Sit outside and enjoy the steak


Greystone Grill offers usual menu, special amenities at new Hunt Valley site

September 21, 2005|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,Special to the Sun

If you love a certain Ellicott City eatery, you're now going to develop a similar crush on a new place in Hunt Valley. That's because Greystone Grill No. 2 has just opened at the newly renovated Hunt Valley Towne Center.

Like the Ellicott City original, the Hunt Valley version sports a "contemporary, clean" look, according to its "innkeeper" (aka general manager) Tom Brown. Same wood-stain colors, same gray stonework around columns and posts. But this version also offers outside seating, as long as the weather cooperates.

Something else carried over from the original: the wine-vault concept. For $1,500, you can buy a vault there and fill it with as many as 24 bottles of wine that then will be available for you when you come in to dine.

The vault room itself also has another purpose - it serves as a private dining room seating 40. It's equipped with a drop-down screen and LCD projector that can be used for business breakfasts, lunches or dinners.

Another attraction - a chef's table that can seat 14 - is located in a glassed-in area in the kitchen.

"We call it the fish tank," says Brown with a laugh. He says you can reserve that table and have the chef custom-create a meal for you, or you can order off the menu. The kitchen itself is separated by glass from the dining room, so everyone can see the activity.

As to the food, you'll find the same contemporary grill menu at this Greystone Grill as you have in Ellicott City. The difference between Greystone's offerings and those at some high-end steakhouses, Tom says, is that each entree item at Greystone comes with a salad and your choice of side dish.

"We're trying to include everything the other steakhouses sting you for."

Changing owners

Meanwhile, a familiar face is gone from Federal Hill's Blue Agave. Owner/chef Michael Marx has sold the restaurant to Alena Enterprises, a family-owned business. Speaking of family, that's exactly why Marx says he sold the place shortly after its fifth anniversary. Being in charge of the kitchen has left little time to spend with his wife and kids, ages 1 and 4.

"My son starts school full time ... and I missed the whole first year of my daughter's life," he says.

Blue Agave fans have nothing to fear, Marx says. Nothing is changing there. The menu and staff are staying put.

"They're not going to skip a beat."

Not that Marx is getting out of the restaurant biz. He's joined up with David Long to follow one of his passions - Texas barbecue. They're planning to open a small Texas barbecue place called RUB somewhere on York Road in Timonium next spring, followed by a full-blown RUB restaurant in Locust Point's Silo Point project next summer.

Texas barbecue, Marx says, is different from Southern barbecue. It's beef- rather than pork-based and is prepared with a dry rub. No sauce. While there will be items like smoked prime rib and smoked pork chop racks, Marx says the main emphasis is on beef brisket and sausages.

So, won't that put Marx right back into the kitchen, with all the long hours that demands? Nope.

"With all the equipment we're investing in, it's almost idiot proof," he says. "We won't need a chef; the most we'll need is a kitchen manager."

"We're finally going to show people in Baltimore what real barbecue is all about."

Greystone Grill

Where: 118 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley

Phone: 410-527-0999

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays, including brunch

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