A select guide to dining on the Bay
Annapolis Restaurant Week
Come for … Annapolis Restaurant week returns, February 25 through March 3, for its fifth year, with 39 participating restaurants. Prices remain the same as last year: $15.95 for breakfast and lunch; $32.95 for dinner. The two-course breakfasts and lunches and three-course dinners make the lingering days of February the perfect time to visit favorite restaurants or try something new.
Acme Bar & Grill
Buddy’s Crab & Ribs
Cantler’s Riverside Inn
Carpaccio Tuscan Kitchen & Wine Bar
Carrol’s Creek Café
Fado Irish Pub
Federal House Bar & Grille
49 West Coffeehouse
Galway Bay Restaurant
Harry Browne’s Restaurant
John Barry Restaurant at the O’Callaghan Hotel
La Piccola Roma
Luna Blu Ristorante Italiano
Lures Bar & Grille
McGarvey’s Saloon & Oyster Bar
The Melting Pot
Metropolitan Kitchen & Lounge
Miss Shirley’s Café
O’Brien’s Oyster Bar
O’Learys Seafood Restaurant
Paul’s Homewood Café
Pusser’s Caribbean Grille
Rams Head Tavern
Reynolds Tavern and 1747 Pub Ristorante
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Sam’s on the Waterfront
Treaty of Paris
The Wild Orchid Cafe
Yellowfin Steak & Fish House
BayFish Fresh Seafood
Come for … Fresh seafood for carryout lunches and dinners or that you can cook at home, as well as catered crab feasts and parties
BayFish Oyster Shooter
Every time we shuck oysters at an event, people want Oyster Shooters. Here’s how to make your own:
1 tsp. BayFish cocktail sauce
1 shucked Chesapeake Bay oyster
1/2 shot vodka
1 Tbs. Bay spice
1 lemon wedge
Pour the Bay spice onto a plate. Holding a shot glass by its bottom, dampen the rim against a wet clean sponge or paper towel. Lightly place the rim in spice, using a twisting motion so the spice sticks. Add shucked oyster. Pour the vodka over the oyster to three-quarters full. Fill the shot with BayFish cocktail sauce and top with fresh lemon juice from the lemon wedge. Finish with lemon wedge on the rim of the glass.
2853 W Chesapeake Beach Rd., Dunkirk; 301-685-5912; www.bayfish.com
Come for … A taste of Italy. We’re real eaters who strive for quality in every dish we serve, from artisan pizzas to extraordinary specials and luscious desserts — at prices your family can afford. We differentiate ourselves by offering classically prepared dishes from original regional recipes using the highest quality, freshest ingredients.
What’s New … Our name: Our 11-year-old restaurant changed its name to Bella Sera — beautiful evening — in 2012. (Before that, we were Squisito Pizza & Pasta.)
We also offer many new items on our specials menu, which changes weekly. All are crafted by owner Roulan Almdawar to his exacting culinary standards. So no matter how often you come, you will always find something new that you want to try.
3279 Solomons Island Rd., Edgewater; 410-956-8555; www.bellasera-tasteofitaly.com
Calypso Bay Bar & Grill
Come for … We specialize in local Chesapeake Bay cuisine complemented by Chef Lalu’s authentic Mexican cuisine every Tuesday.
We have a passion for great food and drinks in the company of friends and family: That’s what got us started and what keeps us going.
What’s New … Our newly renovated dining room and private party room.
421 Deale Rd., Tracys Landing; 410-867-9787; www.CBonthebay.com
Dream Weaver Café & Catering
Come for … Locally sourced menu and specials: cream of crab and homemade soup, seafood, scones, muffins and desserts. Fresh salads and sandwiches made to order. Special diets accommodated.
“One cannot think well, sleep well or work well if one does not dine well,” says owner Trish Weaver.
What’s New … Expanded local sourcing of eggs, meats, seafood, dairy and produce. Menus and specials reflect seasonal and local items. Plus new, expanded catering menus.
