Red Tapas becomes a nightclub on weekends


January 23, 2003|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Babalu does it, and so does Red Coral. And starting tomorrow, another Baltimore restaurant will begin transforming itself into a nightclub on weekends. This time, it's Red Tapas, the new restaurant on the first floor of the multilevel Redwood Trust dance club.

Red Tapas, owned by Jerry Edwards of Chef's Expressions catering, opens for dinner Wednesday through Sunday at 5 p.m. The latest time that reservations will be accepted is 9 p.m. At 10 p.m., the nightclub opens and the dancing begins. But the food doesn't disappear entirely. The Red Tapas bar, which is located along one side of the room, stays open, serving the complete restaurant menu until the club's 2 a.m. closing time.

As for that menu, it's quite a list of "little dishes" based on the Spanish tapas premise. But the dishes aren't all Spanish. For instance, there's miniature beef Wellington with hunt cup horseradish cream ($8.95), and a barbecue pork taco ($7.95). You can also order a five-course "chef's menu choice" meal for $39. Add $20 if you'd like wine tastings accompanying each course.

For a look at the full menu, check out The Red Tapas/Redwood Trust folks are hoping the changes will increase its appeal to more than the young club-hopping set.

You'll find Red Tapas/Redwood Trust at the corner of Calvert and East Redwood streets.

Polo Grill/Four West

Meanwhile, the Polo Grill has a new name: Four West. And that's not all that's changing about the place. New owner Rob Freeman (son-in-law of Polo Grill owners Lenny and Gail Kaplan) has started a renovation to enlarge the space, including creating a bigger bar area.

Don't let the construction fool you: Four West is open for business, and Freeman hopes to keep it that way throughout all the work.

The menu will change dramatically when the construction is completed in March. Some of the Polo Grill's old favorites, such as fried lobster tail and crab cakes, will stay, but many of the heavier, saucier entrees will go. Freeman says patrons can expect more salads and more variety.

As for the decor, it will be lighter and more contemporary. The old horsey look is galloping off into the sunset.

Four West is at 4 W. University Parkway, inside the Doubletree Inn at the Colonnade.

Cafe Asia/Red Coral

Red Coral, mentioned in the first item in this column, is the new name of Cafe Asia, a Baltimore restaurant/nightclub that had yet to celebrate its first birthday.

The name isn't the only thing that has changed at 614 Water St. So has the menu. It's been pared down and fusionized a bit.

Gone are many of the exotic-sounding Asian dishes. What remains are many Asian-influenced entrees, but with more familiar names: dishes such as seared ahi tuna on grilled asparagus spears with a Thai basil sauce ($23) and General Tao chicken and shrimp in a spicy sweet-and-sour sauce with assorted Asian vegetables ($17). There's also a sushi menu.

Director of operations Greg Sharpe says the changes come as the owners prepare to turn their Virginia and Baltimore restaurants into the first in a national chain.

Red Coral restaurants are already under construction in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Atlantic City, N.J.

Speaking of construction, there's some of that going on at the Baltimore Red Coral, to open up an upstairs dining room. Sharpe says that's so those who like to eat late can still have a pleasant restaurant atmosphere when the DJ gets going downstairs.

Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please send suggestions by fax to Sloane Brown at 410-675-3451, or by e-mail to

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