ADVERTISEMENT

"Dear Janice: Can you name any centrally located restaurants that are dependably open on Saturday nights for meals after the theater? Since Amaryllis closed, we have been confined to the restaurant that used to be the Calumet and whose current name escapes me."

-- Ed P., St. Catharines, Ont.

I, too, miss Amaryllis, which was located in the Westbrook Apartments building on Delaware Avenue at North. And, by the way Ed, the restaurant located in the former Calumet building at 56 West Chippewa is Bacchus. It is indeed a fine place to eat, offering a pleasant respite from the roaring Chippewa crowd, and it is open until midnight on Saturday.

But then there is Encore, 492 Pearl St., about a block away and in the very heart of the Theater District. It is open until 11 p.m. and offers the likes of Lobster Pot Pie, pastas and steaks, and Papaya, 118 West Chippewa, a glamorous looking Vietnamese restaurant in the Hampton Inn, open until 2 a.m.

Other restaurants are open even later. Snooty Fox, 454 Delaware Ave., is housed in an elegant mansion and stays open until the early hours of the morning. Some sample items on the menu: Almond Encrusted Chicken Breast and Polynesian Peppered Spring Duck. You can get a flatbread pizza here, too, if that's your pleasure.

And we can never forget Mothers, 33 Virginia Place, another very late nighter. The place is romantic -- beautifully pointed up by candle light -- and the food is excellent. The menu changes often, but how about a Middle Eastern dipping platter or goat cheese-stuffed, oven-roasted quail for an appetizer? Or sauteed fresh snapper for an entree? Sometimes you may even find traditional Ropa Vieja -- it means "old clothes" in Cuba -- and consists of shredded beef in spicy tomato sauce. Full meals are served until 3 a.m. Reservations are necessary.

If you can't get in there, try Scarlet right across the street, sited in a handsome old carriage house and serving a broad menu.

Just a little farther away from Allentown is the newly opened Vera Pizzeria, 220 Lexington Ave. It is a small place that attracts a young crowd. You have to be in the mood for this -- it's fun, always jammed and open until until 2 a.m. on Saturdays. They serve terrific pizza here on thin, crisp crust. One is topped with fig jam and prosciutto; another with fennel, tallegio cheese and caramelized onion. They have a few other dishes and good soup, too.

Also, try the innovative cocktails, like the Prides Purge, made from applejack, Benedictine, bitters and other goodies. Reservations are only accepted for the earlier hours of the evening.

Send your restaurant questions, complaints and comments to longtime News restaurant reviewer Janice Okun via janiceokun@yahoo.com and look for her responses each Wednesday in Taste.