Bay Hundred in Tilghman -- One BAAAAAD Meal!
We found ourselves in the area of St.Michaels and Tilghman Island yesterday, and decided to stop into Bay Hundred, right at the drawbridge to Tilghman Island, for dinner. In anticipation of this day trip, I had poked around various area restaurant websites. When I came across the site for Bay Hundred I decided that it'd be a good place to eat because chef Mark Chew was someone we had gotten to know when he owned a couple of restaurants in our local Kennett Square, PA/Hockessin, DE area. But what a disappointment this turned out to be!!!
The first thing I noticed as we were being seated was that food remnants of a former occupant of my seat had to be brushed off my chair, and there were french fries on the floor alongside. After we placed our order I headed for the ladies' room. The outside door was out of kilter and impossible to close; inside, there were discarded paper towels on the floor. On my way back to my table, I stopped to mention the poor condition of the restroom to the hostess, who seemed not to care a bit.
As we waited for our food to arrive, we were swatting flies away. One landed in my husband's water glass and drowned. When the waitress came by, the uninvited critter was pointed out to her. She apologized, removed the glass, and didn't come back with a new glass and water until she was asked for it. Yes, we should have left right then and there.
But then our meal arrived. We started out with a crab and artichoke dip to share. The chips that accompanied the dip were hard and stale. Our salads were skimpy and consisted of little more than a couple of pieces of iceberg lettuce, one small wedge of tomato, and two red onion rings.
Of the four of us dining (and I use the term VERY loosely), three ordered rockfish, ordinarily a good choice on the Eastern Shore where it's typically fresh and nicely prepared. One of us had ordered the rockfish stuffed with crabmeat; the other two ordered their fish broiled with lemon and butter. The three platters that were brought to the table were identical, except that the one that was supposed to be stuffed had a scoop of a crab-something mixture alongside the fish. Each plate had two flavorless, boney filets, cooked so dry as to be inedible. Also on each plate was a scoop of something that maybe was supposed to be Spanish rice -- can't really say for sure -- it was just plain awful, and, in any event, a weird accompaniment to the fish. The fourth member of our group had ordered lobster ravioli. That came bathed in a thick, tasteless sauce that was supposed to be Alfredo, but I know Alfredo sauce, and this was NOT it.
This was one of those meals that had me wishing I was somewhere else -- anywhere else, and the feeling intensified with every new dish that arrived at the table. Oh, and not surprisingly, the waitress never came by to ask how everything was. I don't know that I've ever walked out of a restaurant because of a bad first impression, but I can tell you that I'll pay closer attention to my instincts in the future. I eat out a lot, and I know I often overlook small faults because the larger picture is generally positive. But I can't think of one positive thing to say about this particular dining experience. And by the time the check came, we were just so happy to be leaving, we didn't register a detailed complaint about the meal. My thinking, rightly or wrongly, is that when ONE thing is bad, it's worth complaining about; but when EVERYTHING is bad, it's clear that the restaurant management just doesn't care.
I stayed at the Wood Duck Inn on Tighlman Island this year for New Year's and had dinner at the Tighlman Island Inn. The owners of the Wood Duck are incredibly nice and had great food. The accommodations are really nice too. The Tighlman Island Inn also had a great four course dinner and a nice atmosphere. Definitely a low-key New Year's but it was just what the doctor ordered.
For crabs in St. Michael's, the only thing I can think of is the Crab Claw. Nothing fancy, but I do like their crabs. Remember to bring your cash as they don't take plastic.
For other nice places to eat on the Eastern Shore, try Restaurant Local in Easton. Good food, nice atmosphere.
Those are my suggestions.
We had a great lunch at the Tilghman Island Inn this past weekend. Dinner there was a bit out of our price range but I had read that this was a good place to go for lunch and it was true. They have a nice, quiet deck right on the water. The Inn is dog-friendly and the resident dog at the Inn (a black poodle named Jasmine) was trotting around all through lunch. So you might want to skip it if you hate dogs but if you're looking for a low-key but nice place to have lunch, we highly reccomend the Inn.
We had dinner at the Crab Claw too (it was the only thing open late on Friday when we arrived) and it was pretty bad. If you just want crabs or other basics like steamed shrimp, it's fine. But don't go beyond that. My husband's softshell crab sandwhich was horrendous.
