on occasion. The first date is Aug. 17. The restaurant also will offer valet parking Friday and Saturday evenings.

Looney-ness spreads

Pretty soon, Canton won't be the only locale that can claim it's a bit looney.

At least, if we're talking Looney's Pub. The owners of the 9-year-old Canton Square hangout are opening Looney's North in Bel Air.

Nicole Callender, Looney's Canton manager, says owners Bill Larney and Steve Litrenta are shooting for a mid-August opening. She says the new place (312 S. Main St.) will be the same as the original sports bar and restaurant, just bigger.

The pub-fare menu will also be the same, with a few additions such as fajitas and chicken sandwiches.

New on the Inner Harbor

Visitors to the Inner Harbor have a new dining option. Catalina Restaurant - run by the Sahel Inc. restaurant-management group out of Washington - opened about a month ago at Harborview, where the South Harbor Tavern closed last November.

General manager Faith Rubin says that since the restaurant overlooks the edge of the Harborview Marina, a theme of various island getaways seemed a natural.

One glance at the menu, and you catch their - ahem - drift. Every item is named for a seaside locale. There's the Trinidad appetizer: coconut popcorn shrimp with a spicy curry dipping sauce ($10). How about the Ocean Reef, Key Largo sandwich: a grilled chicken club ($12)? Or consider the Manhattan, a grilled New York strip ($18) or, perhaps, Sicily, fettuccine and chicken with vodka sauce ($12).

Rubin says Sahel completely redid the building's interior, opening up the space and adding a contemporary feel with lots of blond wood and recessed lighting. The color scheme? What else but teal, blue and - yep - salmon.

Catalina Restaurant is at 500 Harborview Drive, right off Key Highway. Its hours are 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11:30 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please fax suggestions to Sloane Brown at 410-675-3451, or e-mail her at sloane@livetabletalk.com.

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