Bay Bites
Surfside 7 Restaurant & Dock Bar:
Fun in the Sun and Evening time
by Gabby Crabcakes

There's a lot of partying going on along the South River in Edgewater these days, and at the center of it all is Surfside 7 Restaurant & Dock Bar.

Located along the banks of the South River, Surfside 7 knows what it takes to throw a good party: grub, groove and something to wash it down with. The calendar of events, posted monthly, features a variety of acts and events. On Monday nights, for example, you can choose from beach volleyball or Jazz on the River with Stef Scaggiari and Global Function, while on Wednesdays you can swing dance with the Crabtowne Big Band. Weekends include live music and an occasional charity fund-raiser. In between all this activity is a restaurant and bar business that has rapidly been building a loyal clientele since it opened three years ago under the leadership of Jerry Osuna.

While the restaurant is large and offers two unpretentious dining rooms and bar surrounded by windows and glass doors, warm weather changes the climate here in more ways than one.Surfside 7

River life has its influence on Surfside 7, which offers many amenities for the weary boater. A large wrap-around deck surrounds the restaurant with a comfortable outdoor bar and plenty of umbrella-ed picnic tables. There is also a lower level bar and patio with additional tables for when the crowds grow large and thirsty.

Recently, I was out cruising on a friend's boat when we pulled in for a bite at Surfside 7. Boat slips for patrons are just a few steps below the throngs of revelers.

Preferring to wait for a popular table outdoors, we put our name on a list and journeyed to the bar for refreshments (Heineken $3.35, house Chardonnay $3.75, Bay Breeze $3.50). Several televisions broadcast sports including a large screen in the center of it all. The place was hopping, with waitstaff zipping to and fro. After a slight setback - someone assumed our identity and took our place on the list - we were shown to a table on the upper deck. Somewhat like ringside, our table offered us a lovely view of the river, the sunset and all the festivities surrounding both bars.

The menu has a nice variety of soups, salads, pasta, house specialties (prime rib is available in three cuts), fish, poultry and sandwiches. There is also an impressive array of appetizers (I love to nibble), and nice children's menu named for Nicky, the owner's son. Daily specials are highlighted on a large chalkboard in the main dining room. While most dishes are traditional favorites, Chef Jon Rudolph is always surprising us with such inventive culinary treats as salmon Napoleon.

Of course, the big crowd pleaser here is crabs. Though still early in the season, trays upon trays of our treasured blues were being served. Prices for medium ($25/dozen) and large ($40/dozen), as well as all you can eat ($24.95 for small and medium), are posted on the chalkboard and change according to availability. The large crabs were erased before our very eyes.

Choosing from the many appetizers, we ordered steamed cherrystone clams (a nice sized bowl for $6.95), steamed peel-and-eat shrimp (1/2 lb. $8.95) and a house special known as brush bites (4 for $6.95). What a friend has nicknamed 'brush with death bites' consists of a fiery jalapeno stuffed with a large shrimp and cheddar cheese dipped in a beer batter and fried golden and served with tartar sauce. These are a nice treat for the fan of hot stuff or the masochist. Keep the water handy!

Considering the weather, we bypassed the heavier entrees for sandwiches. The crabcake sandwich ($8.95) was a nice size with a good amount of crab (backfin and claw by my estimation) served on a large Kaiser-style roll (a little too much bread) with French fries, cocktail and tartar sauces. The crab melt ($8.95) is a tasty combination of crab topped with tomato and melted cheese served on English muffins and served with French fries. I opted for the New York strip sandwich ($7.95) which was served on a large hoagie roll with mushrooms, sautéed onions, tomatoes, and melted provolone. Strangely, it was served open-face. Requesting a twice-baked potato instead of the fries, I was happily accommodated. The twice-baked are particularly good here, with a nice blend of cheese, bacon and scallions.

On a follow-up visit, the posted special for the evening was a bay special sandwich ($7.95), which was a nice twist on the steak sandwich with crab grilled in the mix - and this was served with a top.

Service is predominantly young and full of energy. While their heart is in the right place, they don't always rise to the occasion amid the very frenetic environment. Signals can get crossed and the kitchen can back up. My advice is to avoid the peak times if you're a stickler for detail. Try Monday night jazz where you're treated to great rhythm and song, have attentive service and enjoy the same crab bounty. On the other hand, if you want to have a good time and aren't in a hurry, dive into the fun at Surfside 7!


48 South River Road Edgewater 410/956-8075

Proprietor: Jerry Osuna

Reason to go: Fun, sun, and crabs with a view of the South River.

Something to think about: While the temptations are plentiful, please be a responsible drinker and driver.

| Issue 23 |

Volume VII Number 23
June 10-16, 1999
New Bay Times

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