From One Capital To Another

TABLE TALK

Chef/owner Of Kinkead's Opens Hell Point Seafood In Annapolis

July 15, 2009|By ELIZABETH LARGE

Kinkead's has been one of Washington's best-known power restaurants for many years. Now veteran chef and owner Bob Kinkead has a new restaurant in Maryland's capital.

Hell Point Seafood, more casual, bigger and less pricey than its sibling, opened a couple of weeks ago where Annapolis' Phillips Seafood used to be at 12 Dock St. The name comes from the location, which was once a working-class district known as Hell Point.

I asked Kinkead why, after so many years, he decided to open a new place.

"When the building became available, that was key," he said. "The market is a good market, but I had to own the property. I wanted to have my destiny in my hands."

The Phillips space didn't need major renovation. He redid the bathrooms and installed new kitchen equipment, but other changes are mostly cosmetic.

"It doesn't look that different," he said. "It's more upscale and there are a lot of windows."

The draw, he said, besides the food is the view of the water and the boats at the dock. The two main dining rooms seat 270.

The food is straightforward Maryland and New England seafood, like rockfish, fried clams and lobster roll. Unlike the Washington restaurant, Hell Point has a kids' menu and offers sandwiches.

Hell Point's specialty is fin fish, said Kinkead, as opposed to Phillips, where crab was king. But there is, of course, a crab cake.

"It's only 45 minutes away," he said of the new restaurant, "but the crab cake sandwich is far and away our biggest seller. Not so in D.C."

I asked what he thought made his crab cake so popular. "It's local crab whenever possible, but it's not always possible. It's jumbo lump and not a lot of filler. We make it fresh. There's no secret ingredient."

And why does he think his seafood restaurant will succeed where another seafood restaurant closed?

"More things are made fresh," he said, "and it's my style of cooking."

Hell Point Seafood is open for lunch and dinner daily. Dishes range in price from $7 to $24 for lunch and $14 to $24 for dinner.

Crab watch : Here's the latest installment of Elizabeth Large's Crab Watch. This time I called a few crab houses in the Essex/Dundalk area to see what steamed hard shells were going for. Don't hold the places to these prices - they were good for the day I called. These are eat in, not carryout.

Schultz's Crab House in Essex sorts by weight, not size of shell, I was told. On July 10, mediums cost $32 and $38 a dozen, a mix of mediums and larges were going for $42 and large and extra-large were $45.

Mr. Bill's Terrace Inn in Essex had been closed for vacation since the Fourth when I called. They had just opened and were still sorting, but the woman I spoke to told me there would at least be mediums for $52 and larges for $58 - and maybe some larger sizes.

Costas Inn in Dundalk had mediums for $45, larges for $54, extra-larges for $62 and jumbos for $72.

Ross Crab House in Dundalk had the widest range: smalls for $25, mediums for $37, larges for $47, extra-larges for $65, and females for $26 a dozen. Prices are the same there for eat in or carryout.

Report on McCabe's : People have been asking me what's going to happen to the McCabe's space at 3845 Falls Road. I don't have much to report except that I think it will reopen. I asked Douglas Paige, spokesman for the city liquor board, about the Hampden bar/restaurant, which closed unexpectedly in February. He told me he had just returned from the public hearings about the transfer of ownership of the license. Interestingly, the owner's request to add outdoor tables and live entertainment was withdrawn at the hearing. Paige gave me the contact information for the new owner, who hasn't returned my calls yet.

Another closure : The restaurant closings continue, and it's not always the expense account and special occasion places. Kloby's Backyard Barbecue in Gwynn Oak is no more. (Kloby's Smokehouse in Laurel is still open.)

Deal of the Week

The Deal: Five-course tasting menu with five two-ounce pours for $29 a person. Minimum of four people per table, and advance reservations required.

Where: The Wine Market, 921 E. Fort Ave., Suite 135

Call: 410-244-6166

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