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Waterfront Delight: Fish Whistle Restaurant Review

Apr 16, 2015 04:07PM ● By Cate Reynolds
By Diana Jeffra // Photography by Tony Lewis, Jr.

Fish Whistle
98 Cannon Street, Chestertown

A reasonable drive from many points on the Shore, as well as Annapolis, is Fish Whistle, the only waterfront dining location in quaint Chestertown. Approaching the restaurant, diners are presented with a marina-style building and ample parking lot. Although the winter months don’t showcase this hidden gem to its fullest potential, there were a fair number of patrons enjoying the Thursday night all-you-can-eat oysters ($35 per person) during our visit, and it’s presumptively clear that in the summer months this must be a very happening location.

After being seated, we were greeted by the very professional and knowledgeable Taylor. In addition to the oysters, Thursday nights present numerous appealing specials. We enjoyed a half dozen fresh oysters to start, paired with a clean, middle-of-the-road Dry Creek Fumé Blanc. We stuck with the seafood theme and for our next course, happily prodding at Drunken Mussels ($10.50) served in a large bowl, giving ample access to the delicious olive oil, garlic, and white wine broth. We made good use of the warm crusty bread to soak up the broth. The portion size was appropriate as an appetizer for light sharing between two or, perhaps, for one hungry person.
While one of the first options to catch our eye for a main course was a Pan Seared Duck Breast Salad, we instead opted for the Cioppino ($25), which proved to be an outstanding dish. Traditionally a San Franciscan catch-of-the-day stew, this variation included scallops, shrimp, mussels, clams, and salmon. Because it was served in a wide-rimmed bowl, we were given a second opportunity for excellent broth dipping. In this case, the broth was flavored with wine and tomato, and the bread was sliced baguette topped with cheese, red pepper flakes, and garlic and then toasted.

Our other main course selection was Chuck’s Fish Cakes ($14), made of salmon, cod, tuna, and scallops. The well-presented fish cakes were accompanied by a zesty seaweed salad, fried wontons, and a sesame ginger glaze. Although their resemblance to crabcakes might set the stage for comparing and contrasting the two types of cakes, the flavors of Chuck’s Fish Cakes are stand-alone amazing and more than live up to their appearance. This was a dish of satisfying contrasts: vibrant colors, variations in texture, and a delightful array of flavor profiles.
Dessert was a difficult choice to make because everything looked appealing, and there was even a selection of freshly baked pies (prices vary) from Fish Whistle’s own kitchen—homemade down to the crust. We ultimately chose to taste two desserts, the first of which was Lemon Cheesecake with a Blueberry Sauce. The cheesecake was light and smooth, and the blueberry-lemon flavor combination was refreshing at the end of the meal. The other choice was a classic Lemon Meringue Pie, with a satisfyingly creamy lemon curd base and a nice airy meringue top. Each dessert was substantial enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, but light and refreshing enough to be a pleasant end to the meal.

Overall, the experience at Fish Whistle was warm, welcoming, and relaxing. It is easy to imagine that in the summer months visitors would also appreciate a great atmosphere, but perhaps with a bit more bustle.

Eastern Shore native, Diana Jeffra is a professional chef and aspiring food stylist. Her background in graphic design and her culinary degree from the Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute have led her to begin work on her first cookbook. Past adventures have led her to culinary competitions and a summer cooking in Italy.