Recipe and restaurant review

True confessions.  I didn’t cook tonight.  We went to a new restaurant, True Chesapeake Oyster Company with friends.  Since I just got back to blogging, I felt guilty about not providing a recipe so I’m giving you an old favorite.  Since it’s a repeat, I’ll also tell you a little about the restaurant.

The restaurant just opened at the beginning of October in Clipper Mill.  The space is really neat looking, in fact the one server said “When I’m here, I don’t even feel like I’m in Baltimore.”  The menu is not extensive but if you like seafood, you won’t have any trouble finding something you like.  (I find it hard to believe that many people will go to a restaurant called True Chesapeake Oyster Company and order a $79 Tomahawk steak.)

There were 6 different varieties of oysters offered from the raw bar and we tried a sample.  The oysters were fantastic and were served on ice in big bowls with cocktail sauce, lemon slices, horseradish, mignonette and what looked like a medicine bottle that we were told was a hot sauce.  Not being a spicy girl, I skipped the hot sauce.  Keith tried it and reported that it was good.

I love a good oyster stew so could not resist ordering that.  I felt a little bit piggy ordering raw oysters, oyster stew and fried oysters but the portions were small so I ended up feeling happy that I had ordered what I did.  The oyster stew had wonderful flavor and the oysters were plump and delicious.  The fried oyster portion was 5 small fried oysters.  Again, flavors were excellent but I could have eaten a few more.  I would describe it as an appetizer.

Keith had oyster stew also and enjoyed very much.  He also had monkfish which was mild and flaky.  He thought it was well prepared with a nutty crust and a squash puree.  He gave me a taste and it was good, but again the portion size was small.  Keith said “Maybe it’s a restaurant for thin people.”

The server was very nice and enthusiastic but the service was slow, particularly for a weeknight when it was not crowded.  I would recommend True Chesapeake but we felt it was expensive for what we had.

If you want to be full, go ahead and fix the swordfish:

Grilled swordfish with tomato fennel sauce and cous cous

  • swordfish fillets (6 – 8 oz per person)
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 TB olive oil (plus additional for brushing on fish)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 28 oz canned plum tomatoes, drained
  • 2 TB chicken stock
  • 2 TB white wine
  • 2 TB capers, drained
  • 2 tsp butter
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • cous cous

In a heavy pan, saute the onion and fennel for about 12 minutes or until soft.  Add garlic and stir in.  Add tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 20 minutes over low heat.  Add chicken stock and wine and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.  Add capers, butter and basil and simmer for 5 minutes.  (NOTE: You can make ahead of time and wait and add basil right before serving.)

Brush swordfish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill for 5 minutes a side over high heat (either on an outdoor grill or an indoor grill pan).  Fix cous cous according to package directions.

New Thai restaurant in Baltimore

We love Thai food, whether eaten in a restaurant, purchased as carryout or prepared at home.  We were sad when Stang of Siam closed as the food was delicious and the location fairly convenient.  On a detour route home from work I noticed that there was a new name on that old location Dee@Thai.  We checked the website and at the time it indicated that they were in the “soft opening” stage.  We have been watching and saw that the website is now updated and the restaurant is officially open so we ate dinner there last night.

The space has been redecorated.  The wooden tables are light and clean and decor is pretty minimalist.  The only thing that looked out of place was the plastic pumpkin at the host stand.  Samantha was further disappointed to discover that it did not contain candy.

Although they don’t currently have a full liquor license, Dee@Thai does serve beer and wine.  Keith had a Thai beer and I had a glass of white wine.  For appetizers we ordered Goong Suan (shrimp fried in Thai wrapper), Kanom Jeeb (steamed dumplings) and Papaya Salad.  (I was disappointed that the menu did not include shrimp cakes as that is probably my favorite Thai appetizer.  The shrimp and dumplings arrived promptly and both were piping hot with excellent sauces.  Keith and Samantha loved the papaya salad but they both have a higher tolerance for spice than I do.  I took one bite and that was more than I could handle.  I stuck to the shrimp and dumplings.

The spice theme carried over into the entrees that we ordered.  We ordered 4 entrees for the three of us.  That allowed us to experiment with more of the menu and Keith is happy to have Thai leftovers for lunch.  We went with two of our favorites – Panang Curry with shrimp and Drunken Noodles with shrimp.  Samantha added a Mango Curry with chicken and at the last minute I spotted Gra Proa Ped (crispy duck).  Again, all dishes were delivered hot from the kitchen and again, the heat on the spice side was also high.  Flavors were good but I could barely handle the noodles and curries.  I readily admit that I am on the wimpy side for spice but I also have eaten in many Thai restaurants and regularly fix Thai food at home.  I would say that the Drunken Noodles and Panang Curry were among the spicier versions of those dishes that I have encountered.

I don’t remember seeing Mango Curry on a Thai menu before but I confess, I haven’t been looking for it. I was a little surprised by Samantha’s selection but thought it had intriguing flavors and chunks of mango.  She was pleased with it.  I thoroughly enjoyed the crispy duck – it was the least spicy of the entrees, it was cooked perfectly with a generous serving of vegetables and the duck was extremely crisp.  Delicious!

Although we only saw one server on duty, service was excellent – quick and friendly.  We will definitely go back to Dee@Thai but next time, I’ll ask them to tone down the spice a bit.  Keith and Samantha have no such reservations.  If you are looking for a new Thai adventure, I would recommend Dee@Thai.  I hope they are successful.