Shark

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - TRAVEL -

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.

HANDOUT

Cheeses­teak bis­cuits are made with Roseda Farm ten­der­loins from Bal­ti­more County.

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