Jun 10, 2014 09:46AM ● Published by Cate Reynolds
The Point Crab House & Grill
700 Mill Creek Road, Arnold • 410-544-5448 • thepointcrabhouse.com
The Point Crab House & Grill opened to great anticipation less than two years ago—and it’s living up to its heralded arrival. Co-owners Bobby and Julie Jones and investor, Michael Neill, got this right: view, architecture, fun, and, yes, the food—a tall order for a small marina setting. With the couple managing and Bobby also serving as executive chef in the kitchen, good things keep-a-comin.’
Born in Baltimore and raised around the Bay, Bobby put his Chesapeake memories to work: tomatoes, crab, and local corn are staples coupled with fresh and creative flair for today’s palate—and eye. All set against the backdrop of docks and the water. The Point welcomes you as friends within an inviting space and a penchant for being squeaky-clean (even the windows sparkle). The atmosphere is hip yet comfortable for a crowd of diverse ages. Like you’ve escaped to a favorite vacation spot...and left chaos far, far behind as you travel deep into the Mago Vista neighborhood; an unusual approach to this sheltered marina and restaurant on the Magothy River.
Bobby’s graphic design background is evident in The Point’s look. Literally perched right at the waters of the Magothy, it’s casually classy in a coastal way with memorable year-round views from large glass doors on three sides. Seating inside, including the bar, is for 160. When the weather is pleasant, the glass paned overhead (garage-style) doors slide up to accommodate 40 more at bistro and picnic tables shielded by umbrellas—pure genius inspired by restaurants Bobby and Julia have enjoyed.
In fact: brace yourself for crowds as word spreads about this gem. Even on a Wednesday night in April, we had a 35-minute wait. Perfectly pleasant though, as we entertained ourselves at the bar, checking out the large black and white photographs of old world Chesapeake Bay, chatting with friendly patrons, and enjoying local musician Doug Segree’s talent. Of course, the Wednesday crowd may have been the Happy Hour folks.
Service is cool, calm, knowledgeable, and friendly even as the place is bustling. We had many questions and got answers from our server, Carrie, about all of the items on the menu being homemade (save for two or three kinds of rolls and the ice cream). As a firm supporter of the locavore movement, Bobby has declared that the live blue crabs he serves will never come from further south than North Carolina.
We began our feast with a test of a favorite regional soup, the Cream of Crab. It was velvety thick with lumps of crab and redolent with a hint of dry sherry. Two of our party—both experts on the matter—declared it the best they had ever consumed.
Mom-Mom’s Maryland Crab Soup was a classic rendition of the tomato-based soup—another Bay regional favorite. It was a pleasant surprise to discover very fresh vegetables in the rich base.
Prince Edward Island mussels were almost fully-immersed in a white wine, garlic, shallots, fresh herbs, and butter broth, good enough to merit a spoon for slurping every drop. Made in-house, butter-grilled focaccia is served atop the generous order. The size of the bivalves can vary with different visits, so check with your server to make sure they are plump.
Our appetizer special of the night (termed “additions”) consisted of two roasted yet crisp green bean bundles looped with bacon and artfully mounded one atop the other. Served with a zig zag of balsamic glaze, diced red bell peppers, and crowned with a pinch of micro greens, the dish was very creative.
On to our entrees. A very large cube of seasoned Seared Ahi Tuna arrived with a substantial mound of garlic-infused mashed potatoes and a line of freshly sautéed spinach down the plate’s center. The tuna was excellent—very rare as the “Ahi” title implies—although Carrie told us many folks ask for it to be cooked to their preference of medium. Gasp! But the kitchen graciously accommodates such requests.
Crab cakes in this region are often graded by the percentage of crabmeat to filler. These crab cakes came in at a whopping 90 percent lump crabmeat. As an entree, the pair of jumbo lump crab cakes, served with house remoulade, seemed to arrive without the accompaniments. No worries, as they were quickly retrieved. The two sides—coleslaw with blue cheese and the very simple house salad—were freshly made. We had to try the famous coleslaw, enlivened with bits of blue cheese. Although the combination seems unlikely, it gives the cabbage salad a nice kick. One taste solved the mystery of how it quickly became an established favorite of Point customers.
Fernie’s Meatloaf is super-sized for the hearty appetite, served with a crunchy slice of applewood smoked bacon and a frizzled onion crown. It was surrounded by a piquant tomato relish, which also carried flecks of red pepper, and the garlic mashed potatoes. We agreed it was a loaded plate for the price. Very good.
Fortunately, we were “warned” that desserts are of “sharable” size, so we agreed on Nutty Buddy Ice Cream Sandwiches. Each of the two sandwiches was comprised of two shortbread cookies spread with peanut butter, piled with vanilla ice cream, blanketed with chocolate, then dipped in chopped peanuts. Oh-so-sweet and delicious.
With summer’s arrival, the menu will change slightly to feature seasonal updates. And the latest word on structural developments to come? A new waiting area in the works, along with additional hostess stations for seating the crowd.
Another enticing tidbit: this restaurant group has obtained the Sly Horse Tavern in Crofton and is remodeling it for a friendly barn/farm eating experience, slated to open sometime in 2015. For the time being, we greatly look forward to repeat visits to The Point.
Cream of Crab Soup................................ $7
Mom-Mom’s Maryland Crab Soup........... $6
Prince Edward Island Mussels................. $11
Roasted Green Bean Bundles................. $6
Seared Ahi Tuna...................................... $25
Crab Cakes.............................................. $26
Fernie’s Meatloaf..................................... $14
Nutty Buddy Ice Cream Sandwiches....... $8