Best Of…Fresh Tuna
The White Marlin Open is upon us, and we at ShoreBread love the week-long fishing frenzy. Gathering with the masses at Harbor Island for the weigh-ins is a definitive high-point of summer, and as seafood enthusiasts, we can typically be found patiently (or impatiently) waiting in line for one of Reel Inn’s impossibly fresh tuna steak sandwiches. In honor of Marlin Week, this week’s ‘Best Of’ round-up features a few of our favorite places to sink your teeth into a a fresh piece of tuna. Beyond Reel Inn’s must-have tuna steak sandwiches there are tuna burgers at The Abbey Burger, tuna tacos at Tequila Mockingbird, and tuna entrees for days. Take a look at this week’s fresh catches…
9301 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD
We love finding any excuse to stop by Liquid Assets, whether it’s for the extensive wine lists, the insanely good cocktails, or the sinful desserts. And now, we can add fresh tuna to that list. We’ll start with the tuna tartare. If you didn’t know, tartare means finely chopped and served raw. If you don’t like raw tuna, well, you should. It’s a melt-in-your mouth kind of dish. The tuna tartare at Liquid Assets is paired with a chili cucumber ponzu and tortilla chips for scooping. Ahi tuna is available as well, arriving seared, with cabbage, carrots, edamame and basmati rice. There’s also the smoked tuna melt to consider – smoked tuna is tucked between two thick slices of ciabatta bread with red onions, fire-roasted tomatoes, arugula, cornichons and Cabot cheddar – definitely fancier than your standard diner-style tuna melt.
12601 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD
Burger lovers rejoiced earlier this summer when the Abbey Burger opened its doors in uptown Ocean City. While we’re not short on great burgers in Ocean City, the Abbey Burger is a veritable burger bistro. With burger options ranging from turkey to lamb to kangaroo, it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about crafting delicious burgers. Special to the Ocean City location is the tuna burger. A recent trip to the Abbey Burger yielded a whopping Ahi tuna burger, topped with a fried egg and a slathering of spicy chili mayo. A two-hander for sure.
Harbor Island Marina – 14th Street bayside, Ocean City, MD
The Reel Inn is essentially the epicenter of the White Marlin Open. Located in Harbor Island, just steps from the nightly weigh-ins, it’s no wonder that the freshest catches end up in the Reel Inn kitchens. For over two decades, the Reel Inn has been serving their now famous marinated tuna sandwiches, and since you can’t enjoy the Reel Inn year-round, we suggest acting now. The Reel Inn will serve thousands of tuna sandwiches next week, and we plan on biting into at least one…let’s be honest we will be devouring their tuna sandwiches all week long.
700 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island, DE
New to Fenwick Island this year is the Ropewalk Tavern, and while we originally stopped in for the oysters, we certainly weren’t disappointed with the menu items. Two favorites so far are the tuna Carpaccio – seared tuna with pickled veggies, Yuzu glaze and cucumber wasabi aioli – and the Thai noodles with Ahi tuna. The Thai noodles are chilled, tossed with a Thai peanut sauce and topped with sesame-crusted Ahi tuna, crunchy julienne veggies and pea shoots. Its Thai cuisine meets Eastern Shore cuisine. Of course slurping down oysters is a necessary part of the trip. We’re partial to the brininess of the Malpeques or the more local Chincoteagues.
301 Rehoboth Avenue, Rehoboth Beach, DE
When we think fresh tuna, we think sushi, be it sashimi or maki, and when we want fresh sushi in Rehoboth, we head straight to Cultured Pearl. For starters, there are the killer specials like the Summer Monday’s Late Nite Sushi Special. For $15, enjoy miso soup, edamame and your choice of three rolls. The special runs from 10:30pm to 12:30am every Monday night. Fresh tuna options are also available anytime. Seared tuna is lightly dusted and flash fried and served with a brown sugar chili garlic sauce. Tuna tartare is prepared fresh and made to order with sushi grade tuna that’s tossed with balsamic soy, jalapenos, capers, shallots, garlic, avocado and wonton crisps. For sushi rolls, there’s any number of tuna concoctions to choose from, like the Hawaiian, with spicy tuna, pineapple and cucumber or the Cultured Pearl, a roll-up of tempura scallops, tuna, avocado, cream cheese, cucumber and spicy mayo.
