One of Ocean City's newest restaurants, the Island Cafe, Coastal Highway and 138th Street, offers a menu not too unlike some of the resort's well-known establishments.
The Island Cafe features seafood, of course, including fried sea scallops ($10.50), pan fried soft crabs (at market price), and fried oyster dinner ($10.95).
And there are some of the usual entrees: sizzling Delmonico steak ($12.95), beef and seafood combinations and chicken and seafood combinations, ranging from $13.95 to $15.95.
For a change, my dining partner and I decided against seafood and ordered the charbroiled boneless chicken breast cordon bleu ($10.50) and the Delmonico steak.
The chicken cordon bleu, while certainly an inventive feature on the menu, didn't quite meet expectations. The charbroiled chicken was tender and tasty, and there was nothing wrong with the melted Swiss cheese and ham topping the chicken breast. But somehow the savoriness was missing.
My disappointment, though, was overcome by the coleslaw, which we learned contained two ingredients, horseradish and poppy seed, that gave it an unusual and appealing taste.
The Delmonico steak was indeed served sizzling. The cut was tender and generous. Like other entrees, the steak was served with a choice of potato and vegetable, which on this evening was asparagus.
Other restaurants have served us both overcooked and raw asparagus. But Island Cafe served the vegetable perfectly done, crisp with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
The Island Cafe has no children's menu. Not to worry, though. A basket of chicken strips and an order of fries (less than $5) more than satisfied the hungry children in our dinner party.
Having skipped appetizers, we settled for desserts: a chocolate mousse pie (fluffy and slightly bitter) and thunder cake, a chocolate cake with raspberry liqueur and chocolate chips.
The desserts, especially made for the Island Cafe, were wonderful. A coconut cake on the menu also sounded divine.
Dessert was topped with a better-than-usual coffee.
With its tropical plants, fresh flowers on each table, wooden booths and wicker chairs, the Island Cafe proved to be a welcome oasis from our own kitchen.
Bayside Plaza, 138th Street and Coastal Highway, (410) 250-2939.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Credit cards: Visa and Mastercharge.
Features: seafood, beef and chicken entrees.
No separate areas for non-smokers.