It was raining, really raining, and windy yesterday when we pulled onto the lot in front of SEASIDE DELI along Coastal Highway and 73nd Street in Ocean City MD! Only those familiar with our island know that a sudden downpour in OC turns the whole town into an, albeit temporary, ‘seaside’ location!!!
No matter, the warm greeting from Clint (one of the owner brothers), the rich, thick homemade split pea soup and the golden crunch of the hash browns on my delicious Brown Derby sandwich went a long way to immediately dispel the gloomy outdoor conditions!
First, the strip mall location in mid-town OC is ideal – not too far north or too far south, with easy accessibility from the Rt. 90 Bridge at 63rd street makes the Seaside Deli a great stot during anyone’s visit to the island. And, except for a brief, mid-winter hiatus, this eatery is open all year round. The hours do change with the season; in the summertime it is open from 7am until 2am.
Seaside is primarily a deli…it’s a place to get great quick, tasty homemade sandwiches with a large ‘side’ of convenience store and package goods. Along with a comfortable dining area there is a 5-seat bar. It’s all very cheerfully cluttered with almost anything anyone could need in a one-stop shop while vacationing; including groceries, ice, and Lottery!!!
Let’s talk about the food…the sandwich meats and cheeses are Dietz and Watson brand that make good quality stuff – and may be purchased by the pound! Anything else, from the ‘OC’s Best Chicken Salad’ to the much complimented egg salad and MAAAVELOUS Shrimp Salad, are scratch-made daily from fresh ingredient right in the very clean kitchen of Seaside. I peeked, and found several beautiful WondeRoast rotisserie chickens ready to be made into the Deli’s famed chicken salad.
The day we stopped there were a couple of lunch specials listed…split pea soup or chili with a Rachel (corned beef with slaw) or a Reuben (corned beef with kraut) sandwich. I chose the split pea – (understand that this is one of my very favorites – I make it often at home). It was wonderful, surely as good as mine: thick, rich and filled with chunks of sweet, pink ham! My companion selected the chili…lots of beef and beans, with a long, spicy after burn – as chili should! Perusing the extensive sandwich menu, including the Specialty items, I selected the Brown Derby – rare roast beef, cheese, and lettuce with horseradish mayo and as a surprise, a lovely hunk of crunchy hash brown potatoes – on seeded rye. Terrific! My fellow chose the Rachel – the corned beef sandwich with fresh, crunchy, house made slaw, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing! Both sandwiches – on your choice of breads or roll, were fresh, tasty and offered a generous portion! So generous in fact, that we had remaining halves wrapped for take-home. Of note, even a selection of fresh, ripe, fruit (the original fast-food) is offered at Seaside!
Seaside also offers a wonderful selection of chilled beer, some craft. Also, a vast array of fine wines adorns the shelves behind the dining area.
There is more, much more…including fresh breakfast sandwiches, party platters and free WI-FI! To see the menu and get more info – visit the website at http://www.seasidedelioc.com
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Some years back we first visited Connoisseurs having read some local ‘new eatery, grand opening’ publicity. We liked what we saw (and tasted) and have continued to return through several incarnations, let’s say additions – though same owner, same good stuff with a different look!
To describe this eatery, however, first it’s important to mention that Connoisseurs/Bistro West is not easy to find… from U.S. Rt. 50 eastbound, hang a right at the Rt. 611 intersection, go south a short distance. On the right you’ll see a sign for the Teal Marsh Shopping Center. Snag another right in front of Elliott’s Hardware and then an immediate left. Go slowly. Turn into the center bearing right. On the right side row of units – the far one on the right will put you at the door. Despite the large, bright, red sign you may miss it and go too far into yet another area of the Teal Marsh complex. Turn around and look for that sign! It’s worth it!
Finally, you are there! Within the shop/restaurant to the right, you’ll see several well-appointed tables for dining with an extensive shelf display of fine wines for background. On the left you are met with a wine bar, somewhat petite, yet well accommodated…with comfortable seating. Beyond that is a deli case featuring cold items, filled with some really stupendous house-made salads, house–roasted meats and imported cheeses.
