Abacrombie back in business soon

TABLE TALK

December 19, 2007|By ELIZABETH LARGE

At long last, it looks as if Abacrombie (58 W. Biddle St., 410-837-3630) will be reopening, perhaps as early as tonight. The tiny basement restaurant succeeded so well under former chef/owner Sonny Sweetman that the new management doesn't plan to make major changes in the format. That means fine dining, a European menu with some contemporary twists, and a European wine list.

Rumor had it that Corks was somehow going to be involved in the new Abacrombie. That turned out not to be true. Jerry Pellegrino, co-owner of Corks, is, however, "the producer of this project although he's not the major investor," says Greta Clausen, the new general manager. Jesse Sandlin, who worked under Michael Costa at Pazo, is the executive chef.

Abacrombie will be open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, with Sunday brunch from noon to 5 p.m. (my kind of brunch hours). A late-night menu is also in the works.

Pub grub kicked up --Columbia has a new gastropub, which is the unfortunate term currently in use for British pubs that upgrade their food so you get both a cozy, comfortable atmosphere and more upscale food. The trendy example is the Spotted Pig in New York City.

The new Victoria Gastro Pub (8201 Snowden River Parkway, 410-750-1880) has been open a little more than a week. All fresh ingredients are used to produce the pub's international cuisine, says co-owner Randy Marriner, a former partner in the Iron Bridge Wine Co. The breads and desserts are homemade. To give you an example of the food, the fish and chips is made with Chilean sea bass stuffed with crab and shrimp, and served with a remoulade.

Victoria's executive chef is Joseph Krywucki from the Iron Bridge. His executive sous-chef is Roddy Domacasse, formerly of Brasserie Tatin and Linwoods. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner, with brunch served Saturday and Sunday.

He's back --Mark Hofmann, something of a local celebrity chef who worked at Due in Owings Mills and was an owner of Rothwell's in Timonium and Henry's Bistro in Phoenix, has turned up unexpectedly at Tark's Grill. This is the restaurant scheduled to open in February in Green Spring Station where Longo's last was. Hofmann will be the general manager but will "work very closely with the kitchen," says operating partner Bill Shriver.

So long, goodbye --Panda Chinese Gourmet has closed in Lake Falls Village, and a new Sushi Hana will be opening in its place in January, if all goes well. The original Sushi Hana is in Towson, and the menu will be the same at both restaurants.

Update on Annabel Lee --When Lulu's Off Broadway closed suddenly, I had several readers wondering where the bar's talented chef, Mark Littleton, would land. The answer is the new Annabel Lee Tavern at 601 S. Clinton St.

When Kurt X. Bragunier opened the tavern a couple of weeks ago, he wasn't planning to have much in the way of food at first. But now, he says, Annabel Lee has "an extremely good little menu," with dishes like orange roughy tacos, crab cakes and the signature soup, mushroom and blue cheese.

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, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278.

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