Dec 08, 2010 08:05PM
● By Anonymous
We continued past our destination, Latitude 38° Bistro & Spirits, and first took a jaunt through the quaint town of Oxford, one of America’s oldest, appreciating its still-not-overdeveloped waterfront setting and taking in the serene vistas. Hunger pangs eventually prodded us to stop for dinner.
Impossible to miss as you enter town, Latitude 38° offers plenty of off-street parking; but as the evening progressed, cars and SUVs steadily filled up the quiet street’s curbside parking spaces. We entered through the door leading into one of the more formal dining rooms and wandered over to the hostess, who was stationed near the middle of the restaurant. The bar area is a popular spot for locals to enjoy good food, drinks, and company, and we noticed most of the bar stools were occupied as we were led to our table in one of the restaurant’s more casual dining areas. After being seated, we were presented with a plate of sliced, freshly baked, sweet, country white bread served with whipped butter, one of a number of breads made daily on-site.
The pine floors, handpainted, sea-themed murals on the walls, and dark wood of the bar, chairs, and tables give the interior a comfortable, nautical vibe reminiscent of an old ship’s dining area, or at least what one imagines one to be. Our waitress, Carlye, soon took our drink orders. One of us had a Grey Goose martini ($6.95) and the others ordered from the wine list (by the glass: $5.95–10.50/by the bottle: $28–49). When Carlye returned with our drinks, she informed us of the evening’s specials and gave us a few minutes to peruse the dinner menu.
All four of us decided to try the soup of the day (cup: $4.95/bowl: $5.95), which happened to be a tomato bisque with basil, and to share a couple of appetizers. We agreed on the Napoleon of fried green tomatoes with jumbo lump crab ($14.95), and the mussels and frites ($12.95). The splendidly presented fried green tomatoes with crab consisted of jumbo lump crab meat layered with red onion chutney, lavosh bread (a type of flatbread), goat cheese, and a remoulade sauce. The flavors complemented each other, lending an exciting flair to an otherwise traditional dish. The mussels and frites made a tasty pairing. The mussels were prepared in a light, white wine and garlic sauce—just right. The crispy frites were thin-cut and perfect for soaking up the yummy sauce from the mussels— momentarily tempting us to grab our soup spoons and start ladling it into our mouths (proper decorum got the better of us). The tomato bisque had a hint of basil in each mouthful—but not so much that it became overwhelming— and was full of flavor with a hearty texture, and definitely not out of a can.
Before placing our entrée orders, Carlye mentioned that each is available in both full and half portions. Half portions contain roughly four ounces of meat, while fullsize entrées not only have more meat but include a Greek, Caesar, or house salad. Mary ordered a half entrée of the mahi-mahi with sweet, roasted Vidalia onion sauce ($13.95). Chad chose the full portion of jumbo lump crab cakes (market price, but usually around $32.95). Christine decided very quickly to feast on the half entrée of rack of lamb ($14.95), and Doug was enticed by the full portion of pan-roasted scallops ($27.95). To complement our main courses, we opted for a bottle of Frei Brothers’ chardonnay ($35).
Photos by Tony Lewis Jr.
26342 Oxford Rd.
Owner: Gretchen Gordon & Wendy Palmer Chef: Doug Stewart
When to Enjoy:
Sun.-Thurs.: 5:30-9 p.m.
Fri. & Sat.: 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Sunday Brunch: 11 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Expect to Pay:
Appetizers: $5-16, Full Entrees: $26 average, Half Entrees: $14 average, Desserts: $7.