114 Solomons Island Rd. N, Prince Frederick; 410-535-4355; dreamweavercatering.com
En-Tice-Ment Farm-Raised Meats
Come for … Beef, pork, lamb and chicken from well-cared-for animals raised in a natural environment and fed only quality grains with no steroids.
The Story … “We have always raised animals to feed our family,” says owner Deana Tice. “When neighbors and friends found out, they, too, wanted quality meat for their families. Our business has been built on word of mouth and is now feeding many area families and supplying local restaurants.”
231 Polling House Rd., Harwood; 443-336-8492
Come for … A classic sports bar that supports the heroes of the community. Enjoy one, or several, of our 48 draft beers lined up on the wall like flavors in a candy shop. Try an exotic micro-brew or go for the American favorites.
Even during lunch on a weekday, Heroes is crowded. Prices are right on appetizers, salads, lots of sandwiches and a few full meals including, of course, crab cakes.
But fundraising nights show the bar at its best. “We started out trying to support local heroes — teachers, doctors, nurses. Then the firemen sort of took over,” says owner Lila Beall, clearly proud of the Heroes she and husband-partner Kurt Beall have created.
1 Riverview Ave., Annapolis; 410-573-1996; www.heroespub.com
Honey’s Harvest Market & Deli
Come for … Bay Weekly’s Best of the Bay Deli features Boar’s Head deli meats served on artisan breads with the freshest locally sourced fixings. You’ll also find lots of locally produced items including Thanksgiving Farm Wines, MaxSam granola, dough run granola bars, Calvert Kettle corn, George’s Bloody Mary Mix and more.
The Story … “Herrington Harbour and the neighborhood of Rose Haven needed a fresh start at the local deli and market,” says owner Anna Chaney. “Our team from Herrington on the Bay Catering transformed the place to an Old World-style beer and wine seller, market and gourmet deli.”
What’s New … Sliders on Saturdays. Starting Feb. 9, Honey’s Harvest serves sliders and milkshakes from 4 to 8pm.
7150 Lake Shore Dr., Rose Haven; 410-257-7757; www.honeysharvest.com
The Inn at Pirates Cove
Come for … Seafood plus such terrestrial edibles as prime rib plus a large appetizer selection and half-price appetizers in the bar and lounge on weeknights.
The Story … Owner of many restaurants in D.C. and other cities, Bob Platt loves the water and Southern Anne Arundel County and wanted to get away to a more elegant and natural environment.
What’s New … One of the few places for lodging in the Edgewater-Galesville-Deale area, The Inn at Pirates Cove has recently remodeled our hotel rooms and banquet room. We are also a marina with transient and annual slips.
4817 Riverside Dr., Galesville; 301-261-5050; www.piratescovemd.com
Come for … The love of good food: Spanish and Mexican cuisine created from always-fresh ingredients.
What’s New … Flamenco tablao every two months with live dancers, singer and guitarist.
85 Forest Plaza, Annapolis; 410-266-7580; www.jalapenosonline.com
Come for … Hand-rolled flakey dough, fresh sauce, 100 percent smoked provolone cheese and plenty of fresh toppings, including pepperoni that is five times thicker than the national average.
The Story … Ledo Pizza was started in 1955 by Bob Beall near the University of Maryland. The concept was simple: to provide high quality food at a great value in a comfortable, family friendly atmosphere. Since then, we have branched out over the area to bring the great taste of Ledo Pizza to other communities.
Back in 1955, pizza — and round baking pans — had yet to be discovered. Rectangular baking pans were readily available, hence Ledo’s square pizza.
What’s New … Ledo Pizza’s new gluten-free pizza has earned rave reviews from customers and experts alike.
Come for … Authentic southern Italian cooking in authentic Italian style, at a relaxing pace at well-laid tables in an intimate dining space.
What’s New … For Valentine’s Day we offer a set menu of 4 courses for $50 per person.
On February 24 comes our first wine event of the year, featuring five small courses with wine pairings for $60 a person. Wine events continue all year on the last Sunday of each month.
