oZ. Chophouse cuts steaks to please

TABLE TALK

October 04, 2006|By SLOANE BROWN

There are custom-made homes, custom-made clothes, and now custom-made steak, courtesy of Howard County's newest restaurant, oZ. Chophouse. That's pronounced Oh-Zee, as in the abbreviation of ounce. Not Oz, as in "The Wizard of." The name, and the concept, come from owners Tim and Katie Buscher.

"We were going to call it Ounce Chophouse because we can customize our steaks and serve them by the ounce, but it didn't sound right," Katie Buscher says. Little "o", big "Z," period was born. Although, from the sounds of it, this eatery may have more than just the slight similarity in nomenclature to the land of Dorothy.

Particularly when Buscher describes one of oZ.'s main interior attractions - a large "tree" sprouting up in the middle of the dining room. It's actually made of metal and other materials, but she says it looks just like an oak tree, complete with leaves and lanterns hanging from the branches.

The room, which seats 86, is separated from the bar area by a wavy wall of acrylic panels. Buscher says the bar itself is round and under a 35-foot high rotunda. The bar front is covered with hay-filled acrylic panels (I'm thinking Scarecrow here), and the bar top is red concrete. There are 26 leather-covered seats at the bar, and about a dozen banquettes around the perimeter.

When you think you've taken in all the available scenery, take the time for a pit stop.

"People say we have the best restrooms," notes Buscher. She says the men's and women's rooms are decorated with more acrylic panels, along with glass tiles and river rocks. The sinks are wavy-looking creations in the same concrete as in the bar. And everything in the bathrooms is touchless.

Now, let's talk food. There are appetizers like wild mushroom Napoleon ($8), oysters roasted on the half shell with creamed leeks and Guinness hollandaise ($10), Vidalia onion rings with smoked chili dipping sauce ($7), and 3 Kobe beef sliders ($10). The entrees are a la carte. In the grill section, you've got a 14-ounce New York strip ($25), 10-ounce filet mignon ($32), 20-ounce prime rib ($29), 14-ounce pork loin chop ($20) and rack of lamb ($36). Buscher says they've listed each meat selection at a certain size, but each is available cut to any requested size.

There is also a list of house specialties, including steak Oscar - a 10-ounce filet topped with jumbo lump crab meat and hollandaise ($37); syrah-braised short ribs ($20); and seared ahi tuna with a mango hot-and-sour sauce ($22).

The sides come in individual- ($3) or table-sized ($5) portions. They include: grilled asparagus, sauteed mushrooms with garlic and shallots, shoestring and steak fries, sweet potato fries, twice-baked potatoes and three types of mashed potatoes - garlic Yukon golds, chipotle corn and cheddar or gorgonzola and scallion.

You'll find oZ. Chophouse, 301-490-4003, in Fulton, at 8191 Maple Lawn Blvd. It's open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Five Guys far and wide

Speaking of beef, the popular Five Guys burger chain is popping up in new locations around Maryland. Spokeswoman Molly Catalano says there are now 19 Five Guys in the state and four scheduled to open soon: one at Harford Mall in Bel Air, one at 1117 Crain Highway in Crofton, one at 3600 Boston St. in Canton and one downtown at 111 W. Centre St. The two new Baltimore locations are set to open within the next month.

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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