By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
Background CheckPeople seem to have trouble finding Bayville even with their Hagstrom's out. This is okay with Bayvillagers. Outsiders only seem to come up here for The Breakers and Steve's Pier One. And only when the sun is out.
What I Was ThinkingAnother hellaciously hot Sunday. Big brown mutant jellyfish kept us out of the ocean at Tobay. Like a true outsider, I thought Bayville would be the perfect place to eat outside. Not that day. The only way I was eating outside was if they put the table and chairs in the water.
Casing The JointTwo good-sized, well-lit rooms, with about 15 tables each. A barroom with three tables and one of those greenhouse extensions faced a waterfront patio with eight tables under umbrellas. In the main room there's a big sign that reads "On The Waterfront" just in case you forget where you are. There was no indication that Rod Steiger is hanging from a meat-hook in back.
What You Can GetFour large servings of delicious bruscetta were whisked to the table. They provided a delicious base for what was to come. They call this place an American grill, which, after witnessing many overweight fellow Americans in my travels, means overly large portions. Quantity without quality equals the buffet at Sizzler. Here the presentations are pleasing without being too nouvelle or too tall. What we tasted at On the Waterfront was delicious and seemed to be carefully thought out.
The big menu includes six pastas, steaks, chicken, seafood and offerings from a raw bar. Wraps, sandwiches and burgers for under 10 bucks can feed two. Unless you're a stevedore with a large appetite from lifting bales and toting barges on the docks, you'll have trouble finishing off an appetizer and entrée here.
What We Got To StartSeñor Alberto's stuffed baked clams ($8) show that Mr. Albert sure doesn't fool around with puny clams. These were four hefty quahogs with a bread stuffing flecked with celery and chunks of clams. Delicious and very filling for an appetizer.
The duck fajitas ($9) were too good to be entrusted to the patron to combine at the table. Oven-roasted julienne duck with barbecued mushrooms, onions, peppers and Old El Paso pepperjack cheese in a molé sauce arrived wrapped and ready to eat. Three hefty fajitas were enough for sharing. For the entrée version I imagine they toss in a few more fajitas to the bruisers that serve as the appetizer. Is this a great country or what?
Chesapeake Bay pan-seared crab cakes ($9) were the size of a large burger. After swimming around in the water across the street, I wasn't disappointed to eat shellfish from Maryland. I knew who had been in this water.
Further ForeplayButternut squash soup ($4.75), a concoction that mixes in pumpkin and cinnamon, was a sweet stand-out. The Mediterranean salad ($6.50) can easily feed two.
The Main EventsSalmon and shrimp adriatico ($18.50), a grilled salmon steak covered with a sauté of sliced garlic, scallions, capers and plum tomatoes in a balsamic vinaigrette, came with four big shrimp. Smoked mozzarella pasta ($15) was delectable homemade ravioli with sweet Italian sausage, broccoli rabe, capers, black olives and cherry tomatoes in a light roasted garlic white wine sauce. They both could feed you and your brother but may not be quite enough for you and, say, your brother-in-law.
Tuscan chicken focaccia sandwich ($9.95) was grilled chicken with mozzarella and grilled veggies under a drizzle of olive oil. Don't try picking it up until it cools a bit. I learned this the hard way.
What Vegetarians Can EatPortabella mushrooms, bow-tie pasta, rigatoni, butternut squash soup and Tuscan bread with veggies could make even your greenest friends feel like they fit in. But they will eventually have to leave and return to their lives of bitterness and despair.
Cavity EnablersThe vanilla mousse with raspberry sauce and chocolate crust was exquisite. You could also get fat on the whiskey-bread pudding, tiramisu, cheesecake, flan and strawberry shortcake, Tiny.
What It'll CostKnowing that all dishes are super-sized, share every dish and you may get away for $15 each for one appetizer and two entrees. Or maybe you should just travel in a larger group.