Where: 1717 Eastern Ave., Fells Point.
Hours: Open 11:30 a.m. to midnight Mondays to Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sundays.
Credit Cards: AE, CB, DC, MC, V.
Features: seafood, Spanish cuisine.
Non-smoking section? Yes.
We liked everything on our plates at the Fishery. The seafood was fresh and abundant. Oysters were available, even out of season, and were enormous. Lump crab was laid on with a generous hand.
So what's the problem? Just that an awful lot of what was on our plates, good as it was, was not what we ordered. Did we mumble? Was there an insurmountable language barrier? (This restaurant is, after all, the former Spanish Meson.) After a while we shut up and dutifully ate what was set in front of us.
We should have been forewarned when the waitress, after taking my companion's order for a combination appetizer of oysters Rockefeller and clams casino, came back to the table and asked, "Do you want that steamed?" Uh oh. Does anyone ask for steamed clams casino? We asked a waiter -- a courtly fellow who must have been hired at least partly because of his talent for outrageous flattery -- to find our waitress and clarify the order. Oysters Rockefeller. Clams casino. Hold the steam.
Inevitably, when our appetizers arrived they included -- in addition to a very large, very tasty order of fried calamari ($4.50) -- a whopping steamed seafood combination ($6.95). The waitress was sweet and apologetic, and offered to replace it. But ate it anyway -- the mussels, oysters, clams and a couple of big steamed spiced shrimp, served with melted butter, looked tempting and tasted just as good.
Our salads were ample, graced with summer-fresh tomatoes and well-dressed enough to please Mr. Blackwell.
The stuffed lobster ($18.95) was the whole Maine beast, its tail split and heaped with an admirable imperial, rich but not cloyingly mayo-ridden. It was, in addition, a female lobster, packed with roe.
As good as the imperial was, I was chagrinned to see it turn up again atop my oysters. Stuffed oysters ($16.95) are all well and good, but I had ordered the Fishery stuffed oysters (also $16.95), with fresh spinach, crab, shrimp and bearnaise. Sounds great. I'll have to try it some time.
Our entrees came with buttered rice. Not the French fries and broccoli we had asked for. And on top of all this, my companion could have sworn that Campari was substituted for the Dubonnet she'd specified.
Our desserts came as ordered. I think so anyway. At least that pale mocha sponge-cake roll could have been chocolate mousse cake. The flan, however, was lovely, silky and delicate.
The Fishery still has its Spanish look and Dali prints, and there is still a Spanish flavor to the menu, with paella, suckling pig and other Iberian favorites listed. And I'll bet if you ask for something Spanish, or for something in Spanish, you'll get exactly what you ordered.