Restaurant spices up the Colonnade

TABLE TALK

September 06, 2006|By SLOANE BROWN

The Colonnade is home to a new restaurant, once again. The Spice Company was set to open today in the space previously inhabited by Four West and the Polo Grill.

The name of the eatery may be new, but those behind it are familiar to many in Baltimore's dining-out crowd. Keir Singh owns the successful Indian restaurant the Ambassador Dining Room and the popular Lebanese Carlyle Club - both in the same Johns Hopkins neighborhood as the Colonnade. His partners - John Yuhanick and son Todd Yuhanick - have helped open and promote a number of local restaurants over the years through their public-relations firm.

So is the Spice Company ethnic restaurant No. 3 for Singh? The answer: a resounding "no" from all parties involved.

"It certainly has an ethnic twist, with a few non-American dishes. But our aim is to make [the restaurant] another everyday place that won't compete with other area restaurants," says Singh.

Lest the name frighten those who equate the word "spice" with "heat," Singh offers further assurances.

"Our food is not spicy, per se. Aromatic, perhaps. There's more concentration on flavor than heat. It looks good, it tastes good, it smells good and it's inexpensive. We're really trying to keep it an affordable neighborhood restaurant."

What will you see on the menu? Singh describes it as a combination of American and coastal cuisine (read lots of seafood).

While a final menu was still in the works at press time, a preliminary version featured small plates such as grilled calamari stuffed with shrimp and feta ($9.50); duck cannelloni with roasted garlic aioli ($8); and spicy tuna tartare ($10).

Entrees will include items like pan-seared salmon in an aromatic rub with basil lentils ($17); grilled lobster tail with mushroom risotto and minted pea puree ($25); New York strip with gorgonzola-rosemary potatoes ($25); chicken with roasted grapes, soybeans, walnuts and chiles ($16); and pasta like gemelli with rapini, roasted cauliflower and tomatoes, olives and anchovies ($14).

John Yuhanick says the lunch and light menus will include items such as burgers, sandwiches and salads.

When the restaurant went from the Polo Grill to Four West, the bar area was expanded and separated from the main dining room. (The restaurant's last incarnation was as the Club at the Colonnade.) This time around, Yuhanick says while the bar itself remains the same, the lounge area has been expanded further into some of the old dining room space, with a gas fireplace and a variety of couches, soft chairs and ottomans (seating about 60 total) scattered over a hardwood floor.

Gone are the old high partitions. Now the lounge is open to the dining areas on either side of it. There, you'll see leopard carpeting, white tablecloths and leather or fabric upholstered chairs, with the potential to seat about 100. Think a Ralph Lauren kind of clubby feel.

The Spice Company, 410-235-8200, is inside the Colonnade at 4 W. University Parkway. Because it also serves the hotel in the building, it will be open for breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. daily. Lunch hours will be noon to 2 p.m. daily, and dinner will be served from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A light menu will be available between meals and after dinner hours until 2 a.m., when the bar closes.

The entire restaurant is nonsmoking, and free valet parking is offered.

If you have information regarding a local restaurant's opening, closing or major changes, please e-mail that information to sloane@sloanebrown.com or fax it to 410-675-3451.

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