Over the past decade, Talbot County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore has earned a reputation for fine dining.
In April, Washingtonian readers who bring this article to the following restaurants get a three-course meal for $30, excluding beverages, tax, and tip. At all the restaurants except one, that meal is dinner; at one, as noted, the three-course $30 special is available only at lunch.
At some restaurants, readers can order from the regular menu; at others, a special menu is offered.
Because staying overnight means you can try more of the restaurants, inns also are offering readers exclusive deals for April.
Pope’s Tavern is in the heart of the waterfront village of Oxford. Locals love chef Lisa MacDougal’s classic French fare such as moules frites and profiteroles with chocolate sauce. The bar is a great perch for striking up conversation with regulars who come to sample the unusual Spanish brandies. In addition to the dinner special, readers who book one of the homey rooms in the inn get 20 percent off regular rates, which start at $100.
Pope’s Tavern, 504 S. Morris St.; 410-226-5220.
Lively St. Michaels
208 Talbot, with its charming maze of dining rooms, is one of those rare spots perfect for almost any occasion, from date night to a family gathering. Chef Brendan Keegan excels at traditional dishes such as crispy fish and chips and braised short ribs. New to the menu are creative milkshakes—spiked concoctions including the Red Velvet, with Chambord and Godiva white chocolate.
208 Talbot, 208 N. Talbot St.; 410-745-3838.
Rupert’s Bar & Tea Rooms
Imagine a pub on a country lane in England and you’ll get a good picture of the newest addition to St. Michaels. Leather chairs, horsy prints, and Oriental rugs make this a cozy place to dine on hearty fare such as meatloaf with house-made mashed potatoes. The bar, which has a city vibe—with framed Interview magazine covers from the ’80s—is a great place to have a glass of wine or grab dessert such as the buttery sticky toffee pudding.
Rupert’s Bar & Tea Rooms, 407 S. Talbot St.; 410-745-9090.
Daytime is the best time to try Sherwood’s Landing, inside the Inn at Perry Cabin, because of the water views from the dining room. In April, readers can a get a three-course lunch for $30, which is a great way to sample chef Mark Salter’s playful twists on traditional dishes, such as crab spring rolls with pink grapefruit and avocado or buttermilk panna cotta with lavender shortbread. The deal is good for lunch only.
Sherwood’s Landing, 308 Watkins La.; 410-745-2200.
Although this sunny Victorian inn doesn’t have a dining room, it’s within walking distance of St. Michaels restaurants. The inn is offering readers 30 percent off April room rates, which normally start at $160.
Five Gables Inn & Spa, 209 N. Talbot St.; 877-466-0100.
Chef Jordan Lloyd and his wife, Alice, have infused this elegant dining room with a lively atmosphere. The menu taps local Chesapeake Bay bounty—from oysters to crabs—and adds dashes of luxury (truffle oil, saffron cream). Before dinner, sit by the fireplace in the lounge and order the inn’s signature Peartini, made with pear brandy, Cointreau, and lemon. In addition to the restaurant deal, readers who book a room at the inn midweek in April get 50 percent off the second night. Regular rates start at $125.
Bartlett Pear Inn, 28 S. Harrison St.; 410-770-3300.
Scossa is known for its high style and authentic Northern Italian cuisine. Chef Giancarlo Tondin—a native of the Italian Alps who opened Scossa after a long career with New York’s Cipriani—presents dishes such as baccalà (salted cod) with polenta and pistachios or risotto with shrimp and tomato. Start your evening by ordering one of Scossa’s dozen specialty martinis at the granite bar.
Scossa, 8 N. Washington St.; 410-822-2201.
Mason’s has been a family affair since 1966, when it began as a gourmet shop. It has since expanded into a 150-seat restaurant spanning two Victorian buildings. The dining rooms—one crimson, the other ochre—are charming, but if it’s warm outside, ask to be seated on the wraparound porch or garden patio, great spots to watch street life in Easton. Chef Daniel Pochron’s menu is varied—from seared tuna with wasabi cream on seaweed salad to New York strip steak with Malbec sauce.
Mason’s, 22 S. Harrison St.; 410-822-3204.
Inside the Inn at 202 Dover, the January arrival of chef Mark Knipp—who did a stint at the Inn at Little Washington—signaled a new approach to the menu, with entrées such as crisp-skinned rainbow trout. Owners Ron and Shelby Mitchell still welcome dinner guests as if they were family. Besides having access to the restaurant deal, readers who book one of the inn’s seven large suites in April get 50 percent off the second night. Regular room rates start at $279.
Peacock Restaurant & Lounge, 202 E. Dover St.; 866-450-7600.
New ownership has revived the grande dame of Easton hospitality, the Tidewater Inn. Its restaurant, now called Hunters’ Tavern, is a clubby spot that attracts both townies and visitors for comfort food such as mac-and-cheese casserole and chicken pot pie in a flaky crust. Cozy rooms have been updated with luxurious linens, flat-screen TVs, and Internet access. Besides the dining special, readers who book a room in April get a second night at 50 percent off the regular rate, which starts at $119.
Hunters’ Tavern, 101 E. Dover St.; 800-237-8775.