Hot Plate: Easter brunch options, National Oysters on the Half Shell Day, haenyo at Forno, and more

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Korean pop-up haenyo is partnering with Everyman Theatre this week for a dinner at Forno, featuring dishes from Everyman’s new play, “Aubergine.”

The big restaurant news this week is Easter, which takes place Sunday, April 1. If you’re still in the market for brunch or dinner reservations, check out the options toward the end of today’s column. Sunday is not the only day local restaurateurs will be busy this week, though, with plenty of other food events happening in the coming days.

Openings & Announcements

Fells Point restaurant 8 Ball Bar & Grill (formerly known as 8 Ball Meatball) announced this week that they will close after service on Monday, April 2. There’s a silver lining, however: Bethesda eatery Duck Duck Goose, a well-respected French brasserie, will be moving into the space.

New plans have been announced for the redevelopment of Broadway Market in Fells Point. Atlas Restaurant Group, the company that owns Tagliata, Azumi, Ouzo Bay, Loch Bar and The Bygone, will partner with the team from Captain James Landing in Canton to open a crab house and seafood restaurant in the current market’s southern building, while the northern building, which is now empty, will reopen with vendors and a central bar. The southern building’s current tenants will be offered space in the north building.

The team at Cinghiale has just done a review and refresh of the restaurant’s menu (and wine list). The menu offers a variety of ways to tuck into chef James Lewandowski’s northern Italian dishes: guests can order a la carte for a quicker meal, or opt for a more expansive, four-course prix fixe approach to dining.

This week brings some more sad news, too: Juniper Culinary Apothecary in Mount Vernon Marketplace is closing on Sunday, April 1. The shop will host a closing party on Sunday, with free cava cocktails and giveaways.

National Oysters on the Half Shell Day

Though oyster season is no longer strictly defined as the “R” months, there’s still something special about slurping bivalves during the early chilly days of spring. So it’s appropriate that Saturday, March 31, is National Oysters on the Half Shell Day.

16 on the Park will be honoring the holiday with $1.50 oysters all day long and $6 glasses of prosecco (if you buy a dozen oysters).

A portion of proceeds from the day will be donated to Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation, an organization that provides hospital and respite housing to families with critically ill children.

haenyo + Aubergine at Forno

Korean pop-up haenyo is partnering with the folks from Everyman Theatre for a Monday night dinner at Forno on Eutaw Street.

The meal will feature dishes from the play “Aubergine,” which is about a Korean chef and his father. The haenyo crew will prepare dishes featured in the play. There are no reservations necessary, and dishes will range from $8 to $25.

A Spot of Tea

Next Friday, April 6, is the first Friday of the month, which means there will be fun festivities in neighborhoods all over town. Add in Neighborhood Lights, the first part of Light City, and you’ve got a big night.

In Hamilton, you can check out the light installations by Baltimore artist Ada Pinkston and learn a little about cooking at Emma’s Tea Spot. Chef Jane Parker will teach a class about cooking with tea, including demonstrations for tea-poached chicken breast, tea rice pilaf and marbleized Chinese tea eggs.

Baltimore Food Truck Week Returns

Baltimore Food Truck Week returns again this year, kicking off its festivities on Friday, April 6. The event, which actually lasts a little longer than a week, until April 15, will feature food truck specials and events.

Next weekend, starting on Friday, food trucks will get in on the Light City Neighborhood Lights action, with local trucks heading to participating neighborhoods to feed you while you check out the art.

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ

Friday and Saturday, April 6-7, Beer, Bourbon & BBQ returns to the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. The annual event is always a good time, with tons of beer and bourbon to taste, plus some of the best barbecue around, including pulled pork, brisket, chicken and sausages.

This year’s event also includes seminars from distillers, brewmasters and pit masters, so as you taste, you can also learn a little about what makes the experts so good at what they do.

Easter Plans

Easter is this coming Sunday, April 1, so if you don’t have your plans together yet, now’s the time. Here’s a look at some of what’s happening at restaurants around town:

All week long, Ryleigh’s Oyster Hunt Valley has been entertaining kids with a fun painted oyster shell hunt – and winners get prizes! The hunt wraps up on Easter Sunday.

Blue Moon Cafe will offer a couple fun Easter specials, including smoked salmon French toast and strawberry shortcake French toast. Plus, the restaurant has partnered with Zeke’s Coffee on a custom coffee blend, Blue Moon Bark, which will debut this weekend.

Bar Vasquez will offer a brunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will be open for dinner, with the regular a la carte menu, starting at 4 p.m.

Aldo’s will be open for a special jazz brunch, starting at 11 a.m., with a special menu including classic brunch dishes and the standard a la carte Italian menu.

Foraged Eatery will open for brunch for the second time in its short (but illustrious) time in business. The Hampden restaurant will open its doors from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cosima will be open on Easter for brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is something new for the restaurant, and something that will stick around. In the following weeks, Cosima will remain open for Sunday brunch.

At Petit Louis, the regular à la carte menu will be available during both brunch and dinner hours, in addition to some specials, such as lobster crepes and a roasted leg of lamb.

Donna’s in Cross Keys will host its annual Easter brunch, featuring a wide variety of dishes, from leg of lamb to omelets.

Cinghiale will be open for brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature a special menu, including an antipasti spread and a choice of two courses.

Lupa, Foreman Wolf’s new Columbia restaurant, will offer the brunch menu from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. It includes dishes like fettuccine with rabbit ragu and fava beans and Roman-style pizza with zucchini, roasted tomato, guanciale, poached eggs and pecorino romano.

Johnny’s will be open for brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; a buffet will be set up in the back of the restaurant with an omelette station in the café. For dinner, which starts at 4:30 p.m., the à la carte menu will be available.

The Elephant will be open for special hours on Easter: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with an Easter-specific menu available.

At La Cuchara, dinner service will be conducted normally, but the restaurant will also be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a special three-course brunch.

Cunningham’s annual Easter brunch buffet will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

At Tark’s, special Easter buffets will be available for both brunch and dinner. The restaurant will have seatings throughout the day.

Ampersea’s brunch menu will include seasonal brunch specials and Maryland-inspired dishes, including the chef’s crab Benedict.

Easter brunch at Chez Hugo will include fresh-baked pastries and a French breakfast menu.

At The Turn House, brunch will be a buffet that includes a complimentary glass of champagne (for the adults).

There will be three brunch seatings at The French Kitchen (10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.) and at the latter two, a gospel band will perform. Brunch will be served buffet-style, with a special kids’ buffet menu.

The Manor Tavern will have two seatings for Easter dinner (3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.), both of which will be served buffet-style.

The Mt. Washington Tavern will have a special buffet menu in the Pimlico Room and Sky Bar. The regular menu will be available in the Chesapeake Room and in the front bar.

Sotto Sopra will be open for Easter dinner, serving the à la carte menu from 12:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The Rusty Scupper will have three seatings for its Easter brunch buffet: 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.

At Wit & Wisdom, the à la carte menu will be available from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and brunch, served at multiple stations, will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Planning Ahead

Here are a few events to look forward to over the next few weeks:

April 7: Oyster festival at Manor Tavern

April 14: Lock House Craft Beer & Wine Festival 

April 21: Winemaking workshop at Charm City Farms 



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