Thai Yum tightens its focus

The restaurant formerly known as Ten-O-Six changes its name to reflect new cuisine

August 16, 2010|By Richard Gorelick, Special to The Baltimore Sun

The chef and the owners remain the same, but the Federal Hill Thai-American restaurant known as Ten-O-Six is now known as Thai Yum and, as its name suggests, will be exclusively Thai.

A big hit after its 1999 opening, in its heyday Ten-O-Six was especially admired for chef Tom Chungsaksoon's artful and ambitious fusion dishes, which might feature medallions of ostrich, sweetbreads or even wild boar. Then, for no particular reason, Ten-O-Six seemed to recede from the spotlight and never fully work its way back in.

In the e-mailed message announcing the change, Chungsakoon wrote, "Due to the increasing popularity of Thai cuisine, we refined our cooking to only center around Thai cooking." That sounds like a good idea to me, especially since Chungsakoon's Thai-only menu still promises moments of intrigue and drama: frog legs sautéed with garlic and chili paste, or scallops and Thai eggplant baked in a coconut shell.

Chungsakoon told me that the changeover, which became official July 4, will now allow the kitchen to lavish more attention on its traditional Thai sauces. He acknowledged as well that Thai cuisine will be more affordable for his customers, something he expects they're looking for in an unpredictable economy. He also mentioned another thing that wouldn't have occurred to me, but which might explain some of the problems the restaurant formerly had attracting new customers: There was the perception that the Thai food at Ten-O-Six wasn't really Thai food, but some kind of fusion. It always was real and recognizably Thai, though. The name change will certainly help clear that up.

Thai Yum (1006 Light St.; 410-528-2146; thaiyum.com) is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Changes at Milan Stephen Carey has departed as executive chef at Milan. His replacement is Kenneth Kugler, who has been with Milan since its late January opening and helped Carey open Milan's kitchen. Kugler's culinary roots, however, are in his native Philadelphia, where he worked at Moshulu (the tall ship at Penn's Landing) and was executive chef at the restaurants Vesuvio and Bliss. Kugler has already made some additions to the lunch menu, and they sound very good: shrimp and chicken kebabs with Mediterranean couscous and the Milan "bruschetta burger," a blend of roma sausage, Kobe beef and veal, topped with fontina cheese and a tomato confetti with basil-garlic oil and cherry peppers.

Kugler says he will be introducing an updated dinner menu in about a month or six weeks.

Milan is at 1000 Eastern Ave. in Little Italy; call 410-685-6111 or go to onemilan.com

On the block It was surely sad for some to hear that the historic Yellow Bowl restaurant on Greenmount Avenue, which has been closed for several years, was headed for the auction block. The A.J. Billig Co. has scheduled a public auction for 2 p.m. Wednesday. The Yellow Bowl, in the Johnston Square neighborhood, was operated for years by the Fullard family. It evolved into Baltimore's first widely known soul food restaurant and an enduring local favorite. The restaurant was housed in what are two adjacent two-story buildings.

As Laura Vozzella reminded visitors to The Baltimore Sun's restaurants and dining blog, the Yellow Bowl was a favorite of former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke. She also found this gem from the 2008 obituary of co-owner Eva Fullard: "The original Yellow Bowl opened in 1921, when it got its name and most of its business from the Yellow Cab Co. office that was then nearby on Preston Street."

Vegan food with soul A 100 percent vegan soul food restaurant named the Land of Kush is set to open, if it hasn't already, in Seton Hill, at Martin Luther King Boulevard and North Eutaw Street, just across from the Maryland state office complex. The partners, who have been introducing their food at area festivals for several years, are Naijah Wright and Gregory Brown, the chef.

The Land of Kush is at 840 N. Eutaw St., and the phone number is 410-207-7986.

Kasper

Rob Kasper is on assignment; his column does not appear this week.

In addition, Recipe Finder and Wine Find do not appear this week.

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