You don’t have to swoosh away ashes from a live fire with a long apron edge to get authentic Maryland cuisine with classic ingredients. Today, traditional Maryland flavors mix happily with modern recipes at Hunter’s Tavern, inside the elegant Tidewater Inn, in Easton. With the jet-setters who visit the area and the Eastern Shore’s most prominent music venue across the street (Avalon), you really never know who you might run into. I was very glad to be hosted to experience everything during Restaurant Week in Talbot County!
During lunchtime, the atmosphere in the restaurant/bar is a mix of professional and preppy visitors.
Even if you normally consider a Bloody Mary only for Sunday brunch, definitely make an exception for their Bacon Bloody Mary. It’s flavorful — not kooky spicy or overly loaded with Old Bay — and made with bacon-infused vodka. It’s garnished a big crab claw, pimento stuffed olive, lime and lemon. I think super-garnished Bloody Mary cocktails are fun!
I have an in-law who held trademark for the University of Maryland’s slogan, “Fear the Turtle”. For years, I’ve retorted, “Nah . . . eatthe turtle!” Diamondback terrapin soup used to be de rigueur for any upscale Maryland dining experience. So now, you can treat your own self well with a cup or bowl of Hunter’s Tavern Snapping Turtle soup. It’s served with a whole carafe of sherry, for you to accentuate the sweetness of the turtle meat. If you’ve never had it, think of it being akin to a beef vegetable soup. Theirs is rich, with seasonings (cinnamon?) that suggested the Silk Road.
You can’t get any more Maryland than eating the state fish: Rockfish (striped bass). We’re lucky that conservation efforts and a moratorium for several years saved the species. It’s still heavily regulated and not always on menus. I can taste why! It’s delicate, yet thick and meaty. There was a lunch special of rockfish and chips — if they have it when you’re there, don’t even hesitate in ordering it! It was a huge portion with a light, crispy batter. It’s served with both cocktail sauce and a creamy remoulade.