As they cross the Spa Creek Bridge and spot the bright-red exterior of the Carrol's Creek Cafe, fans of the restaurant know that they're just a few steps away from a delicious bounty of bay treasures. Planted along the famous restaurant row in the Eastport section of Annapolis, Carrol's Creek overlooks a bustling dock and the city's waters. Such a location hints at the restaurant's specialties, which include Maryland cream of crab soup and herb-encrusted rockfish fillets served over sun-dried tomato pesto risotto. An extensive selection of wine, craft beer, and cocktails complements the restaurant's new-American spread. The views aren't bad, either, since diners can peer out into the bay and watch the sail boats play round after round of Marco Polo.
A charming, two-story octagonal structure that used to be a light house rests above the waters of a harbor on Chesapeake Bay, drawing in visitors with the sounds of laughter and live music on weekends and during live Jazz brunch, as well as the scents of seasonal seafood and gourmet regional cuisine. Sam's executive chef Jim Wilder hitches the menu to the changing seasons to create an ever-changing slate of contemporary American seafood infused with contemporary influences. Guests make pilgrimages by land or by water to sample the restaurant's Sunday brunches of signature crab benedict or lobster mac and cheese, or to savor dinners of fresh Maryland rockfish, lobster rolls, and roasted duck breast.
Sips of wines and nibbles of Maryland crab cakes pair with the live strums of acoustic guitars. Inside, walls decorated with rustic wine crates, a full-service bar, and waterfront windows frame each forkful with an elegant, yet approachable surrounding.
For more than 25 years, French-born chef Jean-Louis Evennou has filled Caf? Normandie with Gallic cuisine peppered with flavors from the Eastern seaboard. A chef since the age of 13, Evennou seasons endive salad with strong roquefort cheese and rabbit with tangy dijon sauce and simmers beef bourguignon in another rich sauce. Dinners also include American-inspired recipes such as crab soup with Maryland vegetables, as well as housemade pastries and cr?me caramel.
In 2008, Caf? Normandie was certified as a sustainable steward by the city of Annapolis for its eco-friendly initiatives. The restaurant follows intensive composting and recycling guidelines; in addition, it stocks biodegradable carry-out gear and serves its meals on tabletops made of marble salvaged from the ruins of the Louvre.