|Curiosity Well Satisfied at Calvert House
As I drive into Annapolis, I always wonder about the shopping complex right past the Harbour Center. The out-of-the-way complex is a fixture along Solomons Island Road as so much else changes. Set in the heart of the strip is Calvert House Restaurant.
Id always thought Id stop by, but Id never made the time, until early last week.
Approaching Calvert House, I blinked and almost missed the turn-off. Please keep an eye out so as not to alarm your passenger.
Once settled in a parking spot harder to find because of Chevys increasing popularity we met a gentleman. He inquired as to our destination. When we correctly answered Calvert House, he rushed off to question another arrival. Dont be offended: Parking is scarce and needs to be protected.
The embroidered canopy over the entranceway and the Calvert coat of arms seemed a little grand for the small shopping complex. However, the restaurant measures up to the canopied promise: Calvert House Exquisite Seafood.
I reserved a table for our 6:30pm meal but reservations seemed unnecessary in the almost empty room. The hostess led us to our booth, nearest to the kitchen. It wouldnt have been my first choice, but we werent annoyed by clatter.
On this first visit, ordering drinks gave us time to study the unfamiliar menu. My companion started the evening with a strawberry daiquiri, a strong berry flavor with a light hint of rum. After being tempted by a glass of Beringer White Zinfandel ($4.25), I settled on cranberry juice.
Sipping our drinks, we bantered back and forth over the selections. The main course proved difficult to decide on, and we agreed to duel over an appetizer.
Stuffed grape leaves ($4.95), ground beef and rice; and clams casino ($6.95), half shells topped with green peppers, bacon, parmesan cheese and tomato sauce seemed delicious. But we settled on stuffed mushroom caps ($6.95). The caps were fully cooked but still tender and juicy, mixing well with the crab.
I sampled the vegetable crab soup, as I do at every restaurant for comparison. This version offered a variety of vegetables with chunks of crabmeat in the broth.
The waitress returned as we finished the appetizers and we were compelled to that tough decision. My companion was tottering between the filet rosemary ($17.95), center cut of tenderloin sautéed with green and red peppers, mushrooms, onions, celery and garlic; and New York strip steak ($17.95), topped with béarnaise sauce ($1.95). She surprised me by ordering a Symphony of Seafood ($16.95), a broiled combination of crabcake, stuffed oysters, filet of fish, scallops and shrimp.
My eyes focused on shrimp Calvert ($15.95), jumbo shrimp sautéed in lemon butter, garlic and wine with tomato sauce, herbs and feta cheese served over linguini or basmati rice, if you prefer. Sounded fantastic and tasted even better.
Each entrée is served with vegetable of the day green beans were sautéed in butter with small slivers of peppers; warm bread and butter; and choice of cole slaw or calcuminto. Yes, I asked. Calcuminto is a dish of cucumber, onions and tomatoes in a minty vinegar dressing. Everything the waitress promised.
For those of you who dine on salads, Calvert House offers an array of possibilities. At a price of $9.95, the Santorini salad a house salad topped with shrimp cocktail, alfalfa sprouts and spinach pie sounded scrumptious. The Nova Scotia, priced the same, features a bed of spinach leaves with fresh steamed Norwegian salmon and Atlantic sea scallops, topped with apples, pine nuts and sprouts.
I will let you in on a secret. An early bird menu is available weekdays 4 to 6pm. Entrées are reasonably priced and moderately portioned. You can sample shrimp Calvert ($10.95) or kabobs ($9.95) of either beef or chicken. Stir fry (vegetable $8.95, chicken $11.95 or shrimp & scallops $12.95) is another option.
Children under 12 enjoy several $6.95 selections, any time of day, including linguini, broiled fish and the all-important jumbo burger.
Dessert is abundant at Calvert House. However, choosing a dessert proved as difficult as choosing an entrée. Choices include Haagen Dazs ($3 per scoop), also offered with fruit and liquor toppings and fresh pastries. Among them was key lime pie, a dessert I cannot refuse. With no meringue, the key lime pie and soft crust made for a smooth swallow and an elegant ending.
As we left around 8pm, each chair was filled.
2444 Solomons Island Road Annapolis 410/266-9210
Proprietor: Farhad Salimi
Reason to go: A wide selection of seafood, and other dishes, all good.
Something to think about: Be prepared to circle the parking lot once or twice