Try Open Table for choice spots to eat on holiday



Last November if you had asked me to recommend a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner a week before the big day, I would have said, "Good luck with that." But with the economy in the tank, I don't think you'll have trouble finding a place this year.

Your best bet might be to go to Open Table ( Make your way to the Baltimore/Maryland page and click on the link to Thanksgiving 2008. Fill in the time you want and number of guests, and you'll get a list of available restaurants. When I checked, there were 14 in Baltimore, four in the 'burbs and 10 in Annapolis.

Of course, not every place is on the Open Table reservation system. Restaurants as diverse as India Delight in Catonsville and Antrim 1844 in Taneytown are open on Thanksgiving but are not on Open Table.

More than a restaurant Parkside Fine Food & Spirits (4709 Harford Road, 410-444-6004) is now open in Lauraville, and co-owner Chris Cashell gave me one of the best reasons for opening a restaurant I've heard recently. He's been a brewer for the Brewer's Art for the past 12 years, and he joked, "I didn't want to work another Oktoberfest."

His wife, Colleen Cashell, who trained at what was then Baltimore International Culinary College, wanted to have a small bakery and a little deli. He wanted a bar. They've ended up with a large space, the old Cameo, and a full-service restaurant as well as bakery, deli and bar.

The kitchen is huge, Cashell told me, and all breads, bagels and desserts for sale are made in-house. Parkside also boasts a large children's play area, a candy-cane-shaped bar made of poplar that looks like a bowling alley (except there's a beer can collection under resin at one end), old church pews for banquettes and no TVs.

The dinner menu has lots of casual food and small plates, but there are a few comfort food items like sauerbraten and oven-fried chicken. The most expensive item is pork tenderloin for $17. The beer offerings are extensive and Cashell describes them as "based more on taste than popularity."

The Parkside is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Closed for now Patrick's of Cockeysville is closed at the moment because of an electrical fire, as one longtime customer found to her dismay when she tried to make reservations for Thanksgiving dinner. No one was hurt in the fire, which started not in the kitchen but the attic; however, major renovations are necessary, including roof work. There was a tremendous amount of smoke damage, chef/co-owner Carole Brosso told me, and almost everything has to be taken out and cleaned or replaced.

Brosso said the restaurant should reopen by mid- or late December.

"The food won't change," she said. "And the staff is staying with me through this."

Mea culpa In last week's Table Talk, I misread my notes and nominated the wrong person to be head chef of the new Miss Shirley's in the Constellation Energy building. The executive chef is actually Matthew Campbell. Jeff Hilbert is general manager. And I'm mortified.

Deal of the Week The Blue Sea Grill (614 Water St., 410-837-7300) has a three-course winter menu for $29.95. You get your choice of lobster bisque or chopped salad, an entree (seafood stew, whole fish of the day, mahi fillet, shrimp fra diavolo or shepherd's pie) and apple pie for dessert.

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