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Dining Out: West River view, ambiance, crabs are a '10'; menu is a '5' at Thursday's Steak and Crabs

The view, ambiance and ready-to-crack crabs are what sells Thursday's Steak and Crab House. See the photos.

"Take a left into Galesville," Bluesman and local south county boy Dean Rosenthal sings in his song of the same name. The lyrics provide directions to the tiny West River hamlet, taking drivers down Route 2 to Muddy Creek Road. But even if you're coming by boat - which a lot of folks do during the summer months — you'll still want to "Take a left into Galesville."

After a gorgeous Sunday afternoon of boating on the Bay, that's just what we did; we veered left into Galesville where the West and Rhode rivers meet, and sailed over to Thursday's Steak and Crab House. For a boater looking for food and drink, Thursday's is a no-brainer choice. They offer fantastic docking space with lots of slips available for boats up and over 40 feet long, and even provide dock hands on the weekends to help you tie up.

From the water, Thursday's vintage is unmistakable. They might call it a steak and crab house, but at heart it's a good old-fashioned crab shack: unpretentious, proud of its roots and nothing fancy. The wooden structure is weathered and worn with a blue shaded tin roof over the deck. A Heavy Seas Beer promotional banner hangs over the outer walls of the Tiki bar like a pirate flag announcing the establishment's unashamed beer-centricity. On warm days, people pack into picnic tables on the deck, where the water views are phenomenal, the pitchers of brew are flowing and hot steamed crabs are on the menu.

With dockage built around all three sides of the restaurant's dining deck, we easily found a slip and gave our name at the door. The seating is first come, first serve, but you can wait for tables at the small outdoor bar or the handsome larger bar located at the rear of the indoor dining room. The dining room décor is minimal at best, but it is air-conditioned, has decent views of the water and often has tables immediately available. If you want to fully partake of the of the on-the-water crab house experience, it's worth waiting for an outdoor table.

After only about fifteen minutes, our table on the deck was ready - mostly in the shade, partly in the sun and backed up to the rollicking bar. Dillon, our server, was friendly and knowledgeable. When one diner ordered a specific brand of rum for his Pina Colada ($5.50), Dillon explained it came pre-mixed with standard liquor but you could order an additional "floater" shot ($6) poured in with the rum of choice. Done.

Whenever I see a large and long menu, I get nervous. Thursday's menu offers a dizzying array of food - twenty appetizers alone - plus reams of sandwiches, soup and salads, entrees, seafood, crabs and lunch items.

The Old Bay Chicken Wings ($10) were a good choice to begin the meal. Crispy and of good-size, with moist meat, the wings were coated with a robust dusting of Old Bay. When asked if we wanted blue cheese or ranch dressing, I asked if I could get both. Dillon was happy to oblige, but neglected to tell me they charge $1 for the extra sauce. Turned out the wings were fine without any accompaniment.

The Rockfish fingers ($9) needed the tartar sauce. They tasted satisfactorily fishy, yet were shaped more like triangular filets than fingers, and coated with an indistinguishable fried crust.

We didn't see any steaks being served, and no one in our party was in the mood for a heavy dinner. However, all around us, steaming piles of crab were being poured onto tables covered with that familiar brown paper. Market priced daily, the crabs that day consisted of # 1's for $65 a dozen, or $35 for a half-dozen). Next to us, visitors from Washington were enjoying their crabs along with fresh corn-on-the-cob. Jaded Bay dwellers that we are, we just weren't up for the work of pulling apart crabs that day.

But of course there's that menu, with miles of food on it, which means diners can choose just about anything that meets their fancy. My husband enjoyed the hearty cup of Maryland crab soup ($6) but picked at his lettuce-heavy Dinner Salad ($4). It was plain but fresh, except for a side garnish of mushrooms well past their prime.

The Broiled Seafood Platter ($27), sported haddock that tasted as if it had been frozen and rubbery, overcooked scallops. An "all backfin" crab cake was coated in a thick bready crust and packed with mostly stringy crab.

The grilled chicken in the Chicken Fajita Wrap ($12) was tasty and the sandwich big enough to share. The Fried Oyster Platter ($23) remained almost untouched. The crust was crunchy, however the insides were bland and mealy with not much oyster taste.

But unless you are in the mood for crab cracking, you do not come to Thursday's for the food. You come for the water, for that 180 degree view of one of most beautiful rivers on the Bay. You come for the raucous laughter emanating from the the Tiki Hut from guys back from a day of fishing. You come if have a good boat and a good dog, because Thursday welcomes canines of all sorts. And, you come because places like this are a part of what makes being on the Chesapeake Bay so special.

So, take a left into Galesville. Get a pitcher of beer and some crabs. Because water changes everything, and, at Thursday's, its location, location, location.

Thursday's Steak and Crab House:

WHERE: 4851 Riverside Drive, Galesville

PHONE: 410-867-7200

WEB SITE: www.facebook.com/thursdaysgalesville

SUMMER HOURS: Sunday - Thursdays 11 am – 10 pm

Friday and Saturday: 11 am – 11 pm

Open year round. Hours change with season.

CHEFS: No Executive Chefs

FIRST COURSES: $8.50 - $13

SANDWICHES: $10- $15

MAIN COURSES: $13- $29 (Market Price for Crabs)

RESERVATIONS: No

CREDIT CARDS: All major cards

ACCESSIBILITY: Yes

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