Chow Down Grill

The life of an umpire's a hard one: you're constantly traveling but never enjoying the cities, someone always hates you no matter the call, and Robbie Alomar never runs out of loogies. For a would-be ump who decided to make everyone happy with food, hit Chow Down Grill

Manned by a chef who quit ump school to make calls on food at China Grill and BLT Steak before setting out on his own, CDG whips up Chinese eats amplified with Vietnamese herbs and French sauce techniques, and feels like a dark little Chinese bistro, with heavy wood furniture, puffball chandeliers casting leafy shadows on the wall, and a bar that overlooks the little cockpit of a kitchen -- in which, despite being about 7 feet tall, the copilot will still deny he's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The menu's got sandwiches (all served on a French baguette with cilantro, pickled carrots, jalapeno, and pate aioli) including 24hr braised beef and grilled fish of the day with Szechuan spices & shaved fennel, as well as a lineup of house-made dumplings including crispy crab Rangoon with mascarpone, and shrimp/ginger in a squid ink wrapper, aka, Ur$ula, from Lil' Mermaid records. For mains, choose your protein (shrimp, organic chicken, Angus flatiron cut) and doll it up with sauces like mango-filled sweet & sour reduced with lychees, an orange chili job made with fresh OJ, chicken stock, and rice wine, and/or spicy Szechuan made from slow-roasted tomatoes jacked up with all kinds of chilis; you can also go with no sauce, aka, "Naked" -- weird, as that's exactly what sauce is for

To wash the chow down, there's a nice collection of micro-brews including Dale's Pale Ale, Narragansett, Dogfish Head Midas Touch (based on the recipe for the oldest know fermented beverage, from Midas's tomb), and an IPA from Mad Hatter -- which is what one could term Robbie Alomar, at least until he takes his batting helmet off and wings it at John Hirschbeck.