Thai food, but not too spicy


October 03, 2002|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Baltimore has another new place to "Thai" one on. Thai Arroy Restaurant opened just last week in Federal Hill. Owner Chakkarpong "Tom" Ritdech immigrated from Thailand in 1995 and says he spent the years since working in various Thai restaurants in the Baltimore area - toward the goal of opening his own place.

Ritdech learned which Thai dishes American customers enjoy most, and he's made sure to put them on his menu. Among the favorites: pad Thai, a noodle dish with chicken, shrimp or tofu ($7.95-$8.95); pa-nang, chicken or beef in a chili paste-coconut milk and basil sauce ($8.95); a variety of curries ($8.95-$10.95); and the ever-popular chicken satay appetizer ($5.95).

Ritdech says he has tried to keep the items authentic but has kept in mind American taste buds.

"Thai spices are very strong," he says. " ... Thai people like the spiciness at the five-star level. Americans like it two to three stars."

With the restaurant's interior, Ritdech hopes to educate customers about his native land. He created his own wallpaper of computer-generated prints of a famous Bangkok temple; there are decorations such as Thai carved dancing masks, and a television in one corner runs a DVD all about Thailand.

Thai Arroy does not have a liquor license, but you can BYOB. The restaurant is located at 1019 Light St. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.

Changes at Towne Hall

Towne Hall in Greenspring Station has undergone some changes. To begin with, it's no longer Towne Hall. On Sept. 18, the restaurant's name was changed to City Crab & Seafood Company. But, yes, it still has the same owners, the Cal Ripken Foundation and New York restaurateur Andrew Silverman.

New general manager Laura Matthews says while the eatery did good lunch business with its American-fare menu, it needed to beef up dinner business. And - with Marylanders in mind - that means seafood.

Matthews emphasizes the restaurant has not become a crab house, but rather an "upscale environment" with crabs and other seafood items.

In addition to serving steamed crabs, Matthews says City Crab has improved on Towne Hall's crab-cake recipe and offers Alaskan king crab legs and Florida stone crab claws. She says fresh seafood items will change daily.

The restaurant now has a lobster tank, and nautical decorations will soon be in place. But not all traces of Towne Hall have disappeared. "We didn't remove a lot of menu items," says Matthews. "We just added a lot of seafood." Matthews says the tweaking continues, and a grand opening is being planned for later this month.

City Crab & Seafood Company is located in Greenspring Station, at 2360 W. Joppa Road. It's open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Havana Club re-opening

Speaking of grand openings, the Havana Club is having its grand re-opening tomorrow night. Owner Steve De Castro says the club has spruced up the interior a bit with new sound and lighting systems, new dining chairs and two new VIP rooms for members only.

The club's menu is the same for now. It features light fare, including a couple of sandwiches, soups, a few appetizers, a Caesar salad, Beluga caviar and desserts. The menu will undergo some renovation, however, in about a month, says De Castro.

Havana Club is at 600 Water St. Hours are 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Food is served until 1 a.m.

And the winner is ...

Larry Horwitz, owner of Roland Park's Daily Grind Coffeehouse at 501 W. Cold Spring Lane, reports that he, family members and friends have decided on a new name for the place. This, after Horwitz ran a contest for name suggestions.

And the new name is ... (drumroll, please) ...

Sorry, you'll have to wait until Saturday to find out. But, if you want to be the first on your block to know the java joint's new moniker, just show up around 11 a.m. for the unveiling. Oh, and for your troubles, get a free cup of joe and other goodies.

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