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Free Range

Catch of the Day

Landlocked Breezy Point Seafood Co. does summer seafood simply, perfectly

Photo: Sam Holden, License: N/A

Sam Holden

Breezy Point Seafood Co.

9501 Philadelphia Road, Rosedale, [410] 574-7222,

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Sitting in the cool air conditioning of Breezy Point Seafood Co., hemmed in by blue and green walls and cold cases of fish, it’s easy to imagine yourself a stone’s throw from water. The spotless, casual retail seafood store/carryout/dine-in restaurant wouldn’t be out of place at the beach or tucked into an eastern or western shore-side waterfront if only for the menu: an ocean of seafood, much of it local, prepared simply.

But instead, it’s a river of traffic outside that flows along Route 7 in a developing stretch between Rosedale proper and White Marsh, and the hum of a soda machine punctuated by the prattle of ESPN announcers from the dining area’s one television replaces the sound of waves slapping against a pier. There’s no view to speak of, unless you look down at your plate and take in the ample helping of seafood in the fried combination platter that spills over the edges of the dish or walk over to the counter to marvel at ice-submerged silvery rockfish and geometric ruby slabs of tuna.

Not surprisingly, dining at Breezy Point is simple and straightforward. You select your seafood, a mixture of favorite regional preparations, including codfish cakes and stuffed shrimp, as well as fish from farther afield, from the menu above the counter where you also place your order. (If you’re not a seafood lover, chicken is your only other option on the menu, aside from a small selection of side dishes such as grilled vegetables, French fries, and various salads.) Beyond that, your choices are few. Do you want your soft crab or shrimp salad as an entrée (which comes with two sides) or as a sandwich, with or without sides? Would you prefer your red snapper broiled, grilled, or fried, and with a sauce or spice rub? Do you want potato salad or macaroni salad (both are fine, but go for the macaroni, tangy with dill and chopped cucumber)? Bottled water or ice tea from behind the counter, or a can from the soda machine? That’s really as challenging as it gets. Minutes later, bottled drinks are delivered to your table, along with Styrofoam cups of ice, by courteous young men dressed head to toe in white. Meals arrive on plastic plates with real silverware.

Prices are more than reasonable at Breezy Point, but the deal of the evening is the fried combination platter. A mere $16.95 gets you two scallops, two butterflied fried shrimp, a pair of stuffed shrimp, a baseball-sized coddie, a fillet of flounder, and a crab cake (plus two sides). For an extra $3, the crab cake can be lump instead of backfin. It’s a monster of a meal, shareable for even less modest appetites. And the seafood is impeccably fresh, and though fried, remains crispy, not greasy. Both the coddie and the crab cakes could have spent a little more time in the deep fryer to firm up in the middle, but each hold their own.

Much has been made in these pages about Breezy Point’s crab cakes (they were named Best Crab Cakes by City Paper in 2010, and they’re CP contributing writer Henry Hong’s favorites), and they’re worth the hype: yellow with mustard, little filler, and sweet domestic crab. But I was even more smitten with the fried oysters ($11.95 as an entrée with two sides). On this visit, they were out of Virginia, large, briny, and tender. The oysters, too, are a generous portion, but most oyster lovers don’t like to share. (OK, so I don’t like to share.)

I imagine most folks hit Breezy Point for crab cakes or soft crabs or fried shrimp—casual fare that feels right in a dining room with a condiment counter and a heavy takeout business—but fish entrees are taken just as seriously. I chose rockfish ($9.95 as an entrée with two sides) and asked for the server’s suggestion for preparation—“grilled, with a Cajun rub”—and wasn’t disappointed. The fillet boasted no bones, no dryness, no excess of fake-tasting spices, just clean, flaky fish with a little kick. The rockfish would give me confidence on the next go-round to try, say, red snapper with Asian sesame sauce or tuna with spicy Thai. On a cooler day, I’d also give either one of the crab soups a try.

Breezy Point does a robust steamed crab business in season and sells its crab cakes mail order. And while it may seem like mail order might be the fastest way to get Breezy Point crab cakes if you don’t live on the east side of town, consider the lures of a trip across Philadelphia Road. Once you cross over the Beltway, you can stop for sausages at Binkert’s Meats, baked goods at Yia Yia’s Bakery, have dinner at Breezy Point, and top it all off with a trip to IKEA, just minutes down the road. Are you ready for the county?

Breezy Point Seafood Company is open seven days a week.

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