East County Times Dining Guide

Enjoy food with a view at the River Watch



by Allison McAlister

There's just nothing better than sitting on a deck overlooking the water on a gorgeous sunny day and enjoying a great meal. Eastern Baltimore County is the place to be during the summer months to take in spectacular views and partake of some wonderful fare at a restaurant located on the water. The River Watch Restaurant in Essex is just the place to visit if you enjoy this type of atmosphere as much as I do. A recent visit for lunch on a beautiful day last week proved a most pleasurable experience. The sun glistened off the calm waters of Hopkins Creek where several boats were docked at the pier in anticipation of their owners climbing aboard to cruise the waterway. My dining companion and I relished the view as we munched on appetizers of River Watch Shrimp (jumbo shrimp wrapped in bacon), Jerk Chicken (boneless chicken strips with a special blend of Jamaican seasonings that are chargrilled and skewered and served with mango chutney) and shrimp sautéed in a delicious garlic wine sauce. Everything was very yummy. The Sautéed Shrimp were so flavorful, the mango chutney served with the Jerk Chicken was to-die-for and the River Watch Shrimp were my absolute favorite. The shrimp were huge and simply scrumptious. My dad used to grill shrimp wrapped in bacon as an appetizer to our steak dinners when I was growing up, so the River Watch Shrimp were a real treat for me. For our entrees, we sampled the Crab Cake and the Caesar Salad Wrap, both of which were very good. The jumbo lump crab cake was broiled to perfection and especially tasty. It had a great flavor to it and my dining companion was quite taken with it. The wrap, filled with the restaurant's popular chicken Caesar salad and served with chips and a pickle, was a great choice for lunch. The wrap halves were overflowing with chicken, which made for a satisfying meal. We were so full, we had to pass on dessert. The River Watch Restaurant has been in the Sullivan family for the last 17 years, with Traci and her brother Mark currently running things. Traci says she has “done pretty much everything” at The River Watch, from prepping to waiting tables to bartending. “We're a restaurant family,” she explains. “It's in our blood.” In addition to The River Watch, the family is also part owner of The Bowman Restaurant and Tracy's Comedy Club on Harford Road in Carney. Known for their Sunday deck parties, The River Watch features live music Thursday through Sunday. Traci notes that popular local bands like Crushing Day and Faded Image are performers this summer. Outside seating is available for approximately 50 diners, while the inside dining rooms can accommodate about 300 total. Party rooms are available for private parties, such as birthdays, anniversary, business meetings, etc. While Traci admits, “steak and seafood is our forte,” the menu offers up a variety of items including pastas, chicken, sandwiches and burgers. And the chefs have been with the restaurant for quite a long time. Explains Traci, “Both of our chefs, we've (her and Mark) grown up with. They started out as dishwashers, then moved up to line cooks, and now they are chefs.” So, customers can be assured of consistent meal preparation - and thus taste - time after time. The menu also boasts a varied selection of summertime drinks specialties, something I will definitely go back for when I'm not on company time. In addition to favorites like Mai Tai and Tequila Sunrise, others like Malibu Madness and Bittner's Southern Peach sound deliciously enticing. The River Watch Restaurant is located at 207 Nanticoke Road. Kitchen hours are 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m. Monday - Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. - 11 p.m. Thursday, 11:30 a.m. - midnight Friday & Saturday, and from 11:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. on Sunday. The restaurant is open 364 days a year, closed only on Christmas Day. For more information, call 410-687-1442 or visit their website at www.riverwatchrestaurant.com.

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