69 West St.
Annapolis, MD 21401
Cuisines: Modern, American
Price Range: Moderate
Bison satay; spinach-and-mozzarella-stuffed pepper; heirloom tomato salad; Maryland crab dip; spring rolls with pulled pork; barbecue-duck flatbread; seafood stew.
Starters, $5 to $12; main courses, $11 to $14.
Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.
Given the preponderance of small-plates restaurants in the area, what makes this lounge/cafe special? To find out, try the Manhattan made with Wild Turkey and honeycomb—the best of an impressive list of cocktails—and then work your way through the eclectic menu, from juicy skewers of bison satay to crunchy rockfish “sticks” to tuna tartare punched up with soy, sesame, and Sriracha.
The restaurant’s devotion to detail is manifest in its relationship with local purveyors—18 farms supply the meats and produce. You see it, too, in something as basic as the sparkling water—diners dispense it themselves from a supply of vintage seltzer chargers. The obvious affection of the young staff for the restaurant’s mission translates into caring and informed service.
A few things could use fixing: The wine list isn’t in league with the cocktail menu, and dessert ends the meal with a whimper.
Also good: Barbecue-duck flatbread; crab dip; fish stew; stuffed green peppers with tomato sauce.
Open daily for dinner. Moderate.