Issue: November 2006
GALLEYS ASHORE: Making Papa Proud

Hemingway's lives up to its name with good food, drink and sunsets.

-- ByAnn Levelle

Ol' Papa Hemingway would probably love his namesake restaurant on Kent Island, for the same reasons he loved Key West: fantastic sunsets, frosty beverages and laid-back atmosphere. Heck, that's why we went there--what's not to love?

This past Memorial Day started off severely foggy, but John and I were
determined to go for a summer-kickoff sail anyway. After the major fog cleared we romped around for a while, then decided to pull in for a late lunch/early dinner at Hemingway's, at the east end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. We easily spotted the range markers on land that guided us directly to the shallow channel to the restaurant and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Marina next door. The well marked channel is shallow, but our four-foot draft didn't pose a problem. (The depth sounder generally read between eight and ten feet, but once did drop to just above four.) When we pulled up to Hemingway's dock (free to customers), we were surprised to find no cleats on the dock and big, threatening metal pilings. Though we tied up okay--thanks to lots of fenders and a gentleman who just happened to be out on the dock to catch a line--I recommend pulling into the Bay Bridge Marina next door and paying the $5 hourly fee.

Once secured at the dock, John and I walked up the lawn, past Lola's (a dock bar, open on weekends) and around to the front door. The dining room is on the upper floor of the building--inside there's a small bar and twenty or so tables, and plenty more out on the deck.

We chose to sit outside so we could keep an eye on the boat and watch the bridge traffic. As hot as I was, I felt like I was in the tropics, so I promptly ordered a frosty strawberry daiquiri. Our waitress-in-training Macy was very pleasant and quickly brought us our beverages.

We had skipped lunch in favor of sailing, so we were pretty hungry and promptly ordered a crabcake served with red pepper aioli (a spicy mayonnaise-based garlic sauce) and some fried calamari (also with aioli) for appetizers. We weren't wild about the aioli--but the crabcakes and calamari were great in their own right.

We took our time between courses and chose to enjoy the view of the Bay, the folks stuck in traffic on the Bay Bridge and our cold beverages. It really did feel like I was in Key West . . . whiling away the afternoon with a cocktail and without a care in the world.

Eventually we ordered dinner. John ordered the filet mignon and crabcake, which were both delightful. And although tempted by the Lola's steak salad that the gentleman at the next table was enjoying, I opted for the Atlantic salmon stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, garlic and ricotta cheese--and dressed with a beurre blanc sauce, which I found to be a good complement to the salmon. It was all quite tasty. Other items on the menu included seafood and pasta dishes, fish and chips and sandwiches.

We finished off our meal with a key lime pie martini--a slice of tangy pie served in a tall martini glass. It would've been the perfect end to our three-hour nosh if we had opted to have it without the signature shot of vodka. The vodka was just too strong for the sweetness of the pie.

While the traffic on the Bay Bridge was still a mess, the boat traffic on the Bay was virtually gone, so we hopped back on the boat and headed home. Our tropical afternoon was a great way to start the summer. And though we didn't stay for the sunset--bound to be great to watch from the western-facing

Hemingway's deck--I think Papa would be proud.

Hemingway's is located in the Bay Bridge Marina Complex on Pier One Road in Stevensville, Md., at the base of the Bay Bridge. Dockage is free or $5 per hour at the Bay Bridge Marina (410-643-3162). The restaurant is open daily 11 a.m.–9 p.m. year-round; Lola's Dock Bar is open on summer weekends. Lunch $8–28; dinner $14–$28. Major credit cards accepted. 410-643-2722.