Table Talk: Baltimore County gets in on Restaurant Week fun

First county version of the event coincides with the city's promotion

August 10, 2010|By Richard Gorelick, Special to The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore Restaurant Week begins Friday, as does the first-ever Baltimore County Restaurant Week. The instigator and organizer for this debut is Brian Boston, owner and executive chef of the Milton Inn.

The basic premise is the same — restaurants will be offering guests a $35.10 fixed-price dinner option for the duration of the promotion. Some restaurants will be offering a $20.10 lunch option, too. Both the city's and the county's restaurant weeks last for 10 days (through Aug. 22), kind of like the French Republican Calendar in use from 1793 to 1805.

Baltimore County's version, at least this first year, appears to be much more of a self-run affair than the city's version, which now enjoys steady support from a network of municipal agencies. Perhaps as a result, it comes off partly as a closed community, with the 15 participating restaurants representing only the northern and northwestern expanses of the county.

A participant on the Dining@Large blog noticed as much, which drew this response from Brian Boston: "This is just a starting point for Baltimore County Restaurant Week. We hope that many other restaurants join us in the years to come. All are welcome from any part of the county."

The inaugural group of participants in Baltimore County Restaurant Week, along with the Milton Inn, are Greystone Grill, the Melting Pot, the Grill at Harryman House, Artful Gourmet Bistro, Cafe Troia, Michael's Cafe, Christopher Daniel, Restaurant Sabor, Patrick's, Stoney River, Mia Carolina, Vito's Cafe, Jesse Wong's Kitchen and the Peppermill.

For more information, go to baltimorecountyrestaurantweek.com.

Little Italy project There was some good news out of Little Italy. Last week, Dalesio's, Rocco's Capriccio and Germano's Trattoria joined a group of the neighborhood's restaurants that help a group of volunteers from St. Leo's church feed the hungry and homeless. The group, Little Italy Hands and Hearts, formed three years ago, and it began modestly.

"When we first started, we would make peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches every week," says Hands and Hearts president Maria Serafini. "Then, La Scala offered to make us pasta once a month."

From there, the roster of participating restaurants grew to include Sabatino's, Caesar's Den, Chipparelli's, Da Mimmo and Pastore's Wholesale. With the addition of three more restaurants, Serafini says, "We can serve a hot meal almost every week."

In addition to serving dinner to the homeless each Tuesday, the group also provides meals to a family shelter, to HIV and AIDS patients, and to veterans.

"We've served more than 12,500 meals in the last three years. I'm constantly amazed at the generosity of our volunteers and donors," says Serafini.

For more information about the program, send an e-mail to info@littleitalyhandsandhearts.org.

Johnny Rad's Some openings to report: a new "pizzeria tavern" named Johnny Rad's opened up, softly, in the old Kelly's space, conveniently across from the Patterson duckpin house. Think of it as a Joe Squared for the south side, and you'll be close. Folks are not broadcasting it, but Johnny Rad's has what appears to be the most extensive selection of vegan toppings of any pizza joint in Baltimore. On a stealth visit, we concluded that these are nice people.

Johnny Rad's is open seven days a week for dinner. The address is 2108 Eastern Ave., the phone number is 443-759-6464 and the under-construction website is johnnyrads.com.

More pizza A Two Boots pizzeria opened in the Power Plant on July 26. A second one is slated to open in the new Fitzgerald Building up near the Maryland Institute College of Art campus. New Yorkers know and love Two Boots, both for its cornmeal-crust pizza and for its legendary East Village video store. The Two Boots in the Power Plant is the first outside the New York region, other than one in Los Angeles. It is open for lunch and dinner every day but Sunday.

The phone number is 410-625-2668. The web address is twoboots.com/TW2008/baltimore/.

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