McCabe's is back. The homey Hampden institution closed rather suddenly last winter. Just as suddenly, or at least without much fanfare, McCabe's reopened April 23 with a new management and ownership team who are part of the group behind the successful Sonar nightclub. But don't expect velvet ropes.
McCabe's regular customers, who were always as likely to be Roland Park residents as Hampdenites, will find their old standby has been thoroughly renovated and much brightened up. But according to co-owner Patrick Ito, who will be running the kitchen, McCabe's still feels like a neighborhood place, and the menu has been designed for everyday eating. Some of the old McCabe's staff has returned, too.
Ito, formerly of Copra, says his new menu is more of an update than a wholesale change to the old McCabe's menu, and these days, that means more attention paid to good ingredients and the addition of vegetarian options, like a grilled vegetable lasagna with polenta in place of pasta. But the things people came to McCabe's for, the crab cakes and the hamburgers, are on the menu. Ito is making the hamburgers from Springfield Farms dry-aged beef and putting it on a brioche from Stonemill Bakery.
The opening menu also includes a New York strip steak with a honey-red wine reduction, finished with herb butter and served with grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes; and shrimp and grits with creamed polenta and an andouille tomato-gravy.
McCabe's is open now for lunch and dinner. It's at 3845 Falls Road; call 410-467-1000.
Vino Rosina If all goes well, in about a week or so, Vino Rosina should be opening in the old Bagby Furniture Building across from Whole Foods in Harbor East. The team here includes Jim Lancaster, the owner of the Rosina Gourmet, and Jesse Sandlin, formerly of Abacrombie (and, yes, "Top Chef" contestant), will be running Vino Rosina's kitchen. As detailed by Laura Vozzella over on Dining@Large (baltimoresun.com/diningatlarge), Vino Rosina will by day focus on serving the gourmet sandwiches and salads that have earned Rosina so many admirers at its Canton and downtown locations. By night, though, the place will ease into a wine bar persona.
Sandlin wasn't overly concerned about some quotes she dropped to Vozzella about Vino Rosina being a haven for the tattoo generation, but she did want to make it clear that the new joint will be just as inviting for folks in business suits. The goal is to create a "snobbery-free zone" so that both wine enthusiasts and wine cowards will enjoy themselves.
"You should be able to come in here and ask for white zinfandel without being afraid of what the server might think," Sandlin says. "We might not actually have white zinfandel, but we'll tell you about something we do have that will please you in the same way."
The bar menu will include carpaccios, ceviches, charcuterie and an extensive cheese selection, the kind of things Sandlin, a veteran of the Charleston Group, handled so beautifully at Abacrobmie. It's at 507 S Exeter St. Call 410-528-8600 or go to vinorosina.com.
Restaurant awards On April 26, the McCormick-sponsored Restaurant Association of Maryland held its 56th annual Industry Awards Gala at Martin's West. Once again, Meryl Streep came away empty-handed. The voting procedures are somewhat unclear, or at least hard to dig up. Here are some of the highlights:
•Restaurateur of the Year: Dorothy and Richard Mollett, Antrim 1844 (Taneytown)
•2010 Chef of the Year: Chef Bryan Voltaggio, VOLT (Frederick)
•2010 Favorite Bar or Tavern: The Brewer's Art (Baltimore)
•2010 Favorite Caterer: Chef's Expressions (Timonium)
•Maryland's Favorite New Restaurant 2010: Blue Hill Tavern (Baltimore)
•Maryland's Favorite Restaurant 2010: Jack's Bistro (Baltimore)
•Green Restaurant of the Year: Woodberry Kitchen (Baltimore)
Find more information about the association at marylandrestaurants.com.