For Restaurant Week February 25 thru March 3, we serve two courses at lunch for $15.95 and three courses at dinner for $32.95. See menus and make reservations at our website.
“After 11 years, we’re expanding our catering,” says co-owner Erin Dryden. “Whether it’s a small get-together or a large, upscale event, we can help. Our menus range from home gatherings to tailgates to weddings. We can create a one-of-a-kind menu based on your ideas.”
Our upscale restaurant in the heart of uptown Annapolis can hold up to 50 guests, or we can travel to your home or venue. Our experienced team lets you relax while we cater to you and your guests’ needs.
36 West St., Annapolis; 410-267-9950; www.lunabluofannapolis.com
Come for … A wide variety of pasta, chicken, veal and seafood dishes and hand-tossed pizzas. Homemade soups, pasta and lasagna are made from fresh ingredients delivered daily, and our bread is made from scratch. Our most popular dish is the bowtie del mar, which is lobster-claw meat, crabmeat and asparagus tossed in a creamy Alfredo sauce over a bed of bowtie pasta.
What’s New … “Our son Rico just graduated from John Carroll University with a degree in business management,” says owner Maria Lubrano. “He’s home to run the family business and learn the ropes.”
Mamma Lucia in Dunkirk got a facelift. We moved into the next space and renovated the dining room. The new bar area, Rico’s Bar and Lounge, has high-top tables and plenty of seating. Rico’s Bar has its own menu with wings, burgers, sandwiches and appetizers. It’s perfect for watching games on the flat screen TVs.
862 Costley Way, Prince Frederick; 443-486-4701;
10136 Southern Maryland Blvd., Dunkirk; 301-812-1240;
McGarvey’s Saloon & Oyster Bar
Come for … Fresh-shucked oysters, over 30 American craft beers and a seafood-heavy menu that changes daily to feature what’s freshest and best.
The Story … When Mike Ashford opened McGarvey’s in 1975, downtown was a rundown, unappealing place to eat, shop or drink. His risk paid off — McGarvey’s is a thriving, immensely popular Annapolis institution of class and character, cherished and enjoyed by three generations of Annapolitans and Marylanders.
What’s New … In 2012, Bay Weekly readers awarded McGarvey’s Best of the Bay in four categories: Best Bar, Best Bar Food, Best Oysters and Best Bloody Mary.
Oyster Happy Hour is back. Get a dozen oysters for $6 Monday thru Friday from 4 to 8pm.
8 Market Space, Annapolis; 410-263-5772; www.mcgarveys.net
The Melting Pot
Come for … “Fondue is a unique and interactive dining experience, satisfying for a romantic dinner, time with friends or a large gathering. We offer a variety of fondues: cheese, chocolate and entrees cooked fondue-style, plus salads. To keep the menu interesting, we offer a rotating selection of limited-time specials,” says co-owner Julie Mason.
The Story … We started as servers in a restaurant. Our passion for food and making people happy led us to the restaurant business as a career. We fell in love with The Melting Pot concept and opened the Annapolis location 10 years ago. The most gratifying aspect is making special memories for our guests.
What’s New … We have a new menu this year inviting guests to create their own custom entrée. All our menu items are also available a la carte. In addition, we offer a gluten-free menu. For wine lovers, we have 50 wines under $50.
2348 Solomons Island Rd., Annapolis; 410-266-8004; www.Meltingpot.com/Annapolis-md
Metro Diner Cafe
Come for … Fresh, local and delicious quick food locally sourced. We partner with more than a dozen farms.
The Story … Inspired by Chef Ype Von Hengst, we are locally owned and operated in association with Silver Diner Inc. of Rockville, in business since 1989.
What’s New … Our fusion of diner food and cafe drinks. Plus new delivery options for catering with competitive and affordable prices and value.
216 Harker Place, Annapolis; 410-266-7980; www.metrosilverdiner.com
Mike’s Bar & Crabhouse
Come for … One of the few remaining Maryland-style crab houses, Mike’s continues to offer crabs in the traditional Maryland fashion, on brown paper, with bowls of spice and vinegar. Our restaurant also offers a full menu, including steaks, burgers, seafood and, of course, our delicious crab cakes. We have plenty of seating and a tiki bar on the deck overlooking the water. Our indoor bar can seat over 90 people and has over 16 widescreen televisions for watching almost any sport. We offer complimentary docking for our customers.
