Issue: May 2004
Getting the Point

The Blue Point Provision Company in Cambridge offers an evening of fun and fine dining.

 

     We didn’t stay for the karaoke. Stewart would have been mortified because I, his mother, would have gotten up and sung in front of all those strangers. He’s 17 and I had invited him and his friend Nancy to join me for dinner at the Blue Point Provision Company. This is the “marina” restaurant at the new Hyatt Regency in Cambridge. It sits atop the marina office, a building separate from the main hotel complex, and overlooks the marina basin.

     We walked into a big open room with high sweeping ceilings bedecked by propeller-shaped fans whirling above our heads. Simple lights with paper-cone shades dangled over the tables. Tall windows on the water side offered broad views of the Choptank River. The opposite wall featured a mural of skipjacks. A cutout in the side wall showed the chefs at work. (They clanged a ship’s bell when someone’s meal was ready.) And tucked into a corner was a cozy bar, with ale and lager from the Blue Point Brewing Company on tap.

     A cheerful hostess told us it would be about a 15-minute wait before we could be seated (the restaurant does not take reservations). The kids were not allowed to sit at the bar, she said, but they could stand next to it. We ambled over and ordered a couple of sodas and a pint of the pale ale (nice flavor, not very strong). In no time, it seemed, we were handed menus and led to a nearby table.

     Our server, Christopher, tempted us with a list of the night’s specials and happily brought us the “Shucker’s Trio” from the raw bar: three shrimp (steamed), three cherrystone clams and three fresh oysters. Stewart and Nancy both tried the clams, but declined the oysters. These turned out to be less flavorful than I expected, which was disappointing (we were, after all, in oyster country).

     While we sampled the seafood, we perused the menu, which ranged from simple fare to fairly elegant entrees. The appetizers were predictable: crab dip, fried shrimp, clam fritters and one interesting entry: 3 Amigo’s Ceviche (tuna, whitefish and baby scallops). There were salads and sandwiches: Caesars, crabcakes, grilled salmon. Then a short list of fresh seafood: rockfish, snapper, shrimp. And steak and chicken. We placed our dinner order: fish and chips for Stewart, the Eastern Shore Boiled Dinner for Nancy (steamed mussels, clams, corn and potatoes), and Rockfish Oscar for me.

     Here’s where the fun began. When all was ready, a trio of servers paraded from the kitchen carrying our separate meals. One held a substantial newspaper cone filled with lovely morsels of fried fish and potatoes. This came in its own wrought-iron holder and was placed next to Stewart’s plate. Nancy’s meal arrived in a covered tin bucket, with a smaller bucket on the side to hold the discarded shells. My rockfish was served the traditional way, on a plate. Dull by comparison.

     And all, regardless of presentation were delicious. Stewart’s fish was lightly breaded and quick fried, sealing in the fish flavor. Nancy’s clams and mussels were moist and chewy, bursting with a delicate sauce that added just the right punch to what has often been, in my experience, the blandest of meals. And my rockfish, well. . . . It was a perfect size, first of all, and beautifully cooked: fresh and flaky, topped with sweet lumps of crab and hollandaise sauce, and served with spears of asparagus and boiled potatoes. We dug in happily.

     For dessert, we passed on the seven-layer chocolate marathon and the butter pecan cheesecake, opting instead for white chocolate bread pudding-not too sweet, not too chocolatey, it was a lovely way to end a delightful meal.

     Now, I just have to go back sometime for the karaoke.

     The Blue Point Provision Company sits on the south bank of the Choptank River just above the Route 50 bridge (fixed at 50 feet). Complimentary dockage for diners; for overnight slips call 410-901-6380. Beginning in April, the restaurant is open Thursday through Sunday for dinner only, 5:30–10:30 p.m. More days will be added as the season progresses. Appetizers $4.50–$12; salads and sandwiches $9.50–$13.50; entrees $15.75–$23.50. Major credit cards accepted. 410-901-6410.