If you combine one of the nicest guys in Ocean City with a business he has been a part of since he was a child and add fabulous, FRESH seafood, you will just begin to understand how cool the Shrimp Boat is in West Ocean City.
If you think that this unassuming seafood shop facing Route 611 is just a local waterman selling shrimp, you are right, but missing the rest of the story. There is a seafood market where you get a sample of freshly steamed shrimp — huge and succulent. Joe, the owner, will behead the shrimp for you and explain how much more flavor the shrimp has because of the way they steam it. There is an air conditioned restaurant nestled behind the boat that faces 611 with indoor seating and picnic style wooden tables. There is outdoor seating in two separate areas with big tables and little.
The Shrimp Boat just opened full time — today is their first Tuesday to be open this season. My daughter was dying for a lobster roll. Not having any hope that we would actually find one, we decided to try the Shrimp Boat. Not only did they have lobster rolls with fresh LOCAL lobster, they had crabcakes made with JUMBO LUMP crab and very little breading! Both were excellent. You get a side with each order and we had garlic green beans with one and coleslaw with the other. Both were great. They list “steamed green beans” on the menu, and I was expecting the typical Eastern Shore version: cooked to death with sugar and bacon. WRONG. These were gently steamed to perfection with butter and garlic.
We sat next to two guys — father and son from Illinois who were celebrating the son’s graduation from high school. They decided to go to Washington DC, felt they had done enough there and headed for the ocean. They had never seen the Atlantic Ocean and, since they were camping, booked a space at Castaways. They were stopping for lunch after a morning spent exploring Assateague. The shrimp sample sold them; both were having shrimp for lunch.
It has only taken me ten years to actually go to the Shrimp Boat restaurant. Don’t be fooled by the boat and seafood market in front. The restaurant and the food are fresh and fabulous. Now that my daughter has graduated from college and we are driving her out to Los Angeles to start her new job next week, we have found her new favorite restaurant. It’s the people, the food, and the ambience that combine to form a lasting impression and you won’t be disappointed in the combination: Eastern Shore seafood, an amazing work ethic and attitude, and casual indoor AND outdoor eating.