The Story … Family-owned in Riva, Mike’s Bar & Crabhouse has been a part the community for more than half a century.
What’s New … Upstairs, we have a recently renovated private banquet room available for meetings and parties. To serve crab lovers to the north, we’ve also added Mike’s Crabhouse North in Pasadena.
3030 Riva Rd., Riva; 410-956-2784; www.mikescrabhouse.com
Mike’s Crabhouse North
Come for …’s North offers steamed crabs the Maryland way — plus steaks, burgers, seafood and our delicious crab cakes. Mike’s North offers indoor and outdoor seating, as well as an indoor bar and a large outdoor tiki bar.
The Story … Mike’s North takes its roots from its parent restaurant, Mike’s Bar & Crabhouse in Riva. We share our dock with White Rocks Marina and offer complimentary docking for our customers coming by water.
What’s New … We are! Newly opened in May of 2012, Mike’s Crabhouse North is located on Rock Creek in Pasadena.
1402 Colony Rd., Pasadena; 410-255-7946; www.mikesnorth.com
The Old Stein Inn
Come for … Traditional and modern German dishes, wine and beer served with gemüetlich in old-world ambiance.
The Story … The new Old Stein is the silver lining of the New Year’s Eve, 2011, fire that gutted the restaurant founded by Mike Selinger’s parents Karl and Ursula. In architect Catherine Purple Cherry’s new design, the second-generation restaurateur has the space of his dreams, “doubling what we can do.”
What’s New … “With more modern capacities and space,” says Selinger, “we do our regular menu, our nightly specials and then — with monthly special dinners — we really go out of the boundaries to expand on what we can do with German cuisine.”
This month, try our Valentine’s week special menu for two for $60.
1143 Central Ave., Edgewater; 410-798-6807; www.oldstein-inn.com
The Point Crab House
Come for … Crabs and more: mussels, oysters and clams.
While seafood is king, you’ll find such specialties as jumbo lump crab and pork spring rolls; sour beef and potato dumplings; grilled ribeye over wild mushroom risotto and sautéed green beans; and homemade tomato soup with fresh basil, a little cream, shrimp butter and toasted homemade focaccia with cheddar cheese.
Starters are priced as low as $5 and many entrees are under $15.
The Story … Owner and chef Bobby Jones buys seafood from local watermen within a 50-mile radius and has earned a True Blue certificate from the Maryland Department of Seafood Marketing for serving only Maryland blue crab. Produce is also bought locally, and all breads and pastries are baked fresh daily.
Bobby has lived in the area since he was 19. He and wife Julie opened in September, rebuilding the old Magothy Seafood, doing much of the work themselves. Open year-round and offering catering.
700 Mill Creek Rd., Arnold; 410-544-5448; www.thepointcrabhouse.com
Potato Valley Cafe
Come for … Potatoes! “We roast Idaho potatoes and lovingly add food from this continent for such treats as Texas salsa potato with jalapeno sour cream and salsa and Cuban chicken potato with chile lime sour cream,” says owner Barbara Ripani.
The Story … Potatoes are a true food of the Americas. First harvested in Peru in the early 1500s, potatoes are one of the positives of the Columbia Exchange between the new and old worlds. A 17-year part of the Annapolis landscape, Potato Valley Cafe was named one of Washington's Top 100 bargain restaurants in Washingtonian Magazine in 2011 and 2012.
What’s New … Every year in January, Potato Valley Cafe goes into high speed for 90 days as the Maryland General Assembly meets on State Circle. We haven’t seen these customers for a year, and we love them. It’s bustling, it’s fun, and it doesn’t even feel like work. Catering, catering, catering: platters for luncheons for many of these folks in addition to the daily lunch lines.
