A place to fuel up, Maryland-style

TABLE TALK

September 12, 2002|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

There's a new place to fuel up next to the Cockeysville Jiffy Lube, and we're not talking about sustenance for your car. The Hunt Cafe quietly opened for business several months ago in the space vacated by the Artful Palate.

Owner Joe Imbesi says he's dressed up the place a bit with chandeliers and a Maryland hunt theme. Food-wise, he adds that almost everything is made from scratch on the premises.

That includes 5-ounce, all-lump crab cakes, french fries, Irish soda bread and even the chocolate-hazelnut ice cream.

Imbesi describes the menu as eclectic, with dinner items such as chicken Marengo (chicken breast with tomatoes, onions and mushrooms served over pasta), tilapia in burnt butter sauce with capers, and jumbo shrimp topped with lump crab imperial.

The menu changes seasonally, with daily specials including the already popular curried pea soup and oyster stew.

If you find that a dish you liked is no longer on the menu, Imbesi will prepare it for you anyway -- if you call ahead. He recently whipped up crab Norfolk and creamed spinach for some customers who did just that.

"We're not a chain," Imbesi says. "We try to [serve customers] in a traditional Maryland way."

The Hunt Cafe is at 10517 York Road. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Sunday brunch. (Homemade pancakes and low-fat sausage, anyone?) The restaurant does not have a liquor license, but you are welcome to BYOB.

Changes at Boomerang Pub

The transformation is just beginning at Federal Hill's Boomerang Pub, 1110 S. Charles St. Although Mark, David and Jeannie Lasker and James Hollands bought the place a year ago, they have taken their time to plan some major changes.

Mark Lasker says they've just closed the upstairs room -- which featured pool, foosball and TVs -- for Part 1 of a renovation. But they're waiting until after the start of the new year to revamp the downstairs. To what? Ah, that's a closely kept secret.

There's even a hush-hush new name in store; Lasker says not even his and David's mom has been let in on that one.

Lasker hints that the new place will be "a bit more upscale in feel." But he adds, "We're going to stay away from being too trendy. We're Baltimore, we're not New York."

For some hints about changes, you might try looking at the menu in the next few months. Lasker says they're going to be "doing a little experimenting" there.

Menu adjustments

You'll notice a few changes on the Austin Grill menu these days. The Tex-Mex eatery has added a $6.99 combo lunch special, with choices such as a chicken taco and a chicken tamale, and a beef taco and an enchilada.

The dinner menu also offers new items, including a chili-rubbed tuna steak, a mesquite-grilled chicken and a pork chop adobado. But manager Bill Quigley says lots of the standard favorites remain the same.

Austin Grill, 2400 Boston St. in the Can Company, is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

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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