Monday, December 01, 2014

The Boathouse Canton

 (photo: Downtown Diane)
For two decades, the Bay Cafe used to be the place to hang out on the water in Canton. It's gone now, but its replacement, the Boathouse, looks like an even better place to be.

Owners Gene Singleton and Maureen McEnerney put quite a bit of money into renovating the building at Tindeco Wharf; the result is airy and modern, feeling like a place on the water should feel, without being overtly nautical. Al fresco dining on the new outdoor patio is the big draw in warm weather, but the food should be a draw all year long.

Chef Matt Campbell, a Virginia native, works hard to make sure the food he serves is what the customer wants to eat. This being Baltimore, that means plenty of seafood and lots of things that taste good with a tall drink in hand.

We were introduced to the Boathouse's fall menu at a media tasting, and were impressed with the food, the starters especially. We tasted the seared ahi tuna on won ton crisps, and loved the hint of sesame oil in the dressing. We also enjoyed the pimento cheese, a southern specialty that's not seen in these parts too often. Chef Campbell's version is packed into small crocks, baked to an appealing crustiness, and served with crostini and crudite.

Oysters  (photo: Downtown Diane)
The rest of our dinner spread included some very fresh oysters, both local and otherwise...
Chicken Chesapeake  (photo: Downtown Diane)
and interpretations of classic fare like chicken Chesapeake and steak frites.

The chicken Chesapeake included thin slices of prosciutto sandwiched between a moist chicken breast cutlet and a mini crab cake, the whole thing topped with an Old Bay Gruyere cream sauce. The steak dish featured hanger steak cooked to a rosy medium, served with crisp fries.

One of the more popular dishes we sampled, judging from the speed the dish disappeared from the buffet, was the lobster mac and cheese. In addition to nicely sized bites of lobster, the dish contains four cheeses, andouille sausage, plus peas and roasted tomatoes. It's got vegetables, so it's healthy, right?

Lobster Mac & Cheese (photo: Jess Mayhugh)
My favorite dish was the grilled salmon. The salmon itself was fine, but the accompanying pan-seared brussels sprouts with caramelized pearl onions, bacon lardons, and rosemary balsamic butter were So. Good. And, the sprouts are available by themselves, as a side dish. Gimme.

Steak frites, fried cod (the "fish" portion of fish and chips), chicken Chesapeake
We also sampled two desserts, the seasonal fruit crisp, which featured apples (but in the summer contains peaches), and what was billed as a flourless chocolate cake, but was more like a rich classic chocolate cake. Both were pleasant ways to add a sweet finish to our meal.

Flourless chocolate cakelets (photo: Downtown Diane)
Let's not forget the beverages here. We tasted a sangria made with rosé, ruby port, triple sec, and cinnamon spice syrup that was quite nice and a change from the normal. There are also about a dozen beers on draft, with selections from local breweries Union, Heavy Seas, and Brewer's Art, plus bottled selections, wines, and crushes in several flavors. All this, including food to please many palates, seems like a pretty good reason to check out the Boathouse.

The Boathouse on Urbanspoon

* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats.

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