This year, we added a Native American-inspired salad of grilled corn and potatoes with avocado, mango and chile with sour cream and corn chips. Also new this year is the North Carolina pulled pork with cole slaw and collards. It gives us a lot of Southern joy to cook it.
47 State Circle, Annapolis; 410-267-0902; www.potatovalleycafe.net
Rod ’N’ Reel Restaurant
Come for … Fresh seafood and a gorgeous waterfront location. Our menu features the finest fresh fish in Southern Maryland, crab imperial made with our secret recipe and specially seasoned jumbo lump crab cakes broiled to perfection. The Rod ’N’ Reel will also cook your catch after a great day of charter fishing.
The Story … Three generations of a local family have owned and operated the Rod ’N’ Reel restaurant, which continues to be a Maryland favorite for fine dining, weekend breakfast buffets and specialty events.
What’s New … Look for more of Executive Chef Joe Misero’s famous specials. Introduction of a new Rod ’N’ Reel menu is also planned for 2013.
4165 Mears Ave., Chesapeake Beach; 410-257-2735; www.chesapeakebeachresortspa.com
Ruddy Duck Brewery & Grill
Come for … High-quality artisan-crafted brews and dishes to match, like our jumbo lump crab cakes, voted best in Southern Maryland, or pizzas handmade from scratch. We strive to provide a friendly, vibrant atmosphere complete with live music, kid-friendly events and community fundraisers.
The Story … Carlos Yanez had always dreamed of owning a brewpub with a friendly and inviting atmosphere. He partnered with Michael Kelley, a restaurateur with over 30 years experience and a passion for food, and Ruddy Duck was born.
13200 Dowell Rd., Dowell; 410-394-3825; www.ruddyduckbrewery.com
Rustico Restaurant & Wine Bar
Come for … The robust flavors, fresh ingredients and warm, inviting atmosphere of southern Italy transported to the rustic setting of a revitalized historic landmark in picturesque Love Point in Stevensville, on the Eastern Shore.
What’s New … Rustico now offers full off-site catering, including luau packages with pulled pork, beef, pig roast and all the fixings jointly offered by The Pits.
Wine dinners are planned with Boxwood Wines of Virginia (owned by the Jack Kent Cooke family) and Kobrand wine distributors. A microbrew/wine tasting with Dogfish Brewery is planned for early spring.
There’ll be live music every Wednesday and Saturday, moving to the patio as weather permits.
February 5, we donate 10 percent of all sales to Bayside Elementary School.
401 Love Point Rd., Stevensville; 410-643-9444; www.rusticoonline.com
Sakura Japanese Steakhouse
Come for … Delicious Japanese food in presentations that involve all the senses, from beautifully plated sushi with the freshest ingredients to grilled fare from the Hibachi table, where chefs put on a show, serving course by course with flair and fire.
The Story … Marc Ha founded the first Sakura in Fredericksburg, Va., in 1988 with seven hibachi tables and persistence. Soon he was seeing the same faces over and over and earning stunning reviews. Now Sakura has grown to more than 20 locations on the East Coast and is even colonizing California.
2625 Housely Rd., Annapolis; 410-573-0006
106 N. Solomons Island Rd., Prince Frederick; 410-414-9005
15528 Annapolis Rd., Bowie; 301-352-5939;
Sam’s on the Waterfront
Come for … Casually classy harbor-view lunch and dinner six days a week — or an unforgettable Sunday brunch. Menus change to reflect the season, with all dishes creatively prepared from the freshest ingredients.
“Sam’s team is dedicated to creating fabulous meals in a relaxing atmosphere with exceptional service at an affordable price,” says owner Andrew Parks. “We want to indulge you with the most creative dining experience possible.”
Cocktails are creative, fresh and seasonal … beer choice wide-ranging … and wine significant. Sam’s is the only restaurant in Annapolis to win Wine Enthusiast’s Restaurant Award of Distinction and Award of Excellence.
The Story … Built in 1986 and designed after the historic spider-legged, screw-pile lighthouses, Sam’s on the Waterfront has come full circle and is now owned and operated by Andrew Parks, the grandson of its namesake, Samuel Parks.
