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Conrad's Seafood Restaurant ... A Great New Catch in Perry Hall

A view of the bar at the new Conrad's Seafood Restaurant in Perry Hall, Maryland.
A view of the bar at the new Conrad's Seafood Restaurant in Perry Hall, Maryland.

I had the opportunity to spend a pleasant evening out with my wife during this past weekend.  Given some of the positive buzz I had heard around town about the new Conrad's Seafood Restaurant, I thought we should give it a try.  I am happy to say that we did, and both of us thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

We arrived a bit before six in the evening on Saturday and spent a few moments in the bar, while waiting for our table to be ready.  On the basis of the crowd at the bar, it was obvious that a lot of folks had the same idea that my wife and I had.  Positively, the bar staff was prompt and attentive, serving up our drinks and pre-meal raw bar selections in short order.  I particularly enjoyed my signature cocktail -- a mint julep-esque concoction known as the Baybilly.

I have been known to be fussy about my raw bar selections, and was pleased with both the variety of choices and the reasonable prices we found at Conrad's.  I got a half-dozen raw oysters -- two Chincoteagues from Virginia, two Blue Points from Long Island, New York, and two Summersides, native to Prince Edward Isle, Canada.  The oysters themselves were all plump and satisfying, with each having a slightly different flavor profile. 

After about twenty minutes of socializing with fellow diners at the bar, my wife and I were seated in the front dining room.  There are two dining rooms on the main floor, ours being the smaller and more intimate of the two.  The décor in both is a dramatic improvement over what had been the former Surf City Bar and Grill.  There is even an open-air terrace, which I am sure will be very popular once we get to the warmer part of the year.

We started with the seared scallop appetizer, which consisted of four scallops served over a delicate lima bean hash, with pancetta (a special Italian bacon), and drizzled with a champagne-based beurre blanc sauce.  If you don't know it, scallops are hard to cook properly -- in the hands of an inexperienced chef they are often too chewy when underdone or can end up a solid as hockey pucks when overdone.  Thankfully for us, the folks at Conrad's got them just right when we were there!

For dinner, I opted for the shrimp and grits, while my wife selected the whole pan seared sea bass.  Both were very tasty.  For my dish, six large grilled shrimp were served over a bed of grits, mixed with pancetta, and Vermont cheddar cheese.  The meal had a satisfying quality, and reminded me of similar meals I have had in the low country of South Carolina.

My wife's sea bass was quite the production.  When the folks at Conrad's say whole sea bass, you better believe it.  A pretty sizeable whole bass -- head, fins, and tail -- was served over a bed of wild mushroom fregola (fregola is a type of pasta from Sardinia, which is quite similar to cous cous), lima beans, and a tomato basil buerre blanc sauce.  The sea bass was flavorful, and flaked nicely away from the bones for the most part.  While neither of us had room for dessert, we did take a look at the dessert case, which had numerous home-made selections to choose from.

Overall, my wife and I really enjoyed our evening at Conrad's Seafood Restaurant.  Hopefully in the future, given that the Conrad's family of restaurants also includes a seafood market, we could expect to see a special "catch of the day" or some periodic chef's specials that could take advantage of seasonal seafood selections that come into the market.  Since there hasn't really been an upscale seafood restaurant in Perry Hall for as long as I can remember, I can certainly say that the arrival of Conrad's has been a welcome occasion.

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Honeygo Hal February 03, 2014 at 02:16 PM
My wife & I went there for lunch on Saturday. I had a great Maryland Crab Soup along with a tasty Conrads Salad. My wife had a broiled crabcake sandwich. The food was great and the service excellent. I have 2 comments: They are a bit pricey; and IMHO if you have a seafood restaurant in the Baltimore area you should have things like fried oysters on the menu.
Jeffrey Smith February 03, 2014 at 02:24 PM
Good suggestion! I assume that once the restaurant has been open longer and gets settled that they would make some additions to the menu. That was kind of why I suggested having specials, so as to take advantage of unique offerings, with oyster dishes being a good seasonal choice!!
BK February 03, 2014 at 07:58 PM
"Since there hasn't really been an upscale seafood restaurant in Perry Hall for as long as I can remember" Lib's Raw Bar & Grille opened @ Honeygo Shopping Center about 2 months ago
Jeffrey Smith February 03, 2014 at 08:04 PM
Lib's Grill is excellent as well, but I don't think of them as principally a seafood restaurant ... I have been to Lib's twice and am equally impressed by their offerings!! In any event, it's nice to have new, upscale choices in Perry Hall.
Shawn Rodeffer February 03, 2014 at 09:38 PM
Out of curiosity, where are people parking for Conrad's? Doesn't look like there is much parking?
Honeygo Hal February 04, 2014 at 09:08 AM
I think they hired a puzzle designer for the parking lot. There is one area on the side that is not a parking space, and if a car parks there other cars in the back lot could be blocked in. Conrad's needs to put yellow zebra stripes in that area.
Mike Pierce February 04, 2014 at 10:06 AM
Shawn, about the parking. The County, in all its idiocy, granted them a variance to have only 76 parking spaces instead of the 189 that is required based on the size of the building and 10 neighbors on Kahlston Rd said they did not oppose the variance. They'll be sorry.
toni torsch February 04, 2014 at 12:38 PM
3 of us also stopped in the bar on 2/2. The parking was easy at 2pm and the atmosphere was very nice. Our waiter did come to our table to check on us several times. The $8 overpriced bloody mary was something I'd expect to get from someone who didn't know anything about drinks. The 2 olives & pickle slice were served on a plate. Come on folks, really, an 8 dollar bm, in Perry Hall!? The fried calamari had a really good flavor until I got to the middle and it was raw. The burger was ok, but only 1 to choose. I had such high hopes. Probably won't be returning.
Shawn Rodeffer February 05, 2014 at 11:01 AM
I spoke with a friend of mine that lives a few houses up from Conrads and no one ever spoke to the neighbors about the parking. If they had, im sure they would have relayed the parking problems they had with Surf City, which are exacly the same as now.
David Gnibus February 16, 2014 at 10:21 PM
So don't get me wrong....great place.....A few things, one happy hour specials are just not there. Could go other places in the area and get better deals. You have to draw in your customers.....Second, great food, but a bit pricey. My steak was better than the steak I got at outbacks and that is saying a lot.
Voter February 18, 2014 at 09:08 AM
We called inquiring about "Happy Hour" and were informed that they offer NO FOOD specials whatsoever for Happy Hour. They don't stand a chance of competing with Lib's Grill, Bateman's, Mo's etc., which all offer BOTH food and drink specials during Happy Hour. As far as parking, a friend said they have "free" valet parking , but it is an extremely well kept secret. Geez, if you offer it, they should have a big banner declaring it, since the parking is big complaint about this location. Don't go there thinking you can park on the residential street, it is now marked with no parking or permit parking for residents only, and you WILL get a ticket or get towed.
Neal Baker February 18, 2014 at 01:25 PM
I'll stick with Desanti's.
John February 28, 2014 at 05:02 PM
Hope to give it a try soon. Their food at Ripken Stadium is very good!
Angela Miller February 28, 2014 at 06:17 PM
Bring lots of $$$$. Way too overpriced.

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