A Perfect Catch (of the Day)
Chesapeake & Maine, Dogfish Head’s neighbor on Rehoboth Avenue and also part of the Dogfish Head family, is a wonderful go-to for seafood from the twin locales of the Chesapeake Bay and the state of Maine.
With its nautical décor (navigational charts, portholes, shells, and more) the ambiance is a contemporary take on an old-fashioned seafood house. With the menu mirroring the contemporary but still classic vibe, it’s a great combo.
My official visit for this article gave us a great sampling of the chef’s skills, and our server Sophia’s friendly and very professional service. We also got to try several items we haven’t ordered on our previous visits for lobster and hush puppies.
For starters, Bonnie had the happy-hour oysters—direct from Chesapeake Bay and $1 apiece. An oyster maven, she proclaimed them luscious. For me, I couldn’t resist the appetizer platter, called Baloo’s Picnic, of smoked salmon, roasted golden beets, whipped goat cheese, fig balsamic, and crispy bread.
It was really wonderful, with a lovely presentation with the beets as a standout. And for me, what could be less than awesome about smoked salmon and cream-cheesy goat cheese??? The accompaniment, the Pom Hanks Martini with Dogfish analog vodka, cranberry, and pomegranate, outdid a traditional Cosmo. (Did I really say that?!)
For entrees, Bonnie, thinking outside the lobster claws, wanted to see how this seafood establishment handled beef. The answer, is very, very well. She had the cooked-to-perfection flat iron steak with garlic parmesan fries and, from our Dogfish friends, a “Beernaise” sauce. This entree was also artfully plated and positively delicious.
Going for fish, I had the Fresh Catch, which is really a choice of catches. The list includes Maine Day Boat scallops, salmon, or pollack, Cape May (how’d that get on the list?) Golden Tilefish, and Chesapeake Bay catfish.
I chose the tilefish, served with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and carrots, with a plum tomato Vidalia sauce. I loved the fish—it was a little like crabmeat or lobster, a subtle sweet flavor, just right. It was great with or without the sauce.
By this time, we could not manage dessert. But I can tell you all about it from previous visits. They offer the Original Smith Island Cake—a soft chocolate ganache with whipped cream and strawberries. It’s scrumptious and you don’t have to take a cold, windy trip in the mail boat over to Smith Island to get it.
Also noting our previous visits at C&M, the restaurant has whole lobster, every day, at just $15 for a good-sized catch. It’s $20 broken apart so you don’t have to get your hands dirty, but frankly, I prefer my lobster with all its inherent messiness. Yes, you can get a bib, but I always manage to decorate my clothes outside its protective lines.
These lobsters are served à la carte, so order a side with it and you’re in great shape. I have a fondness for the hush puppies with a honey mustard dipping sauce or the hand-cut Bay fries.
The menu also offers the hearty C&M Cobb Salad—with chopped iceberg lettuce, Gorganzola, avocado, cherry tomatoes, egg, red onion, smoked bacon, and Ranch dressing. And you can get a choice of protein with it, including chopped lobster, Maryland Blue Crab, fried oysters, salmon, steak, or Maryland crab cake. It’s a feast and I love it.
Want a sandwich? The Maine Lobster Roll is made with melted butter, just like you get it on the coast of Maine. I know some people like a roll with lobster salad, but not me, I want it like it was invented, and you can get it that way at C&M.
I haven’t tried the Vegan Faux Crab Cakes, made with mushroom, Dijon, chopped herbs, diced veggies, and avocado aioli, but I bet it’s delicious.
And of course, all of the Dogfish Head beer menu is available as well as their keg-conditioned cocktails like the Moscow Mule. I enjoy the beer flight with my lobster and hush puppies.
Like they do everything, Sam and Mariah Callagione, Dogfish Head founders, make C&M a great (slightly off-center, as their promotional material promises) dining and drinking experience. ▼