Legendary | Worth driving from anywhere
Island House Restaurant
Review by: Michael Stern
Beautiful Food, Beautiful Place
How do you like your oysters? On the half shell? Steamed? Fried? Oysters Rockefeller (with spinach and Pernod)? Oysters Parramore (topped with lump crab and melted cheese)? The Island House Restaurant has all that and much, much more. In this big, handsome place with its achingly beautiful view of the Eastern Shore’s Barrier Islands and Watchapreague Harbor, seafood satisfaction is guaranteed.
Several appetizers cry for attention. Island House cooks marinate calamari in buttermilk, bread it and fry it crisp and serve it with aioli for dipping. The dip pairs perfectly with the calamari’s sweet, tender meat. Taste buds eager to be caressed in the softest possible way will enjoy hot crab dip judiciously spiced with Old Bay. If you’re not getting flounder for an entree, start with flounder fingers, which the kitchen fries crisp and serves with spicy sriracha sauce. Did you know that Wachapreague is the flounder fishing capital of the world?
Oysters Parramore belong at the start of any meal. The menu bills them as a “healthy option,” thanks to all the crab meat piled in. But all that cheese on top, melting into the crab and the salty seaside oysters below, makes makes me question their nutritional virtue. In other words, they’re wonderful.
Provender is as local as it gets. The kitchen secures crab meat, seaside oysters, and flounder from sources that are a bicycle ride away. Many of the restaurant’s best dishes make the most of those groceries by doing the least to them.
Order the broiled seafood medley and get scallops, flounder, and a crab cake all simply broiled: no fuss, no folderol. Fresh Atlantic scallops come either broiled or fried. When you select the “fisherman’s favorite” of one crab cake and a flounder fillet, you may choose to have them broiled or fried. Again, seafood satisfaction needs nothing elaborate.
On the other hand, the Island House Kitchen does enjoy a few creative flights of culinary fancy in which crab meat stars. Hushpuppies here transform into crab hushpuppies. You can get a “Backfin burger” topped with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and fresh backfin crab meat. You even can have a crab quesadilla.
Smith Island Cake
For dessert, be sure to fork into a slice of the official state dessert of Maryland, Smith Island Cake. The multi-layered tour de force gets its name from Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay on the other side of the Eastern Shore.
|Meals Served||Lunch, Dinner|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|