I've heard some fairly good things about the Tilghman Island Inn over the years. But, as you might understand, we don't just find ourselves on Tilghman -- it's a destination unto itself. And I have a feeling it'll be a long time before we find our way back there.
We've been to the Crab Claw and it was forgettable. Interestingly enough, we had a pretty nice dining experience at the Town Dock last spring. We were in St. Michaels on a weekday in April, and many restaurants still hadn't opened for th season, so we wound up, mostly by default, at the Town Dock. We arrived at the early side of dinner, and had really wonderful service and surprisingly good food, and we were surprised when the bill came and saw that our waiter had charged us "early bird" prices. Sometimes it's little things like pleasant surprises that leave a lasting favorable impression.
re: Bob W
We want to know here too--$t. Michaels/Tilghman/Easton is close and both Baltimore and DC people go all the time and have info needs regarding that area, which is only an hour for some. For instance, what is Pope's Tavern at the Oxford Inn like? Looked fabulous on a stop-in not at mealtime. And what's the latest on 208 Talbot post-takeover? Looked pretty sleepy while Bistro St. Michaels was jammed.
re: Bob W
I'm very sorry to hear this.
I'm not sure the problem is that it's a tourist trap, as it's pretty far beyond St. Michaels. Since there is NOTHING there except for a couple of boat hires and fishing charters, I think pretty much the only people who venture that far down are those who are fishing and/or staying in one of the very few B&Bs or Tighlman Island Inn. I see very few bicyclists down there.
However, with the recent increased proliferation of even more expensive second homes on the island, I thought the upside of what are otherwise not pretty changes was that the area was ripe for a restaurant of higher caliber than what has been around before. Tighlman Island Inn is only OK as far as I'm concerned. If I'm going to spend that amount of money on a meal, I want to be excellent.
Bay 100 is under new ownership as of sometime during the past year, and I was hopeful after reading about the chef. We stopped there for lunch the day before New Years Eve. The restaurant had been serving brunch, and we were not allowed to order from the menu. I wasn't very happy about that, but gave it a try since the only other place around would have been Harrisons, where you get sometimes good and sometimes mediocre seafood. It was the standard Holiday Inn-type brunch menu, and while a couple of the things were more tasty and carefully prepared than usual, I wasn't that impressed.
I agree with you about Tilghman not being a tourist trap; it's hardly built up, and commercial establishments -- shops and restaurants -- are few and far between. So you'd think that a restaurant that depends on repeat business from locals, particularly locals who are enjoying life in their "more expensive second homes," would have to excel to remain in business.
I was on such a rant in my post about our dining experience yesterday, that I didn't get to express my sincere disappointment about the whole experience. As I'd mentioned, we've known Mark Chew, and we were frequent visitors to his two restaurants (Pasta Garden and Samantha's) in Kennett Square. In fact, my husband first got to know Mark when Mark was with Marina's in Wilmington, DE -- that must have been over 20 years ago. One thing we always liked about Mark was that he was a "restauranteur" -- always circulating through the tables to make sure patrons were satisfied, sometimes joining a table for brief conversation. There were times when he'd offer us a complementary bottle of wine that was new to the wine list, and ask us for feedback. And the food was always good.
We did have a brief, "Hi, good to see you again" conversation with Mark yesterday, shortly after we were seated. Some of the menu items were reminiscent of menu items we remembered, and, as he's done in the past, many menu items were named for family members or friends. But nothing that came out of the kitchen yesterday resembled the quality we recalled from Mark's former restaurant days, and the condition of the restaurant left so much to be desired. I don't know what Bay Hundred was like before Mark got there, but he told us he's been there for about a year and a half now, and that's certainly enough time to make it into a respectable dining establishment.
So, I guess our search for a great dining experience on the peninsula continues. We've been to most of the "usual" places in St. Michaels. What we'd REALLY like to find is (1) a place where we can get a couple of dozen steamed crabs to go, and (2) a picnic spot on the water where we can consume them. Any suggestions?
Check out Harrison's Inn on Tilghman Island. Have always just eaten crabs on the great back deck, where fishing charters go out, and some people arrive by boat. Fantastic place to relax for the day, laid back, and good crabs. They do have a fancier dining room as well, but I can't vouch for that.
Haven't really been in a few years, so this info could be a bit 'off,' but it always seemed like such a timeless place to me.
If you go, could you please report back?!?