M&S Grill adds comfort to menu

TABLE TALK

Eats: dining reviews, Table Talk

October 09, 2003|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

You might see a few more local folks down at Harborplace this weekend -- wanting to be the first on their block to try out a new addition to the Inner Harbor. M&S Grill opens its doors this Sunday in the first floor of the space formerly known as Planet Hollywood. Owned by the same folks who have done well here in B-more at Pier 5's McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant, M&S is aimed at the comfort-food crowd. However, the menu choices are extensive enough to fit a variety of comfort levels.

In the appetizer section, you'll find buffalo chicken tenders ($6.85) and haystack onion rings ($5.70) alongside beef carpaccio ($9.75) and sesame seared pork tenderloin ($8.85). In the sandwich and salad section, you've got your burger ($6.95), crab cake sandwich ($13.95) and grilled chicken Caesar ($8.70). Then you have warm shrimp-and-scallop($11.85) and Southwestern blackened salmon salads ($9.85). Entrees range from a variety of steaks ($16.95-$22.85) to a bunch of seafood dishes ($10.80-$20.85). There's also pasta and an M&S Grill Classics section -- with offerings like chicken pot pie ($12.70), home-style meatloaf ($13.95) and roasted chicken ($14.70).

Doug Schmick -- co-founder of the Portland, Ore.-based McCormick & Schmick's Restaurant Group -- says the restaurant's decor reflects the "overriding sense of traditionalism and classic style" of the grill. While the many windows lend a feeling of openness, the eatery has been decorated in deep greens and lots of mahogany and brass to create a feeling of intimacy.

It's "much like a neighborhood restaurant and bar," he notes. The grill seats about 220, and many of the tables and booths are set off in cozy niches. There is also seating for about 40 to 50 on an outside patio, weather permitting.

The M&S Grill, 410-547-9333, is located at 1006 Harborplace. Once it opens Sunday, the grill's hours will be 11:30 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.

Hanging out in Columbia

Comfort is also a big priority -- particularly for sports fans -- at Columbia's newest hangout, Columbia Ale House.

Two Dave Schroeders -- father and son -- have just opened the place in the Long Reach Village Center. Schroeder Jr. says the ale house has a dining room that seats 36 in the front, and a large bar in back with seating for about 70. There's also a separate dart room with four dartboards. Schroeder says green checkered tablecloths and lots of wood and brass help give the place a "homey feel." And, since this is a sports bar, the dining room has three TVs, the dart room has two, and the bar offers 11, including a 100-inch projection TV. There are also a couple of game machines -- Golden Tee and Mega Touch.

One emphasis here may be on sports, but Schroeder says the food is a high priority, too. Chef Donnell Long -- formerly of Champps and the DC Cheesecake Factory -- offers all your major comfy food groups. Appetizers include potato skins ($6.99), peel-and-eat shrimp ($7.99 for half a pound) and steamed mussels ($7.99). Schroeder says he's got the best pricing on chicken wings in the area at $5.25 a pound.

The salad section includes taco salad ($6.99), Greek salad ($7.99) and fried chicken salad ($7.99). Sandwich choices range from club ($6.99) to Reuben ($5.99) to grilled swordfish ($8.99). And entree choices include a Cajun rib-eye steak ($16.49), baby back ribs ($16.99 for full rack) and jambalaya ($11.99). And let's not forget the variety of burgers and grilled chicken sandwiches ($5.99-$7.49). There are 10 beers on tap and more than 20 brands in bottles.

You'll find Columbia Ale House, 410-730-7221, at 8775 Cloudleap Court. Longtime Columbia residents may remember the space as the one where Sneakers used to be. Restaurant hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week. The ale house offers food and drink discounts during happy hours from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m.

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