|Christophers Pleasant Surprise
To find Christophers, I let my fingers do the walking.
As the new millennium began, my mother and I decided to enjoy a girls night out each Friday at a different local restaurant. I dug deep into our china cabinet to find the phone book. My eyes glazed as I surveyed the restaurant listings, jotting down places we had never dared venture.
That was when I came upon a picture of a wine glass and folded napkin, accentuated by the name Christophers. Elegance, pizzazz! This had to be top of the list. And that is how I came to arrive at the not-so-elegant Route 3 Shopping Center.
Tucked between R&V Wine & Spirits and a Cellular One outlet, Christophers set a lump in my throat. Where was I taking my mother for dinner?
My mother is suspicious of everything I do, as I frequently try to expose her to the hip world of downtown Annapolis, dining at taverns and sidewalk cafés. Whats she up to? she was wondering. I know because she glanced slyly to check my reaction. But I played it cool.
As we strolled inside, checking it out, we met a nicely dressed hostess. I mention this because we were wearing evening apparel. She checked our reservation as I checked the design of the restaurant. To my left were five or so tall wooden tables with stools for bar customers, as well as an L-shaped bar with a television. Ahead, I could only see a narrow hallway with no promise of seating. Where were we going?
That is when the hostess turned, walked up three small steps and opened a sliding glass door. We entered a whole new world. Our table, decorated with a small candle and crisp white linens, was at the far back of the dining room nearest the fireplace. So far, so good.
Our waiter arrived in moments. My mother and I had only begun to study the menu. Ordering iced tea, we refocused on the task at hand.
I had already decided to dine on pasta, and Christophers offered many options. Italian shrimp pasta ($15.95) with sautéed Gulf shrimp, baby spinach and black olives tossed in tomato-basil butter sauce and served atop roasted garlic linguini tempted my taste buds. Capellini con pollo ($13.95) with sautéed chicken, sundried tomato, black olives, fresh basil and pine nuts tossed in balsamic wine sauce and served over angel hair pasta called out my name. Menus always talk to me, or vice versa.
But the New Orleans pasta ($15.95) with blackened chicken, sautéed shrimp, andouille sausage, red bell pepper and green onions tossed in Cajun cream sauce, served over penne pasta, talked its way to the top of my list. Served with the cream sauce drizzled around the edges of the bowl, each spicy bite fired up my appetite.
My mother read no further down the long list of entrees than number four, pan seared pork loin ($13.95) with cranberry-rosemary glaze. The loin arrived as four smaller pieces, circling a perfect lump of garlic mashed potatoes. The plate, drizzled with glaze, looked too perfect to touch.
My 12-year-old cousin joined us that evening. I worried because she is soooo picky. But she happily settled on apple wood smoked baby back ribs ($15.95).
Each pasta entree is served with house salad, while meats are accompanied by a vegetable or in some cases dill cole slaw, garlic mashed potatoes or rice. Dont miss out on the garlic mashed potatoes. Theyre a treat.
Or treat yourself to a lunch or light meal. Try something new like pita pizza pomadora ($8.95) with grilled shrimp, red onion, Roma tomato, basil pesto and asiago cheese. Or enjoy the red beans and rice with andouille sausage ($7.95) served with corn bread.
But back to our evening. As dishes were cleared from the table, the waiter mentioned the dreaded word, dessert. Dessert sounded good to my ears but we had failed to clear our plates. Still, its fun to listen. As the waiter named choice after choice, my mothers eyes lit up. Strawberries in praline cream was an offer not to be refused. So we didnt and we were glad. Each bite was sinfully sweet.
Unfortunately, now Chatty craves Christophers cuisine.
1286 South Route 3 Crofton 410/451-1602
Proprietor: Christopher Bowers
Reason to go: With attentive service, fine dining surroundings and excellent food taste and presentation, Christophers scores high.
Something to think about: Finding yourself between a liquor store and a phone service outlet need not spoil your evening.