Calypso Bay Restaurant & Dock Bar
As the thermostat continues to fall and the frost nips at our noses, dining out may lose out to the comfort of hearth and home. To summon the spirit of summer past, I found myself headed towards the water and the warmth of Calypso Bay Restaurant and Dock Bar.
Crossing the threshold at Calypso Bay is like stepping into summer. It may be freezing outside and the fireplace (it's gas) may be blazing, but the intent is clear. Visions of the film Cocktail danced in my head, though I didn't see anyone dressed in Hawaiian shirts.
Formerly the no-frills Bobby D's, this waterside oasis has been brightened and refined by a good deal of cosmetic and some structural improvements. There's a main bar; outside Tiki bar with sandy beach; two large dining rooms; and an adjacent nightclub known as CB Reafs.
Calypso Bay opened in May, and the summer months are definitely more active in this boating community. But just because you're not cruising the waterways and wearing swim trunks doesn't mean you can't warm your soul while filling your stomach.
A lot of imagination went into the design and decoration of Calypso Bay. Woven bamboo is used for ceiling tiles, driftwood has been used as yard art and colorful tables and walls have been airbrush painted with palm trees and sunsets. CB Reafs' walls are aglow with charming fluorescent fish. It all comes together with lots of window views of Tracey's Creek and Herrington Harbour North's Marina.
Another surprising treat at Calypso Bay is finding that the man in the kitchen, 30-year-old co-owner Patrick Reilly, is an honors graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with professional experience as head waiter and chef at Tavern on the Green in New York City. Reilly combines his talents with the nightclub and bar management experience of partner Michael Brown.
Don't be misled, however. You're not likely to find fois gras or caviar on the Calypso Bay menu. What you will find is a nice selection of bar food, salads, sandwiches, pasta, mixed grill and entrees. (Word has it that the menu will soon be tweaked to reflect the colder climate with heartier soups and stews.)
For starters, your meal or for a snack with a cocktail or two while catching a game on one of the three televisions in the bar, some standard appetizers include buffalo wings ($4.95), mozzarella sticks ($4.95) and crab dip ($7.95). There are also sweet jumbo coconut shrimp served with fruit puree ($7.95) and, my personal favorite, shrimp poppers ($5.95): five lightly fried jalapeños stuffed with shrimp and cream cheese and perfectly paired with pepper jelly. When you want to satisfy more than one taste, the Calypso Sampler ($9.95) offers a wonderful sampling of fried calamari, coconut shrimp, fried clams and crab dip all sided with a chunky homemade marinara sauce.
For lunch or a lighter meal, you may want to try a sandwich or salad, such as the crab melt (broiled lump crab meat, bacon, tomato and melted cheddar on an English muffin ($7.95) or grilled Cajun tuna ($6.95). The crab cake sandwich is full of large lumps of crab and little filler (market price) and the grilled salmon blt is built on an ample filet of Norwegian salmon ($7.95). I've heard good things about the Calypso salad ($8.95) which includes grilled chicken and shrimp tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette.
For a more serious dining experience, Calypso Bay offers an array of steaks, seafood, pasta and mixed grill. Among them: Crab-stuffed chicken breast ($14.95), boneless/skinless chicken breast stuffed with crab imperial and Swiss cheese lightly breaded, sautéed and served with a Caribbean cream sauce Tornado Chesapeake ($16.95), twin petite filets topped with lump crab meat Shrimp with a bernaise sauce or a mixed grill of shrimp, tuna and crab cake ($16.95).
On a recent visit, the roasted prime rib was highly recommended and promised pink as it had just come out of the oven. Two sizes are available, captain (16 oz., $14.95) or mermaid (12 oz., $12.95) and are served with baked potato and vegetable of the day. Warm rolls and crackers were presented in a basket along with a cup of whipped cinnamon honey butter and a cup of commercial wine-cheese spread. The meat was, as promised, perfectly cooked rare with just enough juice. A request for horseradish was quickly accommodated.
A dish that I couldn't resist was the white seafood lasagna ($12.95). Served with a fresh house salad and nicely seasoned mini loaf of garlic bread, this dish is true comfort food. A rich coating of white sauce over large square of layered pasta noodles filled with slightly sweet ricotta, crab and shrimp made a truly decadent meal. I could feel my arteries clogging.
Service at Calypso Bay is friendly and efficient, but I can't attest to the truly busy season, summer, when crowds are sure to be more competitive. I never did request a wine list but was quite happy with a glass of the house merlot ($3.25) while my companion sipped a very generous pour of Jack Daniels ($4.25).
421 Deale Road Deale 410/867-9787
Proprietors: Michael Brown and Patrick Reilly
Reason to go: Catch a ray of sun and remember summer.
Something to think about: It's not haut cuisine, but it's good.
| Issue 51 |
Volume VII Number 51
December 23-29, 1999
New Bay Times
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