Let’s begin with the deli food. As mentioned previously, on my first visit, I tried the ‘curried chicken salad’…and, at least 8 years later still prefer that to all else. Large chunks of white meat chicken, a few raisins, celery, and slivered almonds – all sparingly sauced with a delicate curry dressing. My companion and I often order a sandwich – on a freshly baked, crispy, multi-grain baguette, a side or two (the orzo and pasta primavera salads are fantastic) and head to the beach at Assateague for an impromptu picnic! And, as a sandwich or atop greens, the Connoisseurs shrimp salad runs a close second to the chicken – it’s always fresh, tasty and boasts really LARGE shrimp – again lightly dressed. There is more, much more from which to select in the deli area – so much and so tasty in fact that Connoisseurs has become a popular, catering favorite for many locals! They do catering – fresh quality ingredients, perfectly prepared! Their motto is – ‘simple food – done well’. It is!
Last Friday evening, same location but vastly different menu, we decided to try another offered option…Dinner at Bistro West. Just dusk, upon our arrival we were greeted promptly and offered our choice of tables. Though the deli case remains, the quiet colors and softly lit evening ambiance quickly replaced the daytime feel. Our menus arrived soon after and we placed our drink order – after a brief discussion, ‘wine chat’, with our server I chose a glass of the suggested rose. NICE, very nice – soft, yet rich, with full body. The wine was French, “Bandol” domaine l’hermitage – my companion preferred beer.
Time for appetizers…my friend ordered the much touted ‘Connoisseurs cream of crab’. Shortly thereafter a large bowl (almost tureen sized) appeared. With a silky smooth, flavorful base, the soup, loaded with large lumps of ‘local’ crabmeat and served HOT this choice was found to deserve the ‘tout’! I ordered the grilled Portobello tower – another mammoth serving; butter grilled mushroom, baby spinach, scallion goat cheese with a never to be forgotten, perfect white, balsamic/grilled onion vinaigrette. Surely a variety of complimentary flavors!
Oh no! A glance revealed that our entrees were coming…! Having thoroughly enjoyed our generous appetizers and with waning appetite, my companion’s Crispy Fried Shrimp platter arrived. Eight – (yes, eight) JUMBO fried shrimp beside fresh slaw and Belguin style fries looked ominous! Think the size of ‘chicken tenders’ – these perfectly fried, shrimp were larger – the European definition of prawn comes to mind…? The fries, although lovely and brown quickly became an afterthought, and the slaw, while freshly shredded was nearly drowned in dressing. Tasty, yes…appealing, no!
My entrée choice was the Asian ahi salad…spiced, grilled tuna filet…served atop selected greens. With the perfectly finished fish as my goal, I found the virtual mountain of greens to be overkill. Instead, although a generous serving of tuna, one had to dig to unearth it. Yet, once found, the excellent fish was a winner. Again, the dressing, a Dijon vinaigrette was outstanding.
Currently, the dinner service at Bistro West is limited to Friday and Saturday evenings from 5 until 10pm. No matter, we learned long ago that we can enjoy the wonderful foods created from Connoisseurs/Bistro West most anytime…from the Connoisseurs deli, through the catering services offered to a special weekend dinner at Bistro West. It’s all – GOOD!
For more information, including current menus visit http://ocfinefoodandwine.com or to see the current specials, visit Connoisseurs Bistro West Ocean City MD on facebook.
