Well-done seafood that can reel you in

TAKEOUT

Market delivers on all but a beach

July 31, 2002|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

As I walked into the Annapolis Seafood Market, I indulged myself in a brief reverie -- that I was down at the beach in a no-nonsense seafood outlet, picking up something for dinner.

Like countless resort seafood markets, the Annapolis market has a plain concrete floor, swordfish and dolphin fish mounted on the walls, and display counters bulging with ice and fresh seafood. Unfortunately, the market sits next to a bagel shop and a pizza store, in a sprawling shopping center on Ritchie Highway, not in Rehoboth, Del.

The good news, though, is that the market -- part of a four-store chain in Anne Arundel and Charles counties -- delivers quality prepared seafood and fixings.

My mammoth order took a good 20 minutes to prepare, but that gave me time to inspect some of the things I passed up. Herring fillets in wine sauce looked good, as did Cajun crawfish salad. Aside from its wide display of fresh seafood, the store also sells some frozen, including frog legs, eels and gourmet smoked fish from the Ducktrap operation in Maine.

The New England clam chowder ($1.99 a cup), which is said to be made daily, was the usual thick concoction, laced with slightly sandy clams and potato pieces. While a Mainer wouldn't recognize it as real chowder, it was tasty enough.

A second appetizer, silver-dollar-sized scallops wrapped in bacon (about $1 apiece), came drenched in a sweet barbecue sauce. The unlikely combination was somehow quite good.

Another oddball offering -- the seafood Dagwood ($7.99) -- delivered an almost absurd amount of food. A hoagie roll was stuffed with an enormous slice of deep-fried whitefish, clam strips, crab balls, a few fried shrimp and a couple of scallops. The roll seemed utterly superfluous. Except for the crab balls, which were bland and stringy, the Dagwood's seafood was all well-fried and good.

The broiled back-fin crab cake ($7.99) was much better than the crab balls -- sweet, thick and packed with precious little filler or unnecessary extras such as peppers.

A final entree, a Cajun-grilled-tuna sandwich ($5.99), had been coated in salt and red pepper and grilled black. It was delicious. Our side orders, french fries and hush puppies, were also done well.

The market also sells steamed crabs, which ran as high as $60 a dozen the day I visited.

Annapolis Seafood Market

Food: * * *

Service: * * * 1/2

Waiting area: * * *

Parking: * * *

Where: 552 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park

Phone: 410-544-4900

Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

Prices: Appetizers $2.99 to $9.99; sandwiches and entrees $2.99 to $15.99

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