Monday, December 04, 2017

Dining Out at By the Docks

Last spring, The Minx and I were invited to the newly renovated By The Docks to check out the new decor and menu. While we thoroughly enjoyed everything during our last visit, they are not resting on their laurels; we were recently invited back to try some of their new menu offerings.

One of the changes is a wine program coordinated with Lanterna Distributors, Inc., a family-owned company that sources quality wines from around the world. On this evening, I chose the Pinot Patch Pinot Noir, a smooth-bodied wine with a subtle smokiness. I don't pretend to be a wine expert, but I found that it went well with even the various seafood dishes we tasted.

We started with octopus served with a Greek salad of diced tomato, cucumber, and peppers, Greek yogurt, and toasted pita points. By The Docks takes great care to tenderize and properly cook the octopus so that the result is tender and meaty. Eaten all together, it's a Mediterranean delight! The octopus isn't on the menu yet, but it will be starting in January.

We also had a plate of the crabby nachos which would be an excellent accompaniment to a glass or three of wine or any other spirit. The crispy tortillas are smothered in creamy crab dip and cheese, providing both crunch and a lusciously smooth bite.

We could have stopped there, but we couldn't resist their housemade onion rings. The crunchy coating is not too heavy or greasy, providing a light crunch with the tender, sweet onion inside. Again, great snack to enjoy with adult beverages.

It's difficult to choose an entree at By the Docks, because everyone wants to eat one of their enormous crab cakes. However, some folks in our group tried different items so we could sample more of the menu. (Most of us went for the crab cake though!) The jambalaya was a mildly spicy blend of sauteed chicken and shrimp, Andouille sausage, peppers, onions, and mushrooms served over a bed of seasoned rice. Sort of a Greek interpretation of the Cajun/Creole dish.

I was one who chose the crab cake, which this evening was paired with lamb chops. My three lamb chops were perfectly medium rare, tender and well-seasoned. The dish was served with asparagus and a baked potato stuffed with cheese and bacon. I didn't think I could, but I polished off the entire entree. It was just too good to stop eating!

The Minx ordered the stuffed shrimp. Typically, I think of stuffed shrimp as jumbo shrimp butterflied and "stuffed" (really topped) with crab imperial. By The Docks takes a slightly different approach, essentially encasing the shrimps in a smaller version of their crab cake. Frankly, I'm all for this variation as it's like getting three crab cakes with a shrimp prize in each one.

The Surf and Turf was the classic broiled lobster tail and a 10 ounce filet mignon combo (although the steak looked much larger). The meat was nicely seared on the outside and juicy and pink on the inside; the lobster was perfectly broiled. Drawn butter on the side, of course!

All the desserts at By The Docks are provided by their sister business, Yia Yia's Bakery, the same bakery where we get our holiday pies every year. Last time we were at By The Docks, we tried their baklava cheesecake and Smith Island Cake. We were eager to have them again, but we also got a chance to sample their delicious strawberry cheesecake. The cheesecake is always just the right texture: not too dense but not too soft, either. The Smith Island Cake is one of the best I've ever had.

Last time we visited, I was so happy to see that By The Docks had returned to its former glory. This time, I was even more happy to find that they continue to enhance their already excellent food and service.

By The Docks
3321 Eastern Blvd.
Middle River, Maryland 21220
(410) 686-1188

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