Shark on the Harbor
Ocean City restaurant focuses on Maryland seafood, produce
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, ocshark.com 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.