4408 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD
Belly Busters is the epitome of local seafood shacks. Known for the steamed crabs, overstuffed subs, and fish tacos, Belly Busters is a local’s haven and a tourist’s dream. Between the fair pricing, pitchers of draft beers, outside seating, and delivery option, it’s no wonder the surf shack is always booming during the summer. A local favorite is the blackened tuna wrap – blackened tuna is tucked into a tomato wrap with lettuce and tomato and served with a side of house made crazy Cajun sauce. You’ll quickly find yourself dipping your fries, chips, or whatever you can get your hands on into the sauce…it’s that good.
The Shark on the Harbor
12924 Sunset Avenue, Ocean City, MD
For many, it’s the outstanding views of the harbor that draw them to the Shark, but it’s the food that keeps locals and visitors coming back again and again. The Shark on the Harbor is consistently busy during the summer months and rightfully so considering the fresh ingredients and inventive dishes. The specials change daily so there’s always something new to try. Coming out of the kitchen today is wasabi tuna, served blackened and rare with coconut wasabi, pineapple foam, tempura pineapple, and pickled ginger. Check the website daily for specials, or just stop on in…you won’t be disappointed.
213 North Fruitland Blvd. Salisbury, MD
Let’s be honest, one doesn’t immediately think “globally influenced cuisine” when thinking of Fruitland, Maryland. But tucked away in Fruitland is an award-winning restaurant that takes conventional Chesapeake Bay fare, and turns it on its head. Chef Jim Hughes cooked all over the world before settling here on the Eastern Shore. Each night, Chef Hughes takes local ingredients (oftentimes straight from the on-site garden) and creates area dishes with a global influence. Tuna is available as either an appetizer or an entree. The appetizer features fresh, sushi-grade tuna, prepared creatively depending on the day. For the main course, Chef Hughes serves a filet mignon of rare tuna. Tuna arrives artfully displayed and crusted with black peppercorns, along with grilled artichoke, sauteed spinach and root vegetables. Equal to the taste is the presentation. We suggest seeing and tasting for yourself.
12919 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD
For a Mexican-inspired take on fresh tuna, Tequila Mockingbird is the place to be. Beyond the dangerously delicious margaritas are several terrific tuna dishes. For appetizers, opt for the Juan Ton Tacos. What arrives are four crunchy wonton tacos stuffed with sashimi tuna, mango slaw, and a drizzling of wasabi cream sauce. There’s also grilled tuna tacos – crunchy or soft – as well as blackened tuna quesadillas. For entrees, think Tropic of Tuna – twin grilled tuna steaks accompanied by Tequila’s house made, fresh tropical salsa. Throw in chips and a heaping bowl of guacamole and you’ll be in a legitimate food coma.
105 64th Street, Ocean City, MD
Dead Freddies Island Grill is one of those restaurants that parents say a silent pray for. With a separate play area for children, it’s the perfect place to go with the whole family. Parents can enjoy a tasty libation and relax after a day in the sun while kids get to play in the nearby pirate ship – everyone wins. For the tuna lover, beware, there’s more than one spicy tuna option on the menu. The tuna wrap and tuna sandwich are served medium rare, grilled or blackened, with a wasabi mayo spread that will undoubtedly clear your sinuses. For a heartier option, there’s the blackened tuna steak entree – a blackened center cut tuna served medium rare and topped with lemon butter and served over wasabi mashed potatoes or rice pilaf and garnished with scallions and tomatoes.