What’s New … Sam’s on the Waterfront was the first restaurant to be named a Green Restaurant in Anne Arundel County. Sam’s highlights as many local products as possible. In our commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility, we have implemented a recycling program, oyster recovery program and transportation-incentive program.
2020 Chesapeake Harbour Dr. East, Annapolis; 410-263-3600; www.samsonthewaterfront.com
Skipper’s Pier Restaurant & Dock Bar
Come for … We specialize in Southern-style cuisine focused on Chesapeake Bay items. Based on seasonality, we carry soft crabs, rockfish and fresh fish daily. Of course, crab cakes are our number one seller next to our daily rockfish specials. Our ingredients are fresh and local, and we buy Maryland corn, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, squash and the like from a local farmer in Deale while in season.
The Story … “My husband Dave and I had our own businesses and were working so hard that we didn’t have time to spend with each other,” says co-owner Jessica Rosage. “While discussing our frustrations, we happened on a business opportunity through Dave’s business mentor Ray Greenstreet of Greenstreet Gardens. It appealed to us because we could combine Dave’s passion for people and hospitality and mine for food and cooking to take on the restaurant together. We thought we could jump in the deep end while holding hands!”
What’s New … Last fall, we earned a Maryland Seafood Festival First Place in Alternative Crab Category for our Corn and Crab Chowder with Smoked Bluefish.
This month, we remolded our large atrium room, adding new tables and chairs, and our bathrooms.
Now we are about to launch a new dining program that supports the Oyster Recovery Partnership in working for the Chesapeake.
6158 Drum Point Rd., Deale 410-867-7110; www.skipperspier.com
Smokey Joe’s Grill
Come for … Eat in or take out the most delectable barbeque ribs and chicken on the Chesapeake. Smokey Joe’s Grill remains a favorite for great family dining, children’s parties, pig roasts and company picnics. All-you-can-eat ribs served every Monday. Kids eat free every Tuesday.
What’s New … A brand new menu with more scrumptious items such as a new steak and shrimp combo, wings seasoned from mild to suicide (we dare you!) and enhanced favorite recipes.
4160 Mears Ave., Chesapeake Beach; 410-257-2427 www.chesapeakebeachresortspa.com
South River Pizza International Café
Come for … South River Pizza is now an International Café. The extensive menu offers the goodness of American favorites with the flare of Mediterranean specialties. Inspiration is drawn from that entire region so whether you’re looking for baba ghanoush or mac and cheese, falafel or paella, you’ve come to the right place. Pizza comes with a variety of traditional and gourmet toppings, from pepperoni to crab dip. Best of all, it is now available gluten-free.
Lunch and dinner are served daily, with specials offered for the big game and more. South River Pizza is known for its family-friendly environment, and owner Sammy Sallam is usually there with a warm welcome and the latest local news. Eat in, carry out and delivery is also available to Edgewater, Mayo, Davidsonville, Riva and parts of Annapolis.
Perhaps the best-kept secret of this local establishment is its catering menu, where the chefs can really showcase their talent. Small family functions, corporate events and wedding banquets have all trusted the staff at South River Pizza to provide a unique and top-quality experience at a price you won’t find anywhere else.
The Story … Since opening in 2006, South River Pizza has been dedicated in their support of local schools, congregations and charitable events. Whether donating goods to hurricane relief efforts or officially sponsoring the Battle of the Bands, you can count on Sammy and his team to deliver.
At South River Pizza you’ll find free WiFi, good company and tasty eats at a great value!
58 West Central Ave., Edgewater; 410-956-1160; www.south-river-pizza.com
Stan & Joe’s Saloon
Come for … Saloon-style camaraderie, food and drink. Stan & Joe’s bar menu was voted Best of the Bay by Bay Weekly readers.
Also new is a two page a la carte brunch menu — with prime rib hash and huevos rancheros — and a new lunch menu with home-style and health-conscious offerings.
