Hell Point Seafood

One of the side benefits of having out of town visitors is going to places I am usually too self absorbed to visit otherwise.  And so we have Annapolis, the capital of Maryland and the home of the Naval Academy.  The downtown, historic area is very pretty – lined with brick and very walkable (and of course touristy).  There is a memorial to Alex Haley, albeit small – and you can smell the water.  My Dad wanted to get towards the ocean and maybe get a real seafood experience.  So now that we are in a legit place like Annapolis, lunch at Hell Point Seafood was a natural.  Hell Point is the cousin of Kinkead’s in DC, one of the very best seafood restaurants around.

The decor is very “coastal seafood place-y” as we sat on the terrace – pretty typical but nice.  The appetizers we got were a crabcake with corn salad.  The crabcake, unlike 90% of crabcakes was not a Stove Top Stuffing piece with some crab in it, but a very meaty, full of lump crabmeat crabcake with sauce and enough binder to hold its integrity.  With the corn – it was a lovely start.  I also got a chilled tomato gazpacho, which was definitely good.  I ordered for my entree the soft shell crab BLT.  The BLT though is a bit of a twist – instead of bacon, homemade tasso ham – which actually was not an improvement – the salty crunch of bacon/pancetta was missing.  The lettuce was substituted with baby aragula – there was also artichoke and a scallion aioli.  All of those components were fine holding up a deep fried soft shell crab.  What is difficult about this treatment is that while a soft shell crab has a soft shell – that does not mean that peeling it is not a good idea.  That is, the shell is still a pain in the butt to eat and makes the crab eating “tough” even if the meat itself is not overcooked.  This infected the process and sort of gave the sandwich a sort of chewiness that is characteristic of the complaints levied against inferior calimari.  The brioche roll was good, but the sandwich was messy – and not necessarily in a Hellburger good way.  The fries on the side were soggy.

In that respect, the restaurant was a bit of a disappointment, especially when you realize they priced the menu as if tourists would show up.  Of course we did.  I might have ordered incorrectly, but I can’t say I was floored.

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