Dining Out: Mostly Straight A’s for Zella’s

Remember “The Tell-Tale Hearth”? The Sowebo pizzeria with the Poe theme – and, if memory serves, a life-size sculpted Poe sitting at the bar? Well, the poet is gone, but the pizza has returned, and the year-old Zella’s is now providing the neighborhood with its fix of hand-tossed “Pizza Worth ‘Raven’ About.”

We made Zella’s our destination-of-choice for a Father’s Day family dinner out. We’ve made it our mission to find a pizzeria we all love unreservedly, and Zella’s, which won Best Pizza honors from the City Paper last year, seemed a worthy candidate. We were a bit disappointed, though, to find the place nearly empty. Sure,...

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Dining Out: Clementine is kid-friendly and foodie-approved

by Lynn Williams

Baltimore may have recently lost Nasu Blanca, the restaurant with the chutzpah to put Spanish and Japanese dishes on the same menu. There’s a new fusion eatery in town, though, one that combines two disparate restaurant concepts one almost never sees together: “fine dining” and “family-friendly.” Its name is Clementine, and it is just (sorry) darling.

Yes, there are places where you can feed both fussy children and finicky adults reasonably well, but the attention paid to the kids is usually limited to a children’s menu, crayons, and, in the case of Bertucci’s, raw pizza dough to play with, which is pretty brilliant. Clementine, though, does the chains one better. There’s not a chicken finger...

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Dining Out: Sushi experience rubs us Ra

by Lynn Williams
Common wisdom has it that one shouldn’t order a crab cake more than 100 miles from the Chesapeake Bay. As someone who experienced a true horror at a nice restaurant in Bar Harbor, Maine, I adhere strictly to this rule.

But what’s the word on soft shell crabs prepared at a chain restaurant whose flagship is in…Arizona? My advice: tread carefully.

Said restaurant is Ra Sushi, a corporate chain – it’s owned by Benihana – that turns the usual sushi-eating experience on its head. Instead of pale woods and shoji screens it offers lots of black, hanging red globe lights, and supersized graphics (very cool) of a Japanese woman’s face in close-up. Instead of the calming Zen sound of shakuhachis, the...