“We polled a cross section of food writers in the Chesapeake region, asking each to name their favorite restaurants in our readership area. There are busy people, eating their hearts out and spilling the beans in printed reports on what they find on frequent forays into the area’s fine dining establishments, casual bistros, waterfront hideaways, and ethnic eateries. They agreed to share their secrets on our condition of anonymity of individual choices, so we list their top 25 choices – including their personal comments and recommendations – in alphabetical order.
The votes show Michael Rork’s Town Dock restaurant as the most popular pick among our critics.
Rork is no stranger to accolades for his culinary talents, having won national recognition during the 8 years he spent as executive chef at the posh Harbor Court Hotel in Baltimore. In 1995, he gave up city life for the more relaxed style of the Eastern Shore and has created a delightful dining destination on the St. Michael’s Harbor. He is adept at roasting a rack of lamb as he is sauteeing a soft-shelled crab – and the wine list at the restaurant is exceptional.”
– Chesapeake Life, Jan/Feb 2000
The Washington Post
“With water views on three sides, the scene is magic: big sky, lush trees, calm waters.”
“This busy, friendly riverside restaurant is a preferred dining spot for locals.”
The James Beard Foundation
The James Beard Foundation was started in Mr. Beard’s Greenwich Village (NY) residence after his death. Mr. Beard was considered by many to be the father of “American” cuisine, among the first to recognize the unique styles that abound in this country.
The James Beard Foundation recognizes prominent American Chefs who are then invited to join the organization. Michael Rork was invited two times to prepare a Chesapeake Bay dinner at the Foundation. The dinner is attended by food critics and food lovers. The dinners were among the most successful events the Foundation has hosted. Food and wine purveyors donate their products so that they may be showcased by these talented chefs.
The Zagat Survey
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The Zagat Guide is a survey which is completed by restaurant patrons in different cities across the country. It is considered by many to be the most accurate indicator of a restaurant’s food and service as it is scored by many visitors on many visits (St. Michaels doesn’t have it’s own, however it is included in the Washington/Baltimore survey).
The restaurants are scored in three areas: food, decor, and service. The top score in any category is 30. 20-25 is considered very good to excellent. Town Dock scored 24 for food and 22 for service. Decor was rated 18 which is “good to very good”.
An excerpt: “…Devoted followers of Michael Rork (ex Hampton’s) head to his “bustling” waterside restaurant in St. Michaels for updated Eastern Shore classics and American favorites; it’s all served amid “casual” comforts inside and out on the “memorable deck.”