67th Street Town Center (on the Bayside)
Ocean City, Md. 21842
It was always surprising to me that an Ocean/Beach community like Ocean City did not have more Southern California surfer style bars and restaurants; well the long wait is over. The Longboard Café combines a laid-back surfer esthetic with some quality cuisine and comes up with a winner of an eatery. The restaurant is small but comfortable with a Tiki style bar which seats about eight, and a dining room of a combination of high top tables in front of the bar and low tables in the dining room. The entire inside seating is about 60 with a newly constructed outdoor deck that can almost double that number. The restaurant also has a balcony over the bar that can be used for more private dining or small private parties. The décor is surfer/beach casual with wide screen televisions for sports and surfing movies. The servers are young and friendly with an open “how can we please you” attitude. The only unfortunate thing is that the Longboard Café is not on the water and a little off the main drag.
The Longboard bar offers a nice selection of local and national beers on tap but my recommendation is to start with one of their margaritas; let me suggest the Prickly Pear Margarita, you can’t have just one. They also offer some Mexican sodas for the kids as well as the designated drivers. While you are enjoying your drinks you will want to order the Longboard’s “Famous Wrinkled Green Beans” to munch on. Now, I don’t know how “famous” they really are but with their crispy texture and Teriyaki style glaze they will be soon. The “Brie and Drunken Nuts” is also a nice snack or appetizer with its combination of rich, soft melted brie cheese and crunchy, salty nuts in a sweet brandy sauce.
Okay, you have your drink and a nice snack now comes the difficult question, “what do I order next”? Well, if you are like me your eyes will automatically gravitate towards the sections marked Burgers and Tacos. The Burgers are a blend of freshly ground chuck, brisket and short rib and are easily the best burgers in Ocean City. The Longboard is my burger of choice with its mildly spicy horseradish cheddar sauce, bacon, crispy lettuce, red onion slice and a beautifully rich fried egg to top it off. The richness of the yolk when you take your first bite makes this a sublime experience. Not in the mood for beef? Well, let me recommend the Jerk Mahi Taco. The combination of perfectly grilled Mahi Mahi, spicy jerk seasoning, sweet mango salsa and crunchy shredded cabbage on a soft taco is the reason this is a classic dish. The jerk seasoning is authentic but toned down for local tastes but if you ask nicely the kitchen will gladly amp it up for you.
The sections marked Panini’s and Sandwiches & Wraps offer some very nice choices if Tacos and Burgers aren’t your culinary “thing”. The Cubano Panini is a very nice take on the classic Cuban sandwich and is served on a nicely pressed Ciabatta roll. The Paseo sandwich, with its combination of sweet and spicy make it a great Sammy with an ice cold beer and the Longboard Steak Sammy, with its grilled steak and tangy tarragon aioli with satisfy any hunger.
If you and your friends are in the mood for classic entrees, then the dinner menu has some very nice choices. Along with the prerequisite steak, pasta and chicken dishes the Longboard Café offers a Chef’s Risotto that can change daily. In addition to the risotto the Go Fish section is worth a taste. The kitchen offers its daily fish selections in four different preparation choices; Tropical, Mediterranean, Pan-Asian and “Just Fish Please”. On the evening I went for dinner one of the fish of the day choices was Red Snapper and I ordered it Mediterranean style. The pan roasted snapper came out perfectly cooked with a beautifully acidic combination of artichoke hearts, capers and tomatoes served with a light sauce of its pan juices, white wine and garlic. The dish was served with roasted potatoes and sautéed squash and my only concern was that the sides were a bit on the sparse side. The protein was an acceptable size but the plate had an empty appearance that was not in keeping with the restaurant’s concept.
The Longboard Café is the latest concept from Rick Vach who comes from a well-established Ocean City restaurant family. If you are old enough to remember the 70’s and 80’s the Vach family owned and ran the much loved and missed Quarterdeck Restaurant. With the Longboard Café, Rick has brought back a great deal of the fun atmosphere that the old Quarterdeck was famous for. So make the effort and find The Longboard Café, you may have just found your new favorite place in OC.