Kaufmann's keeps familiar flavor

Tavern: Although the restaurant has undergone some changes in the past year, its signature dishes still taste the same.

January 25, 2004|By Ruth Hakulin | Ruth Hakulin,SUN STAFF

Kaufmann's Tavern in Gambrills, noted for decades for its seafood, may be under new management, but that hasn't deterred its customers from coming back.

Open since 1937, Kaufmann's Tavern has been owned by James King and Greg Casten since last February. Since the new owners took over, a terrace for outside dining has been added and the menu has gotten some additions. King and Casten also own restaurants in the Washington area. I talked with the people next to my husband and me on a recent evening, and they said the food has the same great flavor as before.

Although the restaurant looks decent-sized on the outside, I was surprised by how many it can seat inside. There are three dining areas -- smoking, non-smoking and the Garden Room, as well as the tavern area. And in the warmer weather, the outdoor terrace is open. Seating capacity exceeds 300.

The Garden Room, on the back of the building and covered, is also used for events such as wedding receptions, private parties and banquets. The restaurant's warm wood paneling and colorful Tiffany-style lamps hanging from the high ceiling make it a cozy place to dine. The tavern offers Keno and a large-screen television.

On the night of our visit, we started with a cup of Maryland crab soup and the cream of crab soup, the latter of which is enhanced with bacon. We also had a new menu item, a "crabby pretzel."

This delightful item is a large soft pretzel covered with shredded crab and baked with three cheeses on it. It was very good and filling. We then moved on to our main courses -- king cut prime rib, done just right, and Chesapeake Chicken.

The Chesapeake Chicken is a large breast smothered with crab imperial. Both entrees included a potato and a vegetable. We chose baked potatoes and green beans. The dessert menu that night consisted of key lime pie, ganache and cheesecake.

According to manager Corinne Wieland, the menu has changed slightly, but none of the old favorites were deleted.

Appetizers range in price from $5 for onion rings to $19 for jumbo steamed shrimp. Soups are $3 per cup and $4 to $5 for a bowl. Salads start at $4 for a tossed garden salad and go up to $8 for a Maryland fried chicken salad.

Entrees include jumbo fried shrimp ($18), snow crab leg clusters ($25), barbecued baby back ribs ($17) and Chicken Chesapeake ($18).

The prime rib is available in three sizes: 12-ounce English cut, $17; 16-ounce queen cut, $22; and 20-ounce king cut, $26. Sandwiches range in price from $7 to $10. Steamed crabs go for $35 a dozen for medium to $78 for monster-sized. All-you-can-eat crabs are offered for $9 Sunday through Thursday. Lunch platters are also available.

Monday is Lobster Night -- $15 for a one-pound Maine lobster meal. Kaufmann's Sunday brunch features live jazz music from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost is $18 for adults and $12 for ages 12 and under. Visit Kaufmann's on Friday or Saturday evenings to hear local bands or on the third Thursday of the month for a Karaoke evening.

Kaufmann's Tavern is at 329 Gambrills Road in Gambrills. Information: 410-923-2005.

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