Shark on the Har­bor

Ocean City restau­rant fo­cuses on Mary­land seafood, pro­duce

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - LIFE & TRAVEL - By Christina Tkacik

Our so­journ south to Ocean City was in­spired by a Face­book post. Bal­ti­more chef Chad Wells, af­ter va­ca­tion­ing with his fam­ily there this sum­mer, won­dered why it is that so few restau­rants in Ocean City take ad­van­tage of the boun­ti­ful fish and pro­duce found on the Eastern Shore.

There was an ex­cep­tion, Wells wrote: Shark on the Har­bor. The 11-year-old restau­rant in Ocean City, “is still the best restau­rant in Ocean City Mary­land, and one of my fa­vorites in the state.”

And so I, while on sum­mer va­ca­tion in Delaware, had my ex­cuse for din­ner out.

The restau­rant is at the far south end of O.C., past the tow­er­ing sea­side high rises and scores of neon signs, along the com­mer­cial fish­er­man’s har­bor and ad­ja­cent to var­i­ous mari­nas that cater to gi­ant sport fish­ing yachts. The har­bor­side lo­ca­tion is es­sen­tial to the op­er­a­tions. Seafood ar­rives by boat, com­ing di­rectly from cap­tains and wa­ter­men in an ar­range­ment that a Miche­lin-starred restau­rant would envy.

“We buy as much lo­cal seafood and pro­duce as pos­si­ble,” said chef and owner Travis Wright. He works seven days a week and is con­stantly on the phone with seafood sup­pli­ers and farm­ers; cap­tains Rat­ing: ★★★★ Where: Con­tact: Open: Park­ing:

Spe­cial di­ets: Reser­va­tion pol­icy: Hand­i­cap ac­ces­si­ble: have been known to text him say­ing they’ve got fresh scal­lops and lob­sters.

Wright and his team de­sign their daily lunch and din­ner menu around what’s avail­able. “Right now we’re heavy on pep­pers, toma­toes,” Wright said. As fall ap­proaches, ex­pect to see more hearty greens on the menu.

The in­gre­di­ents-first ap­proach makes for food that’s well worth a trip from Delaware. A pan-fried fil­let of sword­fish — caught just 50 miles from Ocean City — prac­ti­cally brought tears to the eyes, a huge hunk of ten­der, ab­surdly fresh meat atop a mix of corn, toma­toes and smoky ba­con. My din­ing com­pan­ion pro­nounced it the best seafood she had ever tasted.

Lo­cal touches are found through­out the menu. Cheeses­teak bis­cuits are made with Roseda Farm ten­der­loins from Bal­ti­more County, while stuffed av­o­ca­dos are bat­tered in Natty Boh. The drink menu fea­tures a thought­ful and broad se­lec­tion of wines and lo­cal beers, in­clud­ing of­fer­ings from Charm City Mead Works, as well as on-trend cock­tails made with Belle Isle


12924 Sun­set Ave, West Ocean City 410-213-0924, oc­ Lunch and din­ner daily, week­end brunch Prices: Ap­pe­tiz­ers $7-$15; en­trees $13-$35 Food: New Amer­i­can Noise/TVs: TVs, but con­ver­sa­tion is easy Ser­vice: Pro­fes­sional staff with thor­ough knowl­edge of menu Lot be­low restau­rant Can be ac­com­mo­dated Ac­cepts reser­va­tions Yes [Key: Su­perla­tive: 5 stars; Ex­cel­lent: 4 stars; Very good: 3 stars; Good: 2 stars; Promis­ing: 1 star.] At Shark on the Har­bor, the pan-fried fil­let of sword­fish — caught just 50 miles from Ocean City — of­fers ten­der, fresh meat atop a mix of corn, toma­toes and smoky ba­con.

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