Eats and Drinks
Comings & Goings
Chasseur, and Nickel Taphouse
Published: September 11, 2013
As of last Thursday, Adam’s Eve (3328 Foster Ave.,  327-6984), the Butchers Hill restaurant opened last summer by Mark Littleton (of Annabel Lee and Bistro Rx fame) as a kind of labor of love, is officially Chasseur. And no, the restaurant, under new owner David Tobash, doesn’t pay homage to French soldiers or cookware. The name is a tribute to a Baltimore clipper ship often known as the “first Pride of Baltimore.” The new name, says executive chef Sean Praglowski, will influence the food “but not in the way you think. It won’t be a lot of seafood.” The menu, says the former Blue Hill sous chef, “will be heavily Baltimore-influenced comfort food—with a little spin.” Look for air-dried fried chicken, sour beef short ribs with dumplings, and meatloaf with horseradish bacon jam.
Praglowski will also be doing the desserts for now and plans to continue the comfort-food theme with a chocolate brownie sundae and peanut butter-goat cheese cheesecake drizzled with raspberry jam.
Bar manager Mike Zabora (recently at Hummer’s Bar and Grill, before that Elliott’s Pour House and One Eyed Mike’s) has put together a menu of cocktails, including an elderflower elixir and sangria made with flavored vodkas.
The interior of the place won’t change much. Tobash, a neighborhood resident and owner of a small construction firm, has renovated the outside by covering the painted formstone with stucco and installing several new windows that open to the street on temperate days, and he plans to offer outdoor seating by next spring.
For his part, Littleton, who named his short-lived restaurant after a deceased loved one, took over the kitchen at the Grille at Peerce’s Landing in Baltimore County about four months ago.
Haas to be a winner
Robbin Haas is responsible for turning a troubled restaurant space into the crazy-popular Birroteca. If you hadn’t realized there was a previous restaurant in the compact stone building on Clipper Mill with the ever-crowded parking lot, I rest my case. So why shouldn’t he do it again at the former Blue Sage (1604 Kelly Ave. in Mount Washington), a space itself already in its third or fourth iteration in a handful of years?
Haas seems to have the formula. “I grew up in Buffalo and my mom used to take me to taverns that served food,” he explains. “You’d walk past the bar and have dinner in the back room.”
It’s that atmosphere—of a casual tavern with good food that may or may not have been an afterthought—that Haas hopes to achieve with Nickel Taphouse, scheduled to open sometime before the first of the year. “It’s going to feel like something that’s been there for 50 years,” he says. “We’ll serve a few Buffalo things I grew up on,” notably beef on weck: The bartender will carve thin slices of roast beef to order, slapping it on the famed kummelweck bun. Haas also envisions cheeseballs in a jar, hummus, smoked whitefish, fresh vegetables, and housemade crackers. The burgers, made from Roseda beef, will come in “five and dime” versions, he says—one or two 5-ounce patties. “We’ll also have lots of salads,” he says, many of them tossed tableside at rolling dim sum carts that Haas has acquired along the way.
In Haas’ view, the key ingredient to a restaurant’s success is service. “My mother worked as a waitress,” he says. “She worked for the Buffalo steel plant during World War II, and when the men came back from the war, she lost her job.” His mother worked nights but got up every morning to prepare breakfast and send the kids off to school, Haas says. “I have deep respect for servers.”
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