Friday, September 30, 2011

New review from The Capital about us

Hey, there's a new review listed on The Capital's site ( about us. I got permission to post it on our site. Enjoy!

Dining Out: Edgewater's magic? Good service, food, value By TERRA WALTERS, For The Capital Published 09/29/11


WHAT: Edgewater Restaurant.
WHERE: 148 Mayo Road, Edgewater.
PHONE: 410-956-3202.
WEBSITE: www.edgewater
HOURS: 4 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
EXECUTIVE CHEF: Donald Davis Jr.
APPETIZERS: $3 to $13.
ENTRÉES: $17 to $52.
RESERVATIONS: Not accepted (except for major holidays).
CREDIT CARDS: All major cards accepted.
ACCESSIBILITY: The restaurant is not independently accessible to those using wheelchairs, but call ahead and they will make every effort to help.

"Get the crab cakes. You have to have their crab cakes," came the conspiratorially uttered instruction from the next table, as my dining companion and I studied our menus.

One would wonder just how many times during the past 63 years that same advice has been given. When the popularity - and even the survival - of so many restaurants is transitory, the fact that Edgewater Restaurant opened its doors more than six decades ago is a testament to a family's dedication to quality and customer service.

The history of Edgewater Restaurant began in 1948 when the Sandvik family first opened its doors to south county diners. Now the third generation of the family continues to serve much-heralded food to fans from all over our region and beyond.

 They still use many of Grandma Sandvik's original recipes, too.

It was with temerity that, in an earlier review, I made a suggestion for improvement to a restaurant with such impressive longevity. Having ordered an appetizer from the list of specials on a visit, I advised that they add it to the regular menu.

Happily, they took the advice and now visitors to Edgewater Restaurant can enjoy the Onion Toasted Fried Green Beans ($7) at every meal. And enjoy them we did, every single delicious, crisply encased bean.

Additionally, this is a dish that is enhanced by the use of the dipping sauce that accompanies. Dipping the green beans in the ranch dressing that comes with them provides not just a flavor accent, but adds a nice contrast of creamy with crunchy as well.

Our wine choice that evening gave a nod to the rapidly diminishing days of summer with a Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc ($7 per glass, $26 per bottle) that was light and refreshing.

Considering that many regulars eschew the seafood portion of the menu entirely in order to enjoy tasty dishes such as veal Parmesan, steak or pork chops, a red wine recommendation would be the Jekel Pinot Noir ($8 per glass, $30 per bottle).

There is a full bar at Edgewater Restaurant and a full-page listing of beers and spirits (no prices are given, though - an unfathomable practice embraced by many other restaurants as well.)

Considering the array of appealing starters on the menu at Edgewater, one appetizer would never be enough. Our other selection was Fried Calamari ($8), and its crisp savory batter resulted in positive reactions from both of the squid lovers at our table. We both ascribe to the belief that you can never get enough good calamari, so we order it where we know it's well-prepared.

Next up was a trip to the Edgewater salad bar, a sentimental journey that prompted both of us to hark back to countless similar trips to that same salad bar over the course of many years. You won't find exotica nesting there beneath the sneeze guard, just fresh ingredients with delicious dressings. Be sure to try the potato salad, too - it's memorable.

Now to those crab cakes.

The menu offers two types of crab cakes, the fried ones made with backfin crabmeat and the legendary ones made with jumbo lump crab (and little else).

It was the latter (though the fried ones are quite good, too) that prompted our neighbor's exhortation, and it was that one that was the choice of one member of our party.

It is the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes ($19 for one, $32 for two) at Edgewater that have been solely responsible for many first-time visitors turning into regulars over the years. People just keep coming back for them and they keep on recommending them to their friends as well.

The diner who made that selection opted for only one crab cake, but still had enough to take half of the cake home for the next day. Unfortunately, the green beans (the veggie du jour that had been ordered in lieu of potatoes) were lacking in flavor and would have benefitted from a bit more cooking time.

The other member of our party chose another entree for which Edgewater Restaurant is famous, the stuffed shrimp.

The Specialty Stuffed Shrimp ($23) offers three jumbo gulf shrimp, but after that the menu description is misleading. Stuffed just does not seem to be the operative word here. These shrimp were inundated with Grandma Sandvik's celebrated "crabmeat mixture" (a mixture that would put most crab imperial to shame). They were buried in it. There was enough crabmeat in this dish to make at least three good-sized (and delectable) crab cakes. Again, the green beans were disappointing.

Earthquake plus hurricane equals instant rationalization for having dessert, and our choice was the scrumptious Sweet Potato Bread Pudding a la Mode. Our server, Theresa (sister of the talented chef and granddaughter of the original Sandviks), told us that they get it from Wegmans, but it tasted more like it came from heaven.

Many would-be restaurateurs hire expensive consultants to help them develop a successful business plan, but there really isn't a magic formula. If you give the dining-out public good quality, good value, good food and good service, they will find you and keep coming back.

That's Edgewater Restaurant's secret. Don't tell.

--- Terra Walters is a freelance writer and editor based in Annapolis. Copyright © Capital Gazette Communications LLC, 2011.