Tucked back on Charles Street, next to the Harbor Island Marina, you will find Charles Street Brassiere, the newest restaurant on Solomons Island. They state “fine dining” on their Facebook page, but I found it to be more casual than fancy, however any mode of dress would be suitable. It is the type of place where jeans can mix with suits and nobody would seem out of place.
Our group chose to eat here during their Grand Opening and parking was at a premium. It was a nice evening and not too far of a walk so I didn’t mind but I am glad that I had on comfortable shoes.
When we arrived, musicians were warming up on the front deck and we were warmly greeted by the hostess and offered a sample of their Pork Kabob which is one of the menu offerings. It was more salty than spicy but the Taziki Sauce had a good flavor.
After being seated at a table with a view of the water, our helpful and very friendly waitress, Cindy, greeted us with a smile and explained the menu to us. The menu features mostly Tapas & Shared Plates with a few Dinner Plates, and a small variety of sandwiches and salads. Prices are reasonable with Small Plates averaging about $10 and Dinners about $20.
The beers arrived and they weren’t very cold. So far, we have had very salty pork and warm beer and things weren’t looking good…until the Tomato Bruchette arrived. It was so delicious!! It was a blend of sweet ripe tomatoes and fresh basil with a hint of olive oil on a piece of warm garlic bread drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It tasted just like summertime. Next up were the Stuffed Mushrooms and Crab Cakes Petite. As a Southern Marylander, I know my crab and these cakes weren’t bad. They weren’t the best I have ever had but they had minimum filler and a good flavor. I would order them again, which says a lot. The Stuffed Mushrooms were also good, baked with a generous portion of back fin crab and topped with creamy Imperial sauce. We also tried the Fried Oyster Rockefeller which was very interesting. The oysters were deep fried and served on a bed of creamed spinach but the fact that the bacon was piled in a corner on the plate by itself was a little confusing. I think it could be incorporated better into the dish but all in all, they were very tasty.
We were very satisfied with the first round and decided to sample some more. Now, you should be aware that it does takes a little while for your food to be served but that is because each dish is cooked to order and good food takes time to be prepared. When “sharing plates” it is a very social meal and time isn’t a factor when you are enjoying good food with great company. The Small Plates consists of three or four pieces that are perfect for sharing amongst friends. By doing this, it also gives you chance to sample a good portion of the menu rather than just trying one or two items. I suggest you order, share, eat, and repeat.
Our second round of beers arrived (much colder this time) along with our food. Scrumptious shrimp in a garlic butter sauce with artichoke hearts, a very good Cream of Crab soup with just the right amount of sherry and a nice amount of crab meat and Lobster Mac & Cheese. I’ll be honest; I wasn’t a fan of the Mac & Cheese. The pasta was overdone and the lobster didn’t taste very fresh. However, the Grilled Quesadilla was filled with very fresh vegetables and could have been a meal by itself.
My husband also ordered a dinner plate and went with the Strip Steak. It was perfectly cooked but instead of Asparagus and Apricot Chutney, it was served with Mashed Cauliflower and Pineapple Salsa. He was not disappointed with the substitutions and he raved about the cauliflower. In fact, I heard other diners compliment it as well. It was delicious and should be offered every night.
Because it was the grand opening, they were serving samples of their menu either laid out on platters or served by the staff. We were able to sample the White Bean Dip and Kalamata Artichoke Tapenade; both were good although I favored the Tapenade. The Chicken and Apricot Skewers weren’t bad either. But the winners of the night were the Bacon Wrapped Dates. These little morsels of sweet and savory were just incredible.
Finally, we ordered dessert. There were only two options available; both being cheese cake but we were not let down. The Strawberry Cheese Cake was very good but the Spiced Apple Kahlua Cheese Cake was absolutely fantastic and the portions can definitely be shared by two (or more). It was the perfect ending to a great meal.
We found that Charles Street Brassier offers affordable, freshly prepared food along with friendly and efficient service. Combine that with a lovely waterfront ambiance and you have the recipe for a successful restaurant. We will definitely be back.
Written by JA
Tue – Thu: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Fri: 4:00 pm – 12:00 am
Sat: 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
Sun: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm