East County Times Dining Guide

Mark Hoos, Nicole Bailey and Chef Rob Palen invite you to try the new Marli's Dockside Grill & Crabhouse. The delectable crab cake sandwich is served with a generous portion of fries



Marli's Dockside Grill & Crabhouse
203 Nanticoke Rd
Baltimore, MD 21221



Review and photos by Lena Sala

Prior to visiting Marli's Dockside Grill and Crabhouse, I thought burgers and pizza is what you would call fine dining. That all changed once I sat down inside the Caribbean-style restaurant and spent almost two hours indulging in everything from grilled bacon wrapped scallops to the famous Maryland crab soup. The crabhouse, located at 203 Nanticoke Road, recently celebrated their grand opening on Thursday, July 1 by welcoming the public to stop on in and experience mouthwatering desserts and something everyone has heard of - happy hour! Mark Hoos, manager of Marli's, showed my coworker and I the best possible dining out experience by recommending the most popular dishes and taking the time out to make sure we went home satisfied. The waiter started us out with the Maryland Crab Soup which was filled with chunks of white jumbo lump crab meat. There was not one bite that wasn't juicy and seasoned to perfection with just the right amount of Old Bay. The vegetables, which consisted of peas, corn, string beans and carrots, melted in your mouth with every spoonful. Once I finished the soup, my tastebuds were curious for what lay ahead. We were then greeted with something known as Sesame Sashimi Tuna, which was freshly prepared and coated with delicious sesame seeds, and served with wasabi creme, soy syrup and pickled ginger, over seaweed salad. If you're a fan of sushi, then its an absolute must that you stop down to see what your stomach has been missing. It is no surprise that every meal is made to perfection with Head Chef Rob Palen, who has been in the food industry for over 12 years. Marli's stands out because this isn't your typical crab house. We actually have intertwined some aspects of Asian culture with our dishes, stated Palen. With everything from citrus juice to marinate our meats to crushed vegetables, Marli's stands out from the rest. Speaking of meats, I found myself practically drooling over their crab cake sandwich which consists of six ounces of pure lumps of fresh Maryland crabmeat. Every bite was moist and laced with Imperial-style sauce. Marli's has something for everyone to enjoy, even for those of you who do not have a taste for seafood. Like their famous Norman Creek Nachos that can be found on their lunch menu featuring fresh tortilla chips topped with seasoned beef, tomato salsa, chipotle queso and tons of sour cream! Are your mouths watering yet? No...? Then maybe their eight-ounce fresh vintage natural ground beef burger, prepared on a freshly grilled artisan roll will do the trick. If you're a steak lover, then you may want to try out their hormone-free steak which in Palens opinion, has a richer taste than Angus beef. Marli's has even saved you a trip to Ocean City, MD by adding the classic favorite Boardwalk Fries to the menu. According to Hoos, you will never get tired of the food at this restaurant. Everyday we have a different special to introduce new and exciting dishes to our hungry customers, he said. If you're like me and are always on the go and just don't have the time to sit down and wine and dine, then check out Marli's carryout, which includes everything from their Chicken Chesapeake - two six-ounce chicken breasts marinated and chargrilled, topped with peppers, garlic and jumbo lump crab meat - to everyone's favorite, Maryland style steamed crabs, which are hand-picked. You can place your order for these delicious creatures seven days a week. Marli's isn't your typical seafood house, so its no surprise that their carryout is not like any other restaurants, due to the fact that they will actually run the food out to you, which is a huge benefit for boaters in the area who have an afternoon craving. Just call, place your order and when its ready, your food will be handed right to you. Its as simple as that. Everything that you sink your teeth into is 100 percent freshly cooked that day. The only thing you will find frozen are their ice cubes. Hoos, who also owns Marli Sport Fishing and Norman Creek Marina, is all about customer service, if you couldn't already tell. We will soon be introducing KENO and this fall, all sports lovers are welcome to join us for Monday Night Football, NFL and college football, said Hoos. He also noted that with the changing of the seasons, there will be a change in the food choices on the menu which will relate to that particular time of the year; this way no experience is the same. No matter what season it is, everyone loves a side of crab dip, a true Maryland favorite. I have to say, I have never tasted crab dip as creamy and as rich as when I sampled some at Marli's Every piece of fresh crab was mixed with cream cheese and just the right amount of seafood seasonings to keep my mouth hungry for more. If you think that steaming crabs and preparing steaks is the only thing Marli's can do, then you may want to think again. They also have the best desserts anywhere around town. I have just two words for you, Creme Brulee. This is one dessert I never had the opportunity of trying up until my recent visit with my coworker All I can say is I have been missing out. If you're a chocolate and peanut butter lover, then what you need is to try their moist Reese's Pieces Peanut Butter Pie. The fusion of the chocolate with the creamy peanut butter sent my tastebuds into a frenzy. Marli's even has something for all you coffee lovers out there, known as the Mississippi Mud Pie, which intertwines chocolate and coffee all in one bite. What can get better than that? Hoos and Palen added that in the near future, you will be able to come on down as early as 7 a.m. to enjoy their breakfast and bring some friends and family to enjoy the soon-to-come KENO. So make sure you gather up the crew and head on down to see what fine dining is all about. For more information on specials and times, call Marli's Dockside Grill and Crabhouse at 410-574-6275.

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