Harrison's: The food rivals the great view


One of the best reasons to go to Harrison's Harbor Watch is the view. The multilevel restaurant boasts tall windows that overlook the Ocean City inlet and Assateague Island. Even if you're seated on the boardwalk side of the restaurant, as we were, the windows offer a great place to people-watch. I counted 11 people posing for snapshots with the giant anchor at the O.C. Lifesaving Station Museum during our dinner.

The other reason to visit Harrison's Harbor Watch is the seafood. A large chalkboard at the entrance to the dining room lets visitors know immediately what's fresh in the kitchen each evening.

The back of the Harbor Watch menu offers a lengthy pledge by Harrison's that the food is fresh and healthfully prepared, and we found that they kept their word with one exception, which we'll talk about in a minute.

We started with Harrison's Seafood Chowder ($2.95), a creamy mixture of shrimp,clams,scallops and big,fresh vegetables. The chef also did something we often do ourselves with seafood chowder:grind fresh pepper into it. It's a great addition.

Our other appetizer was a plate of six Cheddar-and-seafood-topped potato skins ($4.75), and it tipped us to what would be our only disappointment with the Harbor Watch:The potato halves were afloat in grease. Drained on a napkin,they were OK.

Greasiness in a fried food like potato skins isn't really surprising. We were more discouraged about the golden rings of grease surrounding our grilled entrees,stuffed flounder ($15.50)and chicken Chesapeake ($14.95). That aside,both of these main dishes were tasty and satisfying.

Again,we liked the fact that the chef at Harrison's Harbor Watch isn't afraid of strong seasonings. Our two fresh flounder filets were topped by a ball of crab imperial that was -- deliciously,in our opinion -- heavy on the spicy mustard. The flounder was accompanied by a large side salad with terrific buttermilk peppercorn dressing and steamed green beans that were as fresh as the seafood.

The chicken Chesapeake was a large boneless breast topped by Virginia-baked ham,huge lumps of crab and a layer of Swiss cheese. This was another instance where the freshness of the ingredients seemed to make a delicious difference.

Harrison's Harbor Watch

Boardwalk at the inlet, 289-5121.

Hours: Raw bar 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; dining room 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Credit cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa.

Reservations: Accepted.

Features: Seafood and raw bar.

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