Kiss Cafe's new look and sound

TABLE TALK

Eats: dining reviews, Table Talk

April 24, 2003|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

One Canton restaurant has spent the winter in a slow metamorphosis. This spring, the Kiss Cafe blooms with new red and yellow awnings and umbrellas outside. Inside, the look, the menu and the entertainment have morphed, too. When owner Victor Ganderson first laid his Kiss in the Can Company last fall, it took over the part of the defunct bookstore that had been occupied by Donna's. He's spent the winter making changes.

Now, a light wood wall with backlit circle cutouts encloses the eatery. Upstairs, in the restaurant's mezzanine, you'll find five regulation-size pool tables, a dart board and a Golden Tee golf game. Downstairs, there's seating for 90 inside and 60 outside, and a bar. And now, live entertainment some nights.

Ganderson says that this month he began adding live music every Friday. Next month, that schedule expands to include Thursdays and Saturdays. First, there will be live jazz or blues from about 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. - during the dinner hour. At 9:30, Ganderson says, the sounds will get funkier - courtesy of a live rock band or DJ. On those nights Kiss Cafe will stay open - past its previous 11 p.m. closing time - to 2 a.m.

Menu-wise, you've got your all-day bill of fare - with breakfast items like granola ($3.95), quiche ($6.95) and Belgian waffle ($2.95-5.95) and lunch choices including salads ($3.95-$8.95), sandwiches and wraps ($5.95-$9.95) and burgers ($6.95). Ganderson says his dinner menu - with tapas, light fare and entree sections - changes weekly. The most expensive item on last week's dinner menu was rack of New Zealand lamb with plum horseradish glaze, served with red skin garlic mashed potatoes and a garden salad ($18.95).

Meanwhile, the morphing continues. A new 25-foot bar with a "super cold" draft beer system should be installed upstairs in late summer.

Kiss Cafe (410-977-0254) is at 2400 Boston St. Its hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday thru Thursday, 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Ganderson says the hours may extend later depending upon the evening's entertainment.

Stepping up to plate

ESPNZone sports a new menu starting today. Chef Jason McCready says the ESPN folks have added a few more upscale food items - like white bean stew and marinated pork tenderloin with cheese grits. And they've ratcheted up the flavor quotient a notch on some existing choices - like adding balsamic vinegar marinated onions and bacon to the standard burger and changing the Caesar salad dressing recipe to make it "more authentic."

McCready - who's been at Baltimore's ESPNZone since it opened five years ago - says he's seen a lot of menus in that time and this is the best one yet.

Baltimore's Zone menu isn't the only one getting the pick-me-up. McCready says the changes affect all eight Zones across the country.

You'll find Charm City's ESPNZone (410-685-3776) in the Power Plant at 601 E. Pratt St.

Waitresses get their say

You know how a good waitress can make or break your restaurant experience. But, have you ever thought about what she thinks of your behavior?

You will, after perusing Hey, Waitress!: The USA from the Other Side of the Tray. This new tome offers an inside look at the lives of more than 35 waitresses across the country. Two of the profiled servers come from Maryland. There's Marguerite Schertle, a longtime waitress at the Woman's Industrial Exchange who passed away in 2001 at age 100 - and Rose Marie Willie, who works at Bethesda's Tastee Diner.

Reading this puppy will sure make you think twice before next pulling a Meg Ryan. You know, those When Harry Met Sally type of restaurant orders like "I'll have the chicken salad, but without the salad. And I'd like a slice of tomato instead, but not the outside slice. And put the parsley garnish next to the chicken, not on top of it."

Hey, Waitress! by Alison Owens (University of California Press) can be found at most bookstore chains, including Barnes & Noble and Borders.

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