A big welcome for Ryan's Daughter

HOT STUFF

Eats: dining reviews, Table Talk

March 11, 2004|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The latest eatery to open in the re-juiced Belvedere Square Marketplace kicked things off with quite a blowout last Saturday night.

The Irish pub Ryan's Daughter welcomed more than 400 friends and neighbors to its grand opening party. A phenomenal night, according to general manager Patrick Walunas, that featured O'Malley's March. Perhaps you've heard of the band's buff, black T-shirted front man? He's kinda well-known in Baltimore political circles.

Anyway, Ryan's Daughter took over the space vacated eons ago by Chili's. And Walunas says old Chili's customers don't recognize the place. RD has been completely redone with furnishings made in Ireland -- including the three gorgeous bars. There's a horseshoe bar, a Victorian bar and a "shop bar" that features wine. The restaurant is divided into all sorts of rooms, nooks and crannies. You've got the School House Room, decorated with maps and an authentic entry arch that reads "Trinity School." There's a cottage area around a stone fireplace and a little elevated seating area near the front windows. And there's the Belvedere Room that Walunas describes as "small, dark and quaint," with decor that serves as a tribute to Irish authors and writers.

George Georges -- who owns Ryan's Daughter with Ireland native Donal Doyle -- says the concept for the restaurant comes from the Irish word "craic," which means good times. Good food, good drink, good atmosphere. And of course, great Irish music. Every Monday night, local musicians will gather around the fireplace to play Irish tunes. And Georges says RD will have "quality Irish bands" about once a month.

The Irish theme is very strong on the menu, too. You'll find shepherd's pie ($11) and corned beef and cabbage ($11). But there are also salads, sandwiches and several other entrees. And dishes that aren't exactly Irish have a bit o' that lilt to their names -- like cockles, mussels Molly Malone (steamed clams and mussels at $10) or Rosie's Reuben sandwich ($8). The most expensive item on the menu is the Wicklow lamb chops with fried parsnips ($19).

Ryan's Daughter, 410-464-1000, is at 600 E. Belvedere Ave. It's open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., with food service ending at midnight.

Looks like the Irish-pub thing is hot-hot-hot. Another one (different owners) should be popping up in Fells Point in the not-too-distant future. Stay tuned.

Happy birthday

Speaking of restaurant celebrations, Greenspring Station's City Crab and Seafood Company celebrates its first birthday tonight with live jazz, free appetizers and discounted drinks. Call 410-339-6300 for reservations and more information.

Expressions bash

Meanwhile, the Baltimore School for the Arts was bulging at the seams last weekend at its annual bash, Expressions. Some 525 folks jammed the arts high school to take a "class" in their choice of music, theater, art or dance. One of the highlights: the performance by those in the music class. Some guests had been taught how to play a couple of chords on guitar, cello or a brass instrument. Others had practiced the evening's chosen song. BSFA booster Carole Sibel -- in long black wig and glittery vest -- led the crowd in a rousing rendition of Sonny and Cher's "I've Got You, Babe." Oh, and did we mention her "Sonny"? M&T Bank's Mike Riley in a black shaggy wig and fur vest. Backup included another S-and-C attired duo, Kennedy Krieger Vice President Lainy Lebow-Sachs in a glitter "do" and lobbyist Curt Decker, complete with phony handlebar mustache.

Needless to say, the show was more fun than fine. Good thing the evening's audience adjourned to the school's auditorium for dinner and a performance by some real talent, the school's students. BSFA's head honcho Leslie Shepard was tickled with the turnout. She says it looks like the shebang raised a good $200,000 for the school.

Filming a pilot here

More TV types are heading into Charm City. This time, they're shooting a pilot for a show on ABC written by the Alias folks. It's a drama about the U.S. Secret Service, starring Shohreh Aghdashloo, who was an Oscar nominee this year for her role in House of Sand and Fog. She apparently plays the head of the Secret Service. Some of the up-and-comers in the show include Sarah Wayne Callies, Shane Brolly and Justin Chambers. The pilot starts filming here next week.

To submit tips, ideas and possible items for Hot Stuff, send e-mail to sloane@sloanebrown.com or fax to 410-675-3451.

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