moonshine. A salted air margarita is capped with frothy, salted foam — a brilliant and delicious innovation inspired by Washington’s Oyamel.
Wright, who grew up in Arlington, Va., and went to college in Charleston, S.C., is heavily influenced by Southern cuisine. Housemade pimento cheese is a recurring theme, accompanying the gratis bread starter and served on various starters like fried green tomatoes topped with crab. Softshell crabs are encrusted in cornflakes, served with spicy corn pone and hoppin’ john.
Desserts are a casual affair — the menu offers sundaes, a peach crisp, cookie with milk and dark chocolate tart, a mess of chocolate, chipotle and bacon.
Service was diligent and professional, with our server putting aside any ingredients that might contain food allergies. The place fills up quickly: crowds of diners ranged from singles at the bar to vacationing families and couples celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Tin sharks hang from the rafters, a nod to the theme. You’re reminded that it’s a beach place, after all, the kind of place where you wouldn’t feel judged for wearing sandy flip flops.
Now, back to chef Chad Wells’ original question. Why don’t more restaurants do what Shark on the Harbor does? Chef Wright has a thought: “It’s really hard,” he said. “It’s much easier to write a menu [that doesn’t change for six months] than trying to do this on the fly every night. It takes recruiting and retaining really talented staff.”
The attractions go beyond the food. The restaurant, which is on concrete pilings, provides an elevated outpost to watch the comings and goings on the water, and features a floating tiki bar whose maneuverings in the harbor defied physics.
The space was home to a rotating roster of restaurants, most recently Iguana Surf.
“They called it a cursed location,” said Wright.
After 10 plus years here, Wright feels confident they’ve broken the curse.
Cheesesteak biscuits are made with Roseda Farm tenderloins from Baltimore County.