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As a long time (since 1985) fixture of the Ocean City Maryland scene, RIPPONS Seafood Market & Carry-out has always stood for dependable quality and freshness in carryout seafood. This day was no different… Stopping by for lunch, we selected the shrimp salad sandwich. It was very good – actually better than that! Served on a soft, potato roll the large, whole shrimp contained within were de-veined, expertly cooked and dead-on fresh! With only chopped celery and a bit of mayonnaise – the real flavor of the shrimp was allowed to shine. No other seasoning was necessary! It’s seldom that happens – this from a shrimp salad eater of many years!!! While waiting for the sandwich to be prepared we perused the menu and the large cold case containing an extensive variety of fresh seafood. The rockfish fillets were exceptionally appealing – large, plump and very shiny – which tells me again, fresh! It was the same for the nice tuna loin and salmon. Other fish varieties and soft crabs were also available along with a long list of shellfish including mussels, sea scallops, oysters (in season) and clams. Whole Maine lobsters sat in a live tank ready to be steamed for just $1.00 additional. And, of course there is the famous Rippons Bros. Crabmeat – all varieties including Cocktail Fingers in one-pound containers. With such a large menu of fresh seafood one would think the cooked offerings would be slight…not so! Platters, sandwiches, baskets, soups and sides – even large party platters compete for menu space. And, I suspect that if the shrimp salad is any indication – its all-pretty tasty stuff! If we have any complaint, it is the location of this shop – officially listed as being on 120th Street, bayside, it is actually on the north facing side of a large square building housing a 7-11 and a real estate office – adequate parking available. It does face 120th, not Coastal Highway. RIPPONS opens at 10 am each morning and is open weekends until 11pm. Carryout only. Nationwide shipping is available. Visit the RIPPONS website at www.ripponsseafood.com for more information or telephone 410-723-0056.
Located at the junction of Rt. 589 and Ocean Gateway (US Rt. 50) eastbound CRABS TO GO makes a big statement. The “shack” that houses this movable feast boasts a bright red exterior with flags and signs galore is hard to miss…although located between a filling station and an outdoors wood furnishings market. Once tried however the destination is unforgettable.
First, this is the only Ocean City MD area seafood house we’ve encountered that offers that old-time Baltimore favorite – the Fried Hard Crab! A sizable steamed crab with the upper shell discarded, the remainder cleaned and re-stuffed with huge lumps of lovely, lightly seasoned crab meat…then dipped in spiced batter and deep fried to a golden, very crispy, brown! Being from Baltimore – the folks at Crabs To Go know how to do this just right! And, even for the most adventuresome – one of these gigantic treats is probably enough! Of course there are the choice fill-ins like fresh corn on the cob, crisp slaw, and onion rings, fries, potato and macaroni salads for the not fully satisfied! There is soup – crab, of course, both creamy white and spicy red available! Then there are platters, baskets and sandwiches – your choice, mix and match all beginning with yummy things like clams, scallops, shrimp, soft crabs, fish and oysters. This is the cooked stuff! Also offered is a complete line of FRESH seafood, raw or steamed including lobster and stone crab claws sold by the pound, dozen or pint or bushel at market price. As you can see Crabs To Go has it all – even including party platters and nationwide shipping! Sorry, no “dine in” available – a truly “movable feast”!
For more information telephone 410-641-9379 or visit the website where you will find the complete menu at www.crabstogo.com.
At the corner of 17th Street and Philadelphia Avenue (ocean side) stands a little one-story building; the big sign outside says ANTHONY’S. This is the only one around and is not to be confused with the multiple locations in Ocean City MD of Anthony’s Beer & Wine. That being said, this is the place where for the last 35 years through the ownership of two families, you could get beef, or even ham, stacked to the sky as a sandwich or a sub, with cheese or without, dressed any way you desire. Looking at the menu one sees an array of breakfast selections and pizza and fried chicken however, it’s the roast beef and ham that draws us. Big loins and huge hams sitting on a cutting board literally disappear before your eyes with deft carving. Seating is casual, a couple of interior booths with several picnic tables outdoors, street side, set under a bright blue canopy. Despite the heat this day, we were comfortable with the outside seating. And, did I mention that Anthony’s offers soft serve ice cream? After all, this unique little spot began as a Tastee Freeze back in 1954 and has carried forth that tradition still serving handmade shakes, Smoothies, sundaes as well as the popular twirling cone. But it is the piled high, juicy, real roast beef and tender ham sandwiches that we came for and it is those which will bring us back.
Anthony’s is open from 6:30 am until midnight extending hours to 1:00 am on weekends. Telephone number for carry out is 410-289-9193