Hell Point Seafood
Dec 08, 2010 09:01PM, Published by Anonymous, Categories: Eat+Drink+Shop
Renowned Chef Robert H. Kinkead, Jr. teamed with award-winning chefs Jeff Gaetjen and James Huff with the goal of crafting an unparalleled dining experience in Annapolis. Their experience and accomplishments are definitely reflected within the entire operation; from first greetings and ambiance to the service and menu.
Upon entering, the sophisticated bar will grab your attention at once. It’s very modern, elegant, and enticing, even on a chilly winter night. You might question whether you’d like to even go upstairs for dinner. However, go upstairs you should . . . and maybe reserve time for a night cap on your way out. The attractive main dining room features a very contemporary look accentuated with a white arbor-style ceiling, brown tones to the rear, and soft lighting toward the front windows, leading to an open view of the water scenery and docks. Carefully crafted and oriented, being nestled in booths gives you a sense of intimacy but still offers an open view; a truly pleasurable nautical feel.
Our waitress Jessica was, from the beginning, very attentive and informative. She succinctly described the menu style and its featured courses. The menu is quite attractive. Of course, it features seafood, but we appreciated the variety of choices. And, we learned, it changes frequently to not only offer the freshest available product but also the chefs’ talents. Using as much local product as possible, the chefs put their skills to work, crafting delectable dishes that please both eyes and taste buds.
We started our dinner with two absolutely wonderful soups. The New England seafood chowder did not leave anything to renege about; it was copious in seafood, rich in taste, and creamy. A silky smooth roasted butternut squash soup was definitely at its best level; very light but with a perceivable hint of spice.
We also sampled an original appetizer; pan-seared homemade potato gnocchi, which proved to be quite a treat! They were sublime, tender inside, lightly crisp outside, sautéed with sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms, gently accentuated with a hint of
“The Portuguese seafood stew was also a winner. It featured a very nice combination of mussels, shrimp, scallops, squid, swordfish, and Chorizo sausage, gently bathing in a saffron broth, and garnished with toast points drizzled with aioli.” –Gilles Syglowksi
basil, lemon, and garlic, and finished with a touch of fresh mozzarella. The stuffed quahogs (clams) with chorizo sausage and touches of lemon were also scrumptious. Following these fantastic openers, we cleared our palates with a refreshing Boston Bibb lettuce salad, dressed with radishes, scallions, and gruyere cheese, in a light Dijon mustard vinaigrette.
It was a great start and we were anxious to see it continue with our entrees. The pan-seared scallops were superb, perfectly cooked and seasoned, served over a bed of delicious parsnip puree, and sided with a tasty accompaniment of pearl onions and chanterelle mushrooms in brown butter. What a great combination of flavors and texture.
The Portuguese seafood stew was also a winner. It featured a very nice combination of mussels, shrimp, scallops, squid, swordfish, and Chorizo sausage, gently bathing in a saffron broth, and garnished with toast points drizzled with aioli. The dish somewhat reminded me of a traditional Spanish zarzuela.
You could call this next dish exotic if you compare it to the rest of the menu, but I found it appropriate for the season and hearty; the pork chop with braised red cabbage. In France, where I was raised, this is as much a specialty as crab cakes are to Maryland; pork chops and red cabbage is a standard menu item in my home region of Lorraine. So how well did Hell Point prepare the dish? Very well. For a moment I forgot we were in Annapolis. The breaded pork chop was cooked to perfection, served atop the red cabbage. It was tender, juicy, and sided with lightly caramelized braised apples and sautéed traditional spatzles (an Alsatian pasta-like egg noodle, found to accompany many dishes as a substitute for starch). It was fantastic.
Finally for dessert, we let our waitress Jessica tempt us (no need to twist my arm) with a warm and freshly made tart tatin; a classic French upside down caramel apple tart, this one using local apples, served with a sugar and sour cream ice cream. For a second sweet treat we opted for the duet of chocolate pot de crème and crème Brûlée, which altogether was very rich, fluffy, and featured whipped sweet cream and chocolate, a gentle thin crisp of sugar caramel, and was accompanied by nice biscotti.
I found the wine list to be exemplary as well, proving easy to rapidly select from one’s preferences, with exciting choices competitively priced. There are a large number of very trendy wines, less of big name classics, offering quality and variety.
Congratulations to the ownership and staff! We had an outstanding experience.
Gilles Syglowski is a certified executive chef, certified culinary instructor, and a food Service consultant. He is a graduate from the Lycee d'Enseignement Professionel Hotelier in Metz, France. He is currently the Assistant General Manager of the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. Mr. Syglowski has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry.
Hell Point Seafood
When to Enjoy:
Tue.–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m.
Fri.–Sun. 11:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m.
Expect to Pay:
Wines by the glass: $8–14
Wines by the bottle: $22 and up