Bicycle moves to higher gear

TABLE TALK

Kent Manor Inn goes casual

Eats: dining reviews, Table Talk

October 30, 2003|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

You could almost call it the Bicycle Built For Two. Two rowhouses, that is. The ever-popular South Baltimore restaurant the Bicycle has now doubled in size - seating has grown from 42 to 72 - after its owners expanded into the building next door.

Deborah Mazzoleni, who owns the Bicycle with husband/chef Berry Rumsey, says they've now almost doubled the size of the kitchen and the front dining room. There's now a private dining room for parties up to 16 in the back of the new space. And now, both it and the small back dining room have big plate-glass windows or doors looking into the Bicycle's perennial garden. There's also a wine bar with six seats and 500 bottles.

The colors have changed, too.

"The Bicycle has grown up, so the colors have grown up as well," Deborah notes. "No more bright lime green and bright lemon yellow. We went from that to deeper richer jewel tones: deep purple, deep mustard, deep rich red."

The Bicycle, 410-234-1900, is located at 1444 Light St. Hours are 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The new Generations

If you're into pedaling a little farther, you might want to check out the Kent Manor Inn's new eatery - Generations - 40 motoring minutes from Baltimore. Executive chef/general manager Dennis Shakan says he's changed the focus of the inn's restaurant from fine dining to more casual, with an emphasis on the history of the area. He says the space itself hasn't changed much, except there are new tables and more casual settings.

But the menu now draws from food and ingredients that date to 1651, when the original 226-acre land grant created the manor.

So, along with items like crab cake sandwiches ($3.25 per ounce), Asian chicken pasta ($11.75), veal rack ($16.50) and stuffed rockfish ($18.25), you will also find choices influenced by history, such as country ham and biscuits ($10.25), Colonial stuffed chicken ($10.25) and Angus country fried steak ($9.50). There are also weekly specials with a bygone bent -like the 1800s specialty mouse pie.

"The original recipe called for `five fat field mice.' They used mice back then when they were very poor. When they got money, they used sausage," Shakan explains. "I think we'll use sausage."

History is also influencing prices at Generations. Shakan says the old menu offered entrees that ranged from $19 to $32. Now, it's more like $8 to $18, though some of the specials can cost more.

And they're really going authentic for Generations' grand opening, Nov. 4-6. The restaurant will offer three dishes from the 1800s at 1800s prices - prime rib for 37 cents, marinated salmon for 22 cents and country stuffed chicken for 17 cents.

Generations, 410-643-5757, is in the Kent Manor Inn, 500 Kent Manor Drive, on Kent Island, Stevensville. It's open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Casual Potbelly

The latest addition to Annapolis' eating-out scene goes for a casual, cozy atmosphere, featuring a space decorated with funky antiques and serving a small menu of mostly sandwiches. And - who woulda thunk - it's part of a chain.

Potbelly Sandwich Works has just opened in the Harbor Center. There are 36 Potbellys total - 11 in the Washington area, none in Baltimore, and this is the first in Annapolis. The original Potbelly grew out of a Chicago antique store that became more famous in the late 1970s for its toasted sandwiches and homey feel than its other wares.

Down-home simplicity rules at this "old-fashioned sandwich joint," according to chain spokeswoman Karen Davis. The menu offers 11 sandwiches, made to order. There are choices like turkey breast with Swiss cheese, chicken salad with provolone cheese, meatball with marinara and provolone, even creamy peanut butter and grape jelly. Each starts at $3.79, but can cost more depending on what you want added - like extra cheese, extra mushrooms or an extra ounce of meat (50 cents each). There are also shakes and malts, made with homemade ice cream ($2.59), yogurt smoothies ($2.59), and homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (89 cents) and a couple other baked treats.

You'll find Potbelly Sandwich Works, 410-224-2300, at 2463 Solomons Island Road. It's open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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

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