Bowden's: good food, reasonable prices

September 20, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Escaping to Berlin during a weekend downpour, we came across Bowden's Family Restaurant, a cozy-looking eatery at the crossroads of North Main Street and Old Ocean City Road just south of U.S. 50.

We had few expectations. We were hungry and we really wanted to get out of the rain. We wanted decent food at reasonable prices. And we wanted to eat someplace where we would feel comfortable with the kids.

Bowden's Family Restaurant met our expectations and then some.

As soon as we stepped in the door, we were greeted by Marianne Bowden, who along with her husband, Tom, owns and runs the restaurant. The couple moved to the Eastern Shore from California two years ago and opened the eatery in a former television repair shop. Mr. Bowden, we later learned, is a Berlin native.

Eastern Shore fare is the specialty here. The restaurant features an extensive menu of chicken, beef and seafood entrees, ranging in price from $7.95 to $16.95. Several special entrees are available daily, as well.

Bowden's also offers an appealing selection of appetizers, including Maryland crab soup, stuffed mushrooms and steamed shrimp.

I ordered an entree special -- pepper steak ($14.95), a filet, sliced in half, peppered and served with a brown sauce (given a boost with a shot of Jack Daniels). The filet was juicy and tender and the pepper didn't overpower it.

My wife ordered fried flounder ($10.25). The portion was generous -- three nice filets, fried in a thin, ordinary batter. All entrees are served with choice of potato, vegetable -- green beans on the evening we visited -- and a tossed salad.

The kids ordered fried chicken ($3.75) and a cheeseburger ($3.75), both served with French fries. There were no traces of chicken (other than bones) left on our 10-year-old's plate. He gave the chicken high marks. No complaints here.

Dessert, of course, couldn't be passed up. We ordered a black Russian cake -- a chocolate cake with Kahlua and a chocolate whipped cream frosting ($3.25) and an Italian love cake, a cake with a cheesecake-like bottom, yellow cake middle and a topping of chocolate mousse and almonds ($3.25). Both desserts were wonderful. We also had a scoop of ice cream ($1.50).

With our desserts, we had coffee (70 cents). At Bowden's, we didn't have to ask for a second cup. Or a third.

The restaurant also has a limited wine and beer list. Beer drinkers should take note that the prices are modest. Domestic beers are $2.25 a bottle and imported beers are $2.50.

We found Bowden's to be a pleasant, easy-going experience -- )) much like Berlin. We were never hurried. We felt comfortable and welcome in the French country-style dining room, decorated with antiques collected by the Bowdens.

Our waitress, Karen, was very attentive and engaged in conversation -- something we enjoyed after spending a summer in which most wait people simply served us meals. We weren't just customers here -- we were guests.

Bowden's Family Restaurant

North Main Street, Berlin; (410) 641-FOOD.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays to Fridays;

6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard and Diner's Club.

Non-smoking? No.

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