Miss Shirley's is now downtown

TABLE TALK

November 12, 2008|By elizabeth large | elizabeth large,elizabeth.large@baltsun.com

If you can't make it up the JFX for lunch," Mary-Margaret Stepanian told me, "the girl is downtown and ready to serve you."

The "girl" is Miss Shirley's, which opened a second location recently in the Constellation Energy building (750 E. Pratt St., 410-528-5373, miss shirleys.com). Stepanian is vice president for PR and marketing for the Classic Catering People/Crazy Man Restaurants, which owns Miss Shirley's.

Jeff Hilbert is the new executive chef, trained by Brigitte Bledsoe, who headed the kitchen of the very popular first Miss Shirley's in Roland Park and now has the title of corporate chef. Both places feature a new autumn/winter menu, which is, Stepanian says, "all about comfort food." The menus do have a few interesting differences.

FOR THE RECORD - The address of the new Abbey Burger Bistro is incorrect in today's Table Talk column in the You & Taste section, which was printed earlier. The correct address is 1041 Marshall St.
THE BALTIMORE SUN REGRETS THE ERROR

The downtown location, for instance, offers a crab cake.

"Downtown business people like to have a crab cake," Stepanian says.

There's also a Crab Cristo, based on the Monte Cristo sandwich: a crab cake, Swiss cheese, and ham with - whew - a "creamy honey mustard citrus aioli."

At the new Miss Shirley's, the turkey burger has been replaced by a beef burger. Businessmen downtown, I guess, like their meat, while Ladies Who Lunch in Roland Park tend to go for the healthier alternative.

Prices range from $8.99 for an all-beef kosher hot dog wrapped in bacon (!) to $15.99 for a "bistro beef" sandwich. Crab dishes are market-priced. The elaborate breakfast dishes Miss Shirley's is famous for are available all day.

The new place seats about 125 and is decorated with comfortable furnishings and cheerful colors like sunshine, goldenrod, deep red and toast.

Right now the hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, but plans are afoot to keep the restaurant open on the weekends starting in April.

New bistro I wasn't sure another restaurant would open in my lifetime in the space where Gampy's was at 904 N. Charles St., but Marie Louise's Bistro finally has. The space has been completely redone, with drywall taken out and brick exposed. There's a mezzanine with a bar (and soon to be lounge), and on the first floor is a coffee bar.

The food is French, Italian and Mediterranean, with some local dishes thrown in for good measure. Dinner entrees run from $12.95 for a chicken breast with artichokes to $17.95 for beef tenderloin.

The bistro is an offshoot of Marie Louise's Catering, and right now the phone number is the same (410-385-9956). If you liked the now-closed Ransome's Harbor Hill Cafe, you'll be happy to know it was owned by the person who owns the new bistro and catering company, Marie Ransome.

Marie Louise opens at 7 a.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. on the weekend. Dinner is served until 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

For burger lovers Chris Paternotte, the chef who opened the presently closed Vin in Towson, has landed at the new Abbey Burger Bistro (1401 Marshall St.) in Federal Hill. The upscale burger place and bar, which opened last Friday for drinks only, is run by former Ryleigh's Oyster manager Russell Miller.

"We figured we'd catch the niche of high-quality food at relatively inexpensive prices and pair that with good beer and good wine," Miller says.

When the bar starts serving food next Monday, you'll be able to get appetizers and salads. But burgers are obviously the star, everything from veggie burgers to Black Angus beef to foie gras, and will cost anywhere from $7 to $20.

The space where Sky Lounge was has been completely renovated, with brick walls and covered-up windows exposed, and new wood floors and a bar upstairs.

Deal of the week Akbar Palace (3541 Brenbrook Drive, 410-655-1600) in Randallstown, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, is giving a $10 electronic gift certificate to customers who sign up for membership in the Indian restaurant's "e-club." At the end of the month, new registrants will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate.

More to the point, your second drink at the restaurant will be half price any time.

No more Trapeze Sometimes a restaurant closes because it isn't doing a good job, but sometimes it's because of factors beyond its control. Trapeze in the Maple Lawn development in Fulton, which got good marks from customers for its New American seafood menu and a fine rating in the last Zagat survey, nevertheless closed this month.

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