Fine dining at Red Sky in Laurel


May 24, 2006|By SLOANE BROWN

The new Red Sky Steak & Fish House in Laurel is for those folks who live between Baltimore and D.C. and want a taste of fine dining, but don't want to travel to either city for the experience, according to general manager Bruce Hicks.

Hicks says Red Sky is the fourth restaurant owned by Harvey Blonder, whose other eateries include Buddy's Crabs & Ribs in Annapolis, Yellow Fin in Edgewater and Big Fish in Crofton.

Hicks says the original idea was to bring to the Laurel area something close to Yellow Fin -- "a big local hangout with a [popular] sushi bar."

However, Blonder decided he wanted to add a little extra oomph. He wanted to expand the menu and add items he enjoyed from some of his favorite restaurants in other cities and give the restaurant a slightly more citified feel.

That means on the appetizer list you'll find macadamia-crusted brie ($12) alongside spicy bacon-wrapped scallops ($10) and lobster tempura ($14).

Salads include the steakhouse mainstay wedge with gorgonzola ($6); spinach, strawberries, pine nuts and goat cheese ($8); and a house salad topped with a broiled 5-ounce crab cake ($21).

Entrees include more than a half-dozen different steaks ($26 to $45) and an equal number of fish selections, including pan-seared mahi-mahi topped with fresh mozzarella and basil on a bed of tomato velvet sauce ($25); rockfish topped with jumbo crab in an applewood smoked bacon-and-chive-cream sauce ($28); and salmon glazed with a smoked jalapeno sauce served over saffron rice, whipped black beans and guacamole ($26).

There are another half-dozen seafood dishes, including coconut crunchy shrimp ($23), Maine lobster tail ($35) and a 10-ounce crab cake ($32).

Manager Hicks describes the restaurant interior as "industrial chic." There is an open ceiling with lots of galvanized steel, a bright red wall and large black and red patterned sails used as room partitions.

The lounge area offers long granite communal tables and a happy hour that goes from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and features half-priced appetizers.

You'll find Red Sky Steak & Fish House, 301-604-2144, at 14701 Baltimore Ave., which is also U.S. Route 1. It's right across the street from the Laurel Mall.

Its dining hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Lounge hours, with a limited menu, are 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, 2 p.m. to midnight Saturday and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Ray comes to visit

Food Network superstar Rachael Ray dropped in on Gertrude's at the Baltimore Museum of Art recently. Gertrude's owner/chef John Shields says Ray came to his restaurant to shoot a segment for her TV show, Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels. And eat lunch.

"A lot of times, you don't expect these [TV stars] to eat, but Rachael ate!" he said. Two crab cakes, in fact. And that was off camera. On camera, Shields says Ray tasted a soft-shell crab served with crab imperial on a portobello mushroom with corn pudding, some barbecued shrimp and Chincoteague single fried oysters.

Shields says Ray came into the restaurant in the middle of Sunday brunch, and no one took much notice -- until she took her sunglasses off. "Someone spotted her, and all hell broke loose," he says.

"Her people were trying to fend some people off, but she was very, very nice to everybody. Her handlers were having a nervous breakdown."

Shields says the hubbub continued for three hours after Ray and her crew left, with word somehow getting out to the surrounding neighborhood.

"People were coming from everywhere, asking where she was." Shields says he was told the segment on his restaurant will air in a couple of months, and also will feature Faidley's Seafood at Lexington Market.

If you have information regarding a local restaurant's opening, closing or

major changes, please e-mail that information to or fax it to 410-675-3451.

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