Atlantic Hotel Inn: a succulent secret

September 13, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

The Atlantic Hotel Inn and Restaurant, off the beaten path in nearby Berlin, may be the best kept secret in fine dining in the Ocean City area.

Although I've walked by the hotel several times during day trips to Berlin, only recently did I step inside to sample the restaurant's small but appealing menu.

It's unlike any other I've perused in the resort area. Chef Stephen Jacques offers his guests a selection of American regional cuisine that includes chicken, veal, duck, lamb and seafood. And much more.

The appetizers feature selections such as coconut shrimp ($7.95) and oysters on the half shell ($7.95) and include daily specials such as spinach and feta pie ($6.95), lamb pasties ($7.95), and great combo of lamb, apples, raisins and spices wrapped in a phyllo pastry and finished with curry sauce.

Although the evening's appetizers sounded wonderful, I, dining alone on the waning days of the summer season, chose a cup of the soup of the day -- cream of cauliflower ($3.25). This delicious, creamy soup contained generous pieces of cauliflower.

Dinners include hot rolls and sweetened corn pone, an Eastern Shore bread made of milk, sugar, corn meal and eggs that is cooked on the stove and then baked.

Another nice touch is the sorbet between courses to cleanse the palate. The evening I was there it was a refreshing raspberry flavor.

Although the entree selection is limited, it is wonderfully appealing. I had a difficult time choosing between veal puttanesca ($19.95), veal medallions sauteed with garlic, olives, sun dried tomatoes and other seasonings, and tournedos au poivre ($23.95). I opted for the latter -- a tender filet mignon, encrusted with cracked pepper and seared in a skillet with scotch orange butter. It was simply delicious.

A glass of Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 1987 ($6) was the perfect accompaniment to the peppery filet. The hotel offers a variety of American wines and has won the Wine Spectators Award of Excellence each of the last four years.

It came as no surprise that the dessert selection was heavenly. I chose a chocolate cake with a raspberry preserve center topped with Chambord ganache ($3.50) that was similar to a classic Sacher torte. It was decadent and by far the best dessert I've enjoyed at any restaurant in years.

Other temptations included pecan pie, Bailey's cheesecake, cinnamon walnut ice cream and a creme brulee. Of course, they're all homemade.

Although I was dining solo, I enjoyed a pleasant, memorable experience at the Atlantic Hotel. The dining room is intimate and romantic and decorated in a Victorian-style with plush seats and oversized tables.

Visiting the restaurant turned out to be one of the highlights of a summer at the Shore. And I certainly intend to return.

Atlantic Hotel Inn and Restaurant

2 N. Main St., Berlin; (410) 641-3589.

Hours: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdaysand 5 pm. to 9 p.m. Sundays.

Credit cards: Visa, MC, American Express.

Non-smoking?: No.

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