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Eat Feature

Exit 26

York Road, Downtown Towson

Posted 2/23/2000

One could survive for days on Allegheny Avenue, not eat at the same place twice, and have many a good and interesting meal. Start at the Garden Spot Café (22 Allegheny Ave., [410] 583-7367), which combines first-rate ingredients with a creative chef to produce innovative fare that will satisfy seekers of the new and different without scaring off the relatives. Portions are generous; the eggplant-parmesan appetizer would make a dinner for many a diner, and a damn good one. Everyone's friendly; the chef will tell you how he made his sauce, and won't yell if you ask for ketchup for the melt-in-your-mouth steak.

How do chicken and meats get so tender? What are the secret ingredients in that fabulous fessenjan sauce? How can one possibly cook rice to such perfection, then serve enough on one platter to happily feed several hungry diners, and stay in business all at the same time? Ask the folks at Kabob Hut (13 Allegheny Ave., Towson, [410] 821-8005). The only penance one must pay to enjoy all this is a space bereft of any ambiance (but for what they charge, what do you expect?) and the constant sound of dough being beaten into submission before being baked into fresh Persian flatbread, served hot with your meal.

If you yearn for a genuine Chinese culinary experience, find sustenance at the Golden Gate Noodle House (6 Allegheny Ave., Towson, [410] 337-2557 ). You'll hear so much Chinese spoken here, by owners and patrons both, that you'll know you're in the presence of the Real Thing. A white board with serious Hong Kong-style selections supplements the printed menu. Check out the changing selection of fresh fish to be steamed, and inquire which green is being stir-fried with big, juicy black mushrooms for a treat you won't find in most Chinese restaurants, at least on this coast. Familiar dishes are prepared deliciously as well.

Elegant, yes. Expensive, yes. But worth it, to woo a client or the date of your dreams? Yes, friend, oh yes. Let yourself be guided to a window table at Café Troia (28 W. Allegheny Ave., Towson, [410] 337-0133) for an experience in fine dining, Italian style. It all started in a little carryout on the ground floor of a nearby apartment building, and it's grown to this: candlelight, white linen, an osso buco you'd take out a second mortgage for. But don't miss the risotto, regional pasta dishes, shellfish, and fish specials.

Got a hungry vegetarian friend? Drag him or her to Frisco Burritos (3 W. Chesapeake Ave., Towson, [410] 296-4004) and ply your pal with a huge spinach burrito. Hungry no more. This eat-in/carry-out is famous for all manner of burritos—chicken, steak, chorizo, even tofu with rice and beans—and a lineup of incendiary sauces, sized big (actually, gargantuan) and priced low. Grab a stool and drool, or take home a sack of bliss for the ones you love.

A nondescript storefront space opens to a pond full of brightly-finned koi, blond wood, an ebullient host, and gracious waitresses. Oh, and the sushi's impeccable at Sushi Hana (41/2 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Towson, [410] 823-0372)—sea-fresh and beautifully cut. The miso soup is mysteriously rich, the combination platters a delightful selection of classic Japanese dishes. We suggest tekka don, slices of rosy tuna laid over subtly seasoned rice.

The facelift took a long time, but these days the Towson Diner (718 York Road, Towson, [410] 321-0407 ) is looking very art deco, in a Mediterranean sort of way. While the décor is new, the voluminous menu hasn't changed. You'll still find your diner favorites all day long: tons of sandwiches and dinner specials—American, Italian, and Greek. Personally, we prefer breakfast—just us, a cozy booth, a cozy book, a cup of coffee, and the enormous Greek omelet. That's living.

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