Tilghman Island Inn

Written by on September 29, 2012 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(tilghmanislandinn.com) – Tilghman Island, Maryland

How I heard of this place: When we checked in to our own little Inn at Knapps Narrows, we requested some recommendations for great eateries in our corner of the Chesapeake and were offered this as the Islands best fine dining establishment.

Tilghman Inn Menu

Type of cuisine: “Dining. Ah, dining. Where do we begin? The usual descriptors just seem to ring hollow when applied to the dining experience here at the Tilghman Island Inn. The physical location of the Inn, in addition to being so visually enchanting, is also the source of its culinary distinction, the palette on which our chefs create a medley of both traditional and innovative dishes. Seafood fresh from the water’s edge and produce from surrounding farmlands are the basis for a menu whose style and sophistication evolves subtly as the seasons change. For us to proclaim the excellence of our cuisine, of course, is easy. On the other hand, earning Wine Spectator’s prestigious Award of Excellence for the last several years in row is not.”

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Ambiance: We entered the Inn to the loud and happy sounds of old money in the extensive bar. White-haried men in navy blue jackets with gold buttons half seated on bar booths, others milling about the space between tables, half-listening to the pianist at the shiny, black grand in the corner made up the population of the bar. Windows looking out onto the tall grass at the edge of the Chesapeake waterway, presumably a part of the Miles River extending down the shore from St. Michael’s (“the second Hamptons“). We follow the owner’s black poodle from the rose-colored room into the dining area of sponged blue walls and paintings of the Eastern Shore landscape in single file around the room. A copule of steps lead up to the walled loft seating area for larger parties, while the rest of us dine in the paired seats at tables for two along the diagnoally set wood panels along the wall. The dim glow of recessed lighting, the sun setting beyond the sliding glass doors at the far end, the lone tealight candle in the middle of each table setting, the clinks and clanks of utensils against diners’ plates, and slight sounds of shuffling servers along the terracotta and blue stone-tiled floor below, all contribute to the setting of this fine dining establishment.

What I ordered: We sat down just as two bowls of soup were being delivered to our neighbors’ table and couldn’t help but order the same. Two orders for the soup of the day: Pumpkin Pear Bisque ($5.50 each), cranberry juice ($2) and a creamy, cheesey Caesar Salad to start ($9.50). For our main entrees, I opted to stick with a Tilghman Island favorite and selected the Crab Cakes ($32) for two large pillows of crab, each served over a crispy, fried green tomato alongside asparagus risotto in a pool of lemon beurre blanc. Chris chose the Lamb Chops ($32) seared and served with basil mashed potatoes, haricot vert with whole grain mustard demi. Too full for dessert, we were sad to have missed the homemade ice creams and sorbets, but less than compelled to suffer a bloated stomach for the options at hand.

Tilghman Inn Crab Cakes

What I loved: The basil mashed potatoes! Who knew a little fresh herb would add so much mouthwatering flavor and such a delightful burst of color to a plate? On my plate, the carpaccio-thin fried green tomato wowed me! However, of all things we consumed at the Tilghman Island Inn, I have to say that my absolute favorite was the Pear Pumpkin Bisque. What a stellar combination of sweet and savory, creamy and rich yet light with flavor and smooth going down.

Tilghman Inn Soup

Why I loved it: I loved a little bit of everything: the romantic, candlelit setting in an otherwise casual space, the live sounds of a piano in the background, a friendly server, smiling neighboring diners and hearty comfort foods.

Cost: Average to high ($19 – $33 per dinner entree)

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