On a recent chilly and foggy night, my father and I trekked to Annapolis hungry and more than a little tired. We wanted great seafood, cozy ambience and a comfortable dining experience.
Chart House offered up two of the three -- some of the seafood we had was considerably less than pleasing.
We arrived about 9 p.m. and were intrigued with the ambience. The restaurant's interior resembled the inside of a boat, wooden beams and all. And with a table by a window that looked out on boats bobbing in the nearby marina, we felt as if we were peering from a deck and bobbing ourselves.
"You could get seasick," my father joked.
We began our meal with a trip to the "signature salad bar," an option with every entree ordered. The bar had an extensive selection, complete with a salad bar attendant who whipped up customized Caesar salads, which were wonderful, and lumpfish caviar, which my father didn't enjoy because it had a strange aftertaste.
The hot, sweet and soft bread our waiter brought was delicious. So was the bowl of cream of crab soup ($5.95) we shared. Touted as a "luxurious soup with sherry and lump crabmeat," it was thick, filling and tasty, and came with fat chunks of crab.
The coconut crunchy shrimp ($9.95) was as divine. We got four huge shrimp dipped in tempura batter and coconut, fried and served with honey mustard and plum sauces on the side. We devoured them in seconds, and our only complaint was that it was a little on the oily side.
We were stuffed even before the entrees came but made a brave go at them anyway. I had the herb-roasted salmon ($22.95) with a baked potato, which was great. The salmon -- a generous portion -- was tender, juicy and fresh and its herbed crust was delicious.
My father's entree, however, was literally hard to swallow. He had the scallops ($20.95), which the menu said were "Sashimi grade" -- our waiter told us regretfully that he didn't know what that meant when we asked -- and baked with a "hint of butter."
It wouldn't have mattered what they were baked in, because the scallops were so tough my father left more than half of them on his plate. He cleaned up the flavorful rice pilaf that came with it instead.
We split a dessert. My father, achocoholic, chose the mud pie ($5.95), a mound of coffee ice cream with a chocolate wafer crust, doused with chocolate fudge and sprinkled with toasted almonds. Unhappily, we didn't have room to put it all away.
Where: 300 Second St., Annapolis 410-268-7166
Hours: Dinner, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. Brunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Diners
Rating: ** 1/2
Ratings: * culinary wasteland
**** culinary heaven
Pub Date: 4/09/98