Table Talk: Paladar brings Latin flavor to Annapolis

Cleveland-based restaurant expands to Mid-Atlantic

September 14, 2010|By Richard Gorelick, Special to The Baltimore Sun

Back in April, when I reported about the opening of an Obrycki's in the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, I didn't know that there was a "restaurant to be named later" in the deal.

But it turns out that a Cleveland-based restaurant named Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar will be opening Thursday, Sept. 16, in the Annapolis Town Centre. This is only the second Paladar — the first Paladar was opened in Cleveland in 2007 by Marty and Andy Himmel, a father-and-son team of restaurant developers, along with a longtime colleague, Ean Carroll, who has moved to Annapolis to be the general manager of the new Paladar.

The Cleveland-to-Annapolis connection isn't obvious, but Carroll explained it in a way that should make Annapolitans feel good about Paladar's arrival.

"We knew we wanted to expand, and we were looking all over the country. One of our board members encouraged us to look in the Baltimore- Washington area. Annapolis was perfect." Carroll explained that the water-loving culture of Annapolis was perfectly suited to the Paladar concept, which emphasizes approachability over hardcore authenticity. Annapolis had Latin-themed restaurants at the high end and on the storefront-casual level, but nothing, Carroll said, in the middle.

"From day one," the restaurant's news release says, "the team's vision was not to imitate Latin culture, but to provide an upbeat, fresh, American interpretation." This makes sense. It's when diners are misled about authenticity that they turn ornery.

The menu is a collection of dishes from Central and South America, Cuba, and the Latin Caribbean. Among the more popular items are rum-glazed pork Cubano, a mojo-marinated Atlantic salmon, blackened fish tacos and an assortment of ceviche. If these sound accessible, again, that's the point. In developing the original Paladar concept, the team found that New York-based restaurants in particular tended to confine menus to a single cuisine, while Chicago-area restaurants were more expansive in their approach — the latter is the approach that inspired Paladar's menu.

The rum bar has been conceptualized with similar ideas about approachability, with rum flights and tasting-size pours to encourage diners to sample from among the more than 50 rums in stock.

The restaurant is at 1906 Towne Centre Boulevard, across from Gordon Biersch. Call 410-896-1022 or go to http://www.paladarkitchen.com.

Brunch at Bad Decisions The Fells Point bar Bad Decisions unveiled its new Sunday brunch last weekend. The ambitious menu featured several items with St. Germain-soaked peaches; a scrapple sandwich with fried onion, sauerkraut, bacon, and honey mustard; and a breakfast burrito stuffed with chipotle rice, butternut squash and spinach in beef jus.

The chef behind the menu is David Carleton, who recently left Rocket to Venus in Hampden, where he had been since the beginning. His continuing relationship with Bad Decisions is unclear, which is par for the course at Bad Decisions, which you will find either lovably insouciant of outrageously haphazard, depending on your mood that day. But a Bellini made with fresh peach nectar couldn't hurt.

Bad Decisions is at 1928 Fleet St. Call 410-979-5161 or go to http://www.makeabaddecision.com

Party in the Park The Baltimore Party in the Park, a benefit for the Nikki Perlow Foundation, will be held Oct. 2 at the Padonia Park Club in Cockeysville. The family-friendly afternoon will include music from the Grammy-nominated kid-friendly band Milkshake and the Baltimore–based blues-and-roots band The Bridge. I mention it here because the food for the event is being provided by Clementine (barbecue and charcuterie), the Iced Gems Cupcake Truck and Stuggy's (hot dogs, of course). The Pepperjack Grille will be selling the straight-up fair food.

Admission to the festival is $10 and $5 for children. Call 866-771-3014 for more information.

No Kasper, Wine Find

Columnist Rob Kasper and Wine Find do not appear this week. Kasper is on assignment; Wine Find will be back next week.

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