There are some signs of life on Antique Row. The popular Linden’s Deli has relocated to the corner of Howard and Read. And a few doors down, the opulent restaurant space that housed places like Night of the Cookers, Brittons Bar and Grill and Leilani’s is back open. It is now called Phaze 10.
Phaze 10 is actually “two venues in one,” as it says on its website. Phaze 10 RL&E — short for restaurant, lounge and entertainment — is the big project, a multistory nightlife destination featuring a Southern soul-food menu in the dining room and a steady schedule of live jazz in the lounge. This part of Phaze 10 is just getting started, but the adjacent lunchtime grill, a neat and tidy storefront, has been open since the middle of May.
On a hot weekday, Karen Atkins, a manager at Phaze 10 Grill, was making sure customers went away happy and also telling them about all the good things happening next door at the restaurant and lounge. If the grill is any indication, Antique Row has a promising new neighbor.
Operating as a carry-out only, Phaze 10 Grill is just a hop away for workers at the State Office Complex and Maryland General Hospital, who don’t have a ton of choices in the neighborhood. Southern-style barbecue is the specialty here. The menu includes Carolina pulled pork, pit turkey and pit beef sandwiches as well as St. Louis-style ribs, grilled chicken and grilled tilapia. Most items can be ordered by themselves or as platters with sides — things you’d expect like sweet potato fries, coleslaw and collard greens.
The pulled pork sandwich ($5.50) is a beauty, with a subtle vinegar tang built into every hunk of tender meat, with the beautiful slightly burned ends that yield such good flavor It comes topped with a crunchy coleslaw, which is more of a Memphis style than Carolina.
The macaroni and cheese ($2.99) is as simple and satisfying as can be, with velvety orange-yellow cheese evenly coating every last noodle. The desserts, like everything else, are homemade They include sweet potato pie, chocolate cake and carrot cake.
The dense hunk of bread pudding you get for $2.89 could feed half your staff. It’s supposed to come with a vanilla sauce, which didn’t turn up in my bag when I got back to work. It didn’t matter – the pudding was moist and rich enough without it.
Phaze 10 Grill
Where: 885 N. Howard St., Mount Vernon
Contact: 410-462-2010, phaze10.com
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for lunch weekdays
Lunch entrees: $5.25-$14.50