A cafe and art gallery in one


April 11, 2007|By ELIZABETH LARGE

Is it a cafe? An art gallery? The new Station North Arts Cafe Gallery (1816 N. Charles St., 410-625-6440) is a little bit of both, with what one of the owners, who calls himself Downtown Kevin Brown, says is an "artsy funky vibe."

The cafe serves breakfasts (like waffles and French toast) and lunches (soups and salads). Brown's partner, William Maughlin, does most of the cooking. Brown handles the desserts - most notably a bread pudding with vanilla sauce, and a wicked brownie.

The bad news is that the cafe is open only 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. "We're considering evening hours," Brown says, after one irate customer left a note pinned to the door that read, "This isn't Podunk, Iowa. You gotta be open later."

HE'S BACK, ONLY HE NEVER LEFT. ... --Periodically a reader calls or writes to ask whatever happened to Benny Gordon, the owner/chef of Restaurant 2110 and Benny's Jazz and Supper Club. It turns out he's been working behind the scenes as a caterer and restaurant consultant. Now he's actually back running a restaurant kitchen, in the new J & K Jazz Cafe in a Best Western in Woodlawn (1800 Belmont Ave., 410-265-1400, ext. 2300).

But don't look for the French cuisine of Restaurant 2110. Gordon says he's working to put "Baltimore's version of creole cooking" on the map. That would be dishes like chicken and waffles.

WHAT'S HAPPENED AT SZECHUAN BEST? ... --Steve of Owings Mills e-mailed to say he tried to eat at one of his favorite Chinese places recently, Szechuan Best on Liberty Road in Randallstown, and it was closed. "It looks like it is closed for good, but I could not tell for sure. ... Can you find out?" I remember having a good meal there, and it was a City Paper Best Chinese Restaurant a few years ago.

The phone number has been temporarily disconnected "at the customer's request." If anyone knows anything more ...

FISH ON THE WATER ... --A friend asked me to recommend a seafood place where he could take his 8-year-old and other family members. The seafood-restaurant question comes up so often (although not usually involving an 8-year-old), I thought I would mention three places that would be good for young kids: Nick's Fish House, 2600 Insulator Drive, 410-347-4123 (where my friend said he had good luck); Bo Brooks, 2701 Boston St., 410-558-0202; and - if you don't mind a chain - McCormick & Schmick's, 711 Eastern Ave., Pier 5, 410-234-1300. You can eat on the water at all three.

Send restaurant news, trends, questions of general interest or observations to me at elizabeth.large@baltsun.com or fax me at 410-783-2519. Snail mail works, too: Elizabeth Large, The Sun, Box 1377, Baltimore, MD 21278.

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