Did you hear? Rumor Mill's open



No, it's not a rumor. It's Rumor Mill (8069 Tiber Alley, 410-461-0041), a new restaurant that's opened in Ellicott City where Sidestreets used to be.

The space has been redesigned and spruced up, says Matthew Milani, who with his two partners also owns Cacao Lane across the street. (The bartender, he says, painted the Japanese-inspired murals.)

Milani describes Rumor Mill's food as "American-Japanese fusion" and "seafood forward." That means entrees like the signature wasabi-crusted snapper with plum sauce served with haricots verts ($25). Sushi and lots of appetizers, such as tuna tartare topped with guacamole with yellow corn chips ($9), are an important part of the mix.

Milani makes the desserts himself, from the green tea ice cream to the amaretto white chocolate creme brulee.

And then there were three --Michael Harmel, 33, Jack Starr, 28, and Richard Karoll, 35 -- veterans of the restaurant business in spite of their tender years -- have been looking for a place of their own for a while now.

They found it in the spot where the Parkside was (2901 E. Baltimore St.), near Patterson Park. Their restaurant, which they're hoping will be ready to open sometime in June, will be called, appropriately enough, three... (although I couldn't get Harmel to tell me the significance of those dots).

Harmel, who helped open the popular tavern One-Eyed Mike's, feels that one reason they should succeed where the Parkside failed is that the three already have a "great following" in Fells Point. Starr was a chef at the Wharf Rat, while Karoll was also at One-Eyed Mike's.

The food will be contemporary American, with an emphasis on soups, salads and small plates. The five or six weekly entree specials will be priced "from the low $20s to $30."

The restaurant will be open only in the evening at first, which should help with the parking crunch, says Harmel.

The glass half full --John Staley, general manager of the Salsa Grill (6644 Security Blvd., 410-265-5552) in Woodlawn, is remarkably cheerful for someone whose restaurant nearly burned down May 1. But he feels this is a chance to fix up the place with a new and better interior, including a state-of-the-art kitchen for chef/owner Jay Angle.

"I've been telling people we'll reopen July 15," he says with a laugh, "but it'll probably be September. I've dealt with contractors before."

Fans of the Salsa Grill's Peruvian, South American and regional American cuisine (everything is made from scratch) can sign on to the Web site (eatsalsagrill.com) and request e-mail updates about when the restaurant will be back in business.

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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