If you think the new Yellow Dog Tavern (700 S. Potomac St., 410-342-0280) sounds like another in a long list of places in Canton that specializes in bar food, you'd be wrong.
Co-owner and head chef Anita Scheiding describes the fare as "home-cooked, casual fine dining." The new owners converted the space where Mike's Happy Hour bar used to be into a two-story restaurant with a "casual upscale environment."
In other words, don't dress up; but don't expect Buffalo wings either.
Dinner entrees range from a vegetarian platter for $9.99 to roasted sea bass with mushrooms and a tequila-lime sauce for $24.99. (Not to worry. There's also a burger on the dinner menu.)
What's old is new again --It may be located in Annapolis' historic district, but the new Federal House Bar & Grille (22 Market Space, 410-268-2576) is decidedly up-to-date, with disc jockeys and dance parties as well as a menu beyond the bar food its predecessor, Griffin's, offered, according to the new owner, Jeremy Black.
"We ... created a newer, cleaner area," he said. "We created a dinner menu with health-conscious food like salads and four fresh fish selections every day. I kept everything on the menu under $20 except for the crab cakes.
"They are the only item that has a 2 in front of it."
Pizza with pizazz --Zella's (1145 Hollins St., 410-685-6999), only a couple of weeks old, is making friends fast with its gourmet pizzas, $11 for a 10-inch and $16.50 for a 14-inch pie. There are pizzas with roasted eggplant, pizzas with portobello mushrooms and roasted red peppers, and a Meat Classic if those sound too vegetarian for you.
Co-owner Julie Ernst says the new place is a bit more than a pizzeria, with salads, sandwiches and baked pastas, plus desserts like cannoli and tiramisu. Ernst and her husband, Cem Ari, have applied for a liquor license as well.
Saffron in limbo --For those who missed it on my blog, Saffron, the restaurant at 802 N. Charles St., is closed, at least temporarily. It opened as an Indian fusion restaurant and moved on to contemporary American with the arrival of Edward Kim (formerly of Soigne) as executive chef a year ago.
When Kim left last week, it wasn't supposed to close the place down; and maybe it hasn't. The message on the phone now says that Saffron closed June 26 and will reopen July 30. Stay tuned.
Also closed --Abacrombie, the restaurant in the bed and breakfast of the same name at 58 W. Biddle St., has closed at least until Sept. 1. See my blog for more details.
Send restaurant news, trends, questions of general interest or observations to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax me at 410-783-2519. Snail mail works, too: Elizabeth Large, The Sun, Box 1377, Baltimore, MD 21278.