Jump to content

The Dry Dock, Solomon's Island


Recommended Posts

We had a surprisingly good dinner there last night. "Chesapeake Bay" magazine voted it the "most romantic restaurant in the state of Maryland" and, remarkably, it really may be!!! It's on the second floor in a marina with five or six tables inside and seven or eight tables (2 deuces, five or six four tops) outside on a deck overlooking the marina. The ONLY light is from candles on the table and two dim lanterns on the wall. When the sun sets and the full moon rises over the harbor (as last night) around 8:30 it was, well, damned dramatic!!! Frankly, with this kind of ambience even if the food was frozen I probably would have still liked this place!

But the food wasn't frozen. In fact it was excellent with several dishes actually outstanding including a truly great amaretto glazed shrimp with honey horseradish sauce appetizer and superb cream of crab soup. Excellent baked rockfish stuffed with crab imperial along with jumbo shrimp with the same lump crab imperial and an orange jerk glaze. This is also a place that has a "crab dip du jour." Hmm.....it was incredible. Fattening, just oozing worthwhile indulgent calories and excess.

My guess is that for the food Tom Sietsema would give it two and one half stars (weak bread, decent but no better desserts hold it down). If only the first and main courses were judged this would be on par with one of K Street's best. (Rockfish was absolutely perfectly prepared-one of the best presentations of this that I have seen anywhere-I eat a LOT of rockfish!) But, factor in the ambience and it is truly a special place, well worth the 80 miles from downtown.

There was a "rave" review of the Dry Dock in the "Southern Maryland" section of the Post on May 24th of 2001. The restaurant has actually been there since 1981 and, for whatever reason, has apparently received no mention anywhere.

It is excellent. Worthy of a trip from D. C. Also, an anniversary in an especially romantic setting. Candlelight, overlooking a harbor from a second floor deck with a moan or two to accompany incredible amaretto shrimp. A short 80 miles from downtown. Sit outside. At sunset...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, the Dry Dock is the most special place that Solomons has to offer. I've been eating here either before or after most sailing trips (old salt that I am!) for almost 20 years.

Joe, the Drydock may have escaped earlier mention because it what you experienced is really the "new" Dry Dock. For folks who don't know, this restaurant is located on the grounds of Zahniser's Marina. The original was upstairs over the old bath house, where the kitchen was as small as a sailboat's galley. The entire restaurant was maybe half the size of the current one, and had no outdoor porch seating. But the food was awfully good!

The marina built more a "upscale" bathhouse and, in deference to history, moved the Drydock upstairs to new space over the new construction. More upscale surroundings with the porch over the water that Joe mentioned. Sometimes I eat outside, but sometimes I prefer the tablecloths and air conditioning inside.

My one constant disappointment has been the Drydock crabcake. But I too have found that, as Joe noted, whatever fresh fish is available has always satisfied.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We used to be regulars at Dry Dock, (we live about 5 miles from there), but our last two visits have been major disappointments. They changed the menu (it used to change daily, now they offer a set menu with a few specials), raised the prices, and the food is definetly worse, IMO. I don't see us going back for some time, which is a shame, because it used to be one of our favorite places to boat to. The last time we went, the steak was tough, and the "mole" sauce was not like any mole I've ever had. My crab stuffed shrimp were bland and unseasoned, with the only notable flavor being the overwhelming flavor of the red bell peppers. It was inedible and I left the bulk of it on my plate. The service was down, too. Although many of the servers are the same, there is one who is particularly clueless. We specifically asked him for the sauce on the side (friend order softshells but doesn't care for sauce). He knew it was wrong when he brought it (he apologized), but did not try to make it right. Why he would even bring a dish he knew was wrong is beyond me. We had to insist that he take it back. We had to track him down on several occasions to get more wine, water, and the check. Obviously, some people still like it, but I think it has gone downhill significantly.

For food, we like the CD Cafe in Solomons much better. They don't have the atmosphere of the Dry Dock, but people are willing to wait an hour for one of their 12 tables. (Although we're just as happy sitting at the 3 person bar if it is open (no wait)). They typically have 3 dinner specials nightly, usually fish. My husband never orders off the menu anymore, and when he eats fish elsewhere, it rarely compares well to the specials at CDs. The house made desserts are great, too. If you have to wait for a table, the Next Door Lounge (same people) is a nice place. I love their scallops BBT (basil, bacon and tomato). Beautifully seasoned and seared, served on bagette slices with a safron aoli. We have made a meal of the appetizers on occasion. They have the same desserts, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, the Dry Dock is the most special place that Solomons has to offer. I've been eating here either before or after most sailing trips (old salt that I am!) for almost 20 years.

Joe, the Drydock may have escaped earlier mention because it what you experienced is really the "new" Dry Dock. For folks who don't know, this restaurant is located on the grounds of Zahniser's Marina. The original was upstairs over the old bath house, where the kitchen was as small as a sailboat's galley. The entire restaurant was maybe half the size of the current one, and had no outdoor porch seating. But the food was awfully good!

The marina built more a "upscale" bathhouse and, in deference to history, moved the Drydock upstairs to new space over the new construction. More upscale surroundings with the porch over the water that Joe mentioned. Sometimes I eat outside, but sometimes I prefer the tablecloths and air conditioning inside.

My one constant disappointment has been the Drydock crabcake. But I too have found that, as Joe noted, whatever fresh fish is available has always satisfied.

The crab cake looked like it was panko crusted and very non traditional; for whatever reason we didn't order it and, based on what we did have, I think a good decision. I did think that the amarone glazed shrimp was one of the best shrimp dishes I have ever had. A review on the wall from the Post from '01 included its recipe which I spent five minutes copying. The owner told me that while the ingredients were accurate the amount of each was just an "educated guess." Looking it over I'm going to have to experiment. Still, it was good enough that I'll play with it long enough to get it down.

Bonz, I should note that when researching where to go I came across a post of your's from '04 on CH about the Dry Dock and, along with several posts on local message boards, felt that we had to go to it. Thanks!!!

I thought the prices were fair for what they served: the amarone glazed shrimp were $15 for six 10-15 count, heavily sauced. The rockfish special was $28 and, for me, an actual bargain given the flavor, texture and size of the portion. Most wine was $28 - 42 a bottle which is reasonable but the per glass prices were high. It might be that I am using the perspective of D. C. prices to judge the Dry Dock but considering our overall enjoyment of the meal and the setting it was well worth it.

We'll be back within a month.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...