- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 11, 2001

If you're looking for an imaginative menu, great service and a cozy, romantic setting, plan a visit to Northwoods in Annapolis.
Northwoods is espeecially cozey once the weather gets cold and the fireplace glows. For warmer times, the restaurant serves dinner in its patio.
The restaurant is owned and managed by a husband and wife team. Leslie Brown handles the front of the house while her husband, Russell, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, is executive chef.
Continental cuisine is Northwoods' staple, and a full-service bar with an impressive wine list is certain to please.
Tucked into the West Annapolis area, one block north of Rowe Boulevard on Melvin Avenue, the restaurant touts a prix-fixe meal offered Sunday through Friday. Included are a choice of any appetizer or soup, house salad, any entree and dessert from the cart for $29.95 per person.
On a recent weeknight, our reservations were promptly honored with a friendly greeting by host Phillip Altherr who immediately took us to our table for three.
After introducing herself, our waitress, Ellen, welcomed us once again. She then discussed the highlights of the evening's specials. Those included a starter of blackened scallops and three entrees: yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi on a bed of spinach and veal medallions.
For starters we shared the oysters Italienne ($7.95). The oysters were very small, but the preparation - baked with prosciutto, basil and garlic butter - was outstanding.
Soon, the Northwoods' version of Caesar salads followed. These are included with every entree. Made with crisp green romaine lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes, and small croutons and tossed with a light dressing, they were strong in garlic and anchovies but tasty.
For the main event, my wife selected the breast of duckling Eslov ($24). The breast of duck was grilled perfectly rare, then sliced and served with a lingonberry orange port wine sauce.
I ordered the rainbow trout Chesapeake shores ($22.50). Boneless Idaho trout baked with backfin crab imperial and served with Smithfield ham and sherry cream sauce which was a delight.
Another main course to try is the Northwoods Connection ($25). Charbroiled petite filet mignon, veal scallopini and gulf shrimp with bernaise and rosemary cabernet sauce.
In addition to the salad, vegetables are served with entrees. Arranged in individual oval dishes were green beans, plum tomatoes seasoned with herbs and olive oil and oven-roasted small potatoes.
The dessert selection was extensive, which makes narrowing the choices difficult. Our table settled on pistachio cake and dark chocolate torte.
The pistachio cake was light and moist, bursting with the flavor of pistachio. The presentation, with crushed nuts on the side, was very attractive and also provided some wonderful pistachio flavor.
The torte was dense and chocolatey. It also was very rich - so rich that we had to take most of it home to enjoy the next evening.
The cart had more cakes, plus several varieties of cheesecake, as well as pecan pie, Kentucky bourbon pie and chocolate mousse, all rich endings for your meal. Zabaglione can be ordered for a lighter touch on the menu as well.

RESTAURANT: Northwoods, 609 Melvin Ave., Annapolis; 410/268-2609
HOURS: Dinner only: 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday and 5:30 to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday; reservations recommended
PRICES: Appetizers $6.95-$8.95; entrees $21-$26
CREDIT CARDS: American Express, MasterCard and Visa
PARKING: On premises
ACCESS: Call ahead to arrange accommodation 4r6


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