The Rod n' Reel
Feb 28, 2012 02:05PM
● By Anonymous
Since opening in 1946, the resort has grown to become a premier waterfront destination for both land-lovers and boaters who want to have a quintessential Chesapeake Bay experience.
More than 100 years ago, Chesapeake Beach was a thriving vacation destination with visitors coming by steamship and railway to stay at the grand hotel, dine on local seafood dishes, play at the waterfront amusement park, and stroll the boardwalk. These days, the Chesapeake Beach Resort & Spa embodies that same spirit of being a waterfront getaway destination. It’s famous for being the charter fishing capital of Maryland and also boasts two full-service marinas.
The recently renovated Rod ‘N’ Reel offers a waterfront dining experience in a light and airy dining room, decorated in traditional maritime colors of light blue and off-white. Sit anywhere in the dining room for a fantastic view of the Bay.
Executive Chef Joseph Misero designed a new menu last year, which was the 65th anniversary of the restaurant. He brought back most of the popular dishes from previous menus while also introducing some Chesapeake-infused culinary creations.
Natalie, our server, did a fine job taking care of us. We began by looking at the wine list, which is simple yet elegant. We ordered a bottle of Ruffino Chianti ($22) because it wasn’t available by the glass. However, the new Maryland wine laws, passed last summer, allowed us to take the unfinished bottle home. We got started on our meal with two local favorites, Maryland Crab Soup ($5.29) and the Cream of Crab ($5.59). The Maryland Crab Soup was as authentic as it can get. The rich broth, well garnished with vegetables and an abundance of crabmeat, was a mouthful of flavors. The Cream of Crab, while quite good, could have used a little more zing. To follow up, we shared the Wedge Salad ($6.59), a crisp and fresh quarter of iceberg lettuce topped with chopped bacon, grape tomatoes, and blue cheese, then served with a side of blue cheese dressing—delicious and refreshing.
To stick with the theme of classic Maryland, we chose long-time state specialties, beginning with the Mariner Platter ($29.99). It came as a generous assortment of large shrimp, scallops, flounder, oysters, and crabcakes, all deep-fried to a golden brown. It’s a job well done when all the seafood stays moist while being crispy. The traditional accompaniment of French fries and coleslaw gave it the right accent.
For me, one of my favorites, the fresh Stuffed Rockfish Filet ($24.99) was superb. It was overstuffed with a smooth, tasty imperial crab mixture—a simply delightful dish! The fish was moist and delicious, served with an order of rice and perfectly cooked Haricot Verts.
To finish off the meal, we shared a wonderful Strawberry Sabayon ($6.99). The sabayon, also called Zabaione, is a very popular dessert in Italy, typically made with Marsala wine and served with fresh figs. It has a very particular culinary preparation, yet it’s a very versatile dessert.
Co-owner Gerald Donovan told us that he and his brother want to recreate the same atmosphere that original owner Otto Mears had 100 years ago when he envisioned Chesapeake Beach being the next Monte Carlo. “We are very proud of our past here,” he added, “and we are looking forward to the next 65 years in business.”