(Oct. 10, 2014) Diners have a reason to eat, drink and be merry because Ocean City’s Restaurant Week returns Sunday.
The two-week affair runs through Sunday, Oct. 26 and will feature special fixed-prices menus of $10, $20, $30 or $40 at nearly 20 restaurants around town.
New this year, the fall version of Restaurant Week will also dish up good deals and specials on already-low shoulder season prices.
“We already have a lot of restaurants that give great offseason deals,” said Susan Jones, executive director of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association, which organizes the annual event. “We thought we would just combine the two for fall Restaurant Week.”
The two-week special is designed to draw diners through the doors when business slows, but it also gives chefs a chance to create a unique, seasonal menu.
“We just try and design the Restaurant Week menu around the seasons — trying to utilize the fall flavors,” said Jim Glenn, executive chef at Horizons Oceanfront Restaurant, inside the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel on 101st Street.
Horizon’s special dinner menu includes a choice of starters such as pumpkin soup, made with sage and apples, or an autumn salad of candied pecans, bleu cheese, dried cranberries and honey champagne vinaigrette poured over a bed of roasted sweet potatoes.
Desserts will be a selection of cakes from Desserts by Rita, including a Pumpkin Lust cake that combines pie, meringue and fall flavors.
“Every year we create new things to utilize what’s in season,” Glenn said. “It’s always ‘wipe the slate clean and start over fresh,’ and we’ll always do that to keep our customers interested.”
“It’s always fun (designing the Restaurant Week menu),” he added. “We like to be creative and do things out of the ordinary.”
Horizons will be dishing up its specials — two courses for $30 or three for $35 — for dinner all week and will offer other daily specials such as “Lobster Lunacy” on Thursday and 20 percent off wine all week.
A Restaurant Week participant for the last few years, the October event helps draw vacationers and locals alike through Horizon’s doors, Glenn said, and Restaurant Week newcomer Touch of Italy hopes the event will do the same at 66th Street.
“We are new and knew it was an opportunity to get our word out, to have people come in and check out what we have to offer,” said Touch of Italy Chef Shawn West.
His Restaurant Week menu features “some of our favorite things — things that we’d like to point out to people,” West said. “A lot of times people come to an Italian place and they think, ‘I’ve got to order the chicken Parmesan.’”
Some of Touch of Italy’s $28.95 Restaurant Week menu includes arugula salad, ‘Insalata di Rucola,’ topped with red onions, marinated artichokes, candied walnuts and balsamic dressing. Main dishes include the restaurant’s special Bolognese, ‘Garganelli alla Bolognese,’ which is an Old World recipe and one of the owner’s favorite dishes, West said.
Touch of Italy will also serve its ‘Pollo al Taleggio,’ a chicken cutlet breaded in homemade crumbs, pan-seared in a white wine Italian herb sauce and topped with melted taleggio cheese and prosciutto di parma, served over a bed of sautéed spinach. “It’s not your average chicken dish,” West said.
Touch of Italy’s special menu, which comes with a starter, a main pasta dish and meat dish and dessert, will be available on weekdays only.
The idea for restaurant week traveled here from the western shore in 2007, after Jones heard about a similar special during a travel summit in Baltimore.
“We brought the idea back to our board and they loved it,” she said. “It’s just great deals on great food.”
Alcohol, tax and gratuity are not included in Restaurant Week’s fixed menu prices. Participating restaurants will still have their regular, full-price menus available throughout the special.
For participating restaurants’ menus and prices, visit www.oceancityrestaurantweek.com. Go to the Facebook page www.facebook.com/ OCMDRestaurantWeek for Restaurant Week updates.
- BJ’s on the Water, 75th Street
- The Blue Ox Bar & Grill, 127th Street
- Captain’s Galley II, Harbor Road, West Ocean City
- Captain’s Table, 15th Street, in the Marriott Courtyard
- Crab Alley, Golf Course Road, West Ocean City
- Crab Bag, 130th Street
- DaVinci’s By the Sea, 15th Street on the Boardwalk
- Duffy’s Tavern, 129th Street
- The Original Greene Turtle, 116th Street
- Happy Jack Pancake House, 25th Street
- Hemmingway’s at The Coral Reef, 17th Street, in the Holiday Inn
- Horizons Oceanfront Restaurant, 101st Street, in the Clarion Resort Hotel
- Jules Restaurant, 118th Street
- Layton’s on 92nd, 92nd Street
- Longboard Café, 67th Street
- OC Brewing Company, 55th Street
- Peaky’s Rooftop, 138th Street
- The Hobbit Restaurant, 81st Street
- The Shark on the Harbor, Sunset Avenue, West Ocean City
- Touch of Italy, 66th Street