B and I celebrated the Fourth by finally making the trek to the much lauded (and we suspected over-hyped) Cantler's Riverside Inn, about forty five minutes northeast of DC right outside of Annapolis. I am happy to report that this place is fantastic and worth the trip. And thanks to our newly GPS equipped car, we made it there without any direction arguments -- perhaps a first for us!
When you arrive--or more accurately dead-end--at Cantler's, the first thing you notice is the smell of Old Bay seasoning in the air (Nice!). You are greeted by a group of equally surly and disaffected teens who serve as valets, hostesses etc (Not Nice!). But we got our beeper and headed to the dock to wait.
Twenty minutes later we were seated at a shady picnic table with a view that I am quite sure made everything taste just a little bit better.
And better yet, a tall, skinny Corona lite in a can. I have never seen this little guy before, but he was quite tasty.
And the best part. We were a little intimidated with the daunting task of working for our meal, so we opted to share the steamed mix above as well as a plate of butter seared lump crab cakes. The food was excellent, and next time I think we will go all steamed crab, with an extra sweet corn. Our waitress was also quite helpful at demonstrating how exactly one eats a jumbo Maryland crab -- it involves a knife, wooden mallet, and lots of determination.
The crabs were beyond fresh (see picture below of the crabs coming in right off the docks), flaky and succulent, the shrimp perfectly seasoned in a Bay-seasoned boil, and the mussels and clams rounded everything out. Add to that some fantastic in season sweet corn and you had two happy people.
Considering the fresh seafood, the views, charm, and breeze, the price is not unreasonable. Two entrees (which were beyond filling) with two beers, tax, and tip was $73. Being a New England girl at heart, summer in DC is always a bit depressing given the lack of proximity to an ocean. But Cantler's provides a quasi-maritime atmosphere with only 45 minutes or so of travel. It is worth the trip!