Come spring, you can enjoy that menu and more on outdoor patios in both locations.
37 West St., Annapolis; 410-263-1993
173 Mitchells Chance Rd., Edgewater; 443-837-6126
Come for … Fresh crab cakes, great cuts of steak and an expansive menu that will keep the whole family full and happy. Try our pasta dishes, large salads, steaming fajitas and seafood dishes, from crab cakes to catfish to snow crab legs. We offer a reduced-portion menu for New Year’s Resolutioners, featuring a grilled pork chop, a ribeye or small rack of ribs.
Come by boat and dock at Thursdays Steak and Crab House, at the old Old Steamboat Landing pier on the West River in Galesville.
What’s New … Thursday’s Bar and Grill has moved from North Beach to the Paris Oaks Shopping Center across Rt. 260 from Sneade’s Hardware. But as always, Thursday’s Bar & Grill and Thursday’s Steak & Crab House are locally owned and operated by David and Angela Hysan.
Thursday’s Bar and Grill: 1751 Horace Ward Rd., Owings; 410-268-8695
Thursday’s Steak & Crab House: 4851 Riverside Dr., Galesville; 410-867-7200
Umai Sushi House
Come for … Sit down or carry out fresh, delicious and innovative sushi. Or fight the cold with such warm Korean specialties as fiery chicken spicy soup.
The Story … “For many years, people hungry for Korean or even Japanese dishes had to go to Annapolis, Bowie or Prince Frederick. In 2011, I filled the gap with Deale Umai Sushi House,” says owner Chang Hee Park.
Umai? That’s Japanese for delicious.
657 Deale Rd., Deale; 410-867-4433
The Wild Orchid Café
Come for … “What could be more satisfying than to know an expert team has not only prepared your meal perfectly but has also met the people that planted, grew, and harvested it?” asks co-owner Karen Wilder.
The Story … In 1996, Chef Jim Wilder created The Wild Orchid Café to create a dining experience providing the freshest regional produce using time-tested gourmet techniques.
Not much has changed in this philosophy except now it’s called going local. Our culinary team at The Wild Orchid Café has always been local. We still believe the best meal is from your back yard or as close to it as you can get. We work very hard exploring new farms and new growers, new chicken guys and egg people, and we are active in promoting sustainable agriculture.
What’s New … This year we are hosting monthly wine-tasting dinners. Starting in March, each month will feature a certain area and type of wine typical of the area.
The Wild Orchid Café’s Sautéed Chicken Livers with Smoked Bacon and Roasted Grapes
The robust and hearty flavors of chicken livers and bacon are made into a wonderful canapé with the unlikely addition of roasted grapes. Try using a variety of the red, black, or green seasonal fall grapes.
1 cup green grapes, picked and rinsed
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 slices bacon
1 pound chicken livers, cleaned and dried
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions (about 1 medium)
2 cloves garlic, sliced paper thin
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup port
2 tablespoons aged sherry vinegar
Four 3/4-inch slices brioche, buttered and toasted right before serving
2 cups loosely packed mâche greens, rinsed, and
any large stems removed
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the grapes with the olive oil, spread on a baking sheet and roast until just wilted, about 5 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
Cut 2 slices of bacon in half and cook until crisp. Set aside and keep warm.
Season the chicken livers thoroughly with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan, melt butter on medium-high heat, then add the livers and sear on both sides until golden brown, about 5 minutes total. Remove from pan and set aside.
Finely chop the remaining 4 slices of bacon, add to the pan, and brown slightly over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onions and cook until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add 1 thyme sprig, then add the port and sherry vinegar and deglaze the pan. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Return the chicken livers to the pan and heat through. Take the pan off the heat, remove the thyme sprig, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
To serve, place a slice of toasted brioche in the center of each plate, mound chicken liver mixture on top and pile the mâche alongside. Lean a crispy bacon strip against the salad. Garnish with roasted grapes and remaining thyme leaves. Spoon pan juices over the plate and serve.
200 Westgate Circle, Annapolis; 410-268-7656; www.thewildorchidcafe.com