Key lime pie ($4.99) was, unsurprisingly, the house dessert specialty. Marlin and Ray's sweet-tart version, topped with an airy pile of whipped cream and tiny tendrils of lime zest, was a good one.

But the blondie sundae ($4.99), a warm chocolate chip cookie-bar topped with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, was even better. The sundae wasn't island-centric, but it was tasty and comforting.

Considering the menu, the restaurant's decorators showed enormous restraint. They could easily have gone full "Margaritaville" on the interior. Instead, they opted for fishing-themed artwork in beachy, but muted, colors, checked tablecloths, and a few strands of festive cafe lights. The effect was tastefully Floridian, not over the top. Miami, without the vice.

But with fruity drinks and capably prepared seafood, Marlin and Ray's is a place that even Crockett and Tubbs would love.

Marlin and Ray's Seafood and Sunsets

Back story: The first Maryland outpost of a small national chain, Marlin and Ray's Seafood and Sunsets opened in Bel Air in early October. The restaurant's casual vibe and satisfying takes on island dishes make for a fun, beachy evening.

Parking: Lot on both sides of restaurant

Signature dish: "Marlin's Sizzle" is a trio of nicely cooked seafood — sweet grilled shrimp, flaky and spicy blackened tilapia, and a simple crab cake. Paired with crunchy onion rings and served with a side of bright mango salsa, the Sizzle is a satisfying seafood dinner.

Where: 593 Baltimore Pike, Bel Air

Contact: 410-638-0903;

Open: Monday-Friday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Credit cards: All major

Reservations: Accepted

Rating: 2 stars

[Key: 5 stars: Superlative; 4 stars: Excellent; 3 stars: Very Good; 2 stars: Good; 1 star: Promising]