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Newly Opened Bridges Restaurant Breathes Life into Kent Island

May 07, 2010 05:33PM ● By Anonymous

Early reviews of Bridges have been mostly positive with a few bumps along the way. Nothing unexpected from a newly opened restaurant.

The space is sophisticated, with a clear emphasis on openness. The open-air bar connects to the inside bar, and the open kitchen provides a look at Clark working the expo line during busy hours.

For now, the menu is limited, though Clark and his team are clear that they intend to expand in time. There are standard plates like wings and calamari, which are nice and on the delicate side, if a bit unadventurous, and there's a brick oven for specialty pizzas. Standout items during a recent visit were baked oysters and stuffed peppers with tomato sauce and feta cheese. The wine list more than holds its own, and there’s a lineup of signature cocktails that at $9 a pop will price out a lot of casual diners.

It feels a bit like a Caribbean resort, without being yet another Buffet-themed beach bar, if that makes sense.

In the “What’s the Buzz?” column in January, I reported that the restaurant was set to be called Bistro 321. Some of the faces behind the scenes changed between then and the restaurant’s opening, which lead to its name change. I promise.

I can’t imagine I’m alone when I say that the approach is a welcomed change of pace on Kent Island. I’m as much of an Old Bay-loving, Natty Boh-drinking Marylander as the next guy, but there’s only so much demand for traditional Maryland crab and seafood houses. For that matter, there’s only so much demand for slightly upscale spots that cater to families and an older clientele. Before Bridges, I’d argue that those were your two choices in the area. You could make the case that Bridges and The Narrows are pretty similar, but I’d say their menus are distinct enough for them to carve out unique niches. And anyone who ate at Julia’s over the years—and judging by the public outcry over its unexpected closing late last year, there are a lot of you—can attest that Clark’s return to the dining scene is welcome, regardless of what he’s cooking. I’m all for a chef bringing something different to the table, but only if it’s well-executed. Execution is never something that’ll be in question for Clark.