I’ll admit, I’d never heard of Choptank until they were recently featured on Blackboard Eats (BBE). It’s a decent-sized space on Bleecker, with the main seating area situated in a room to the left of the bar area. Their special was especially generous in the context of other BBE offers – $38 for a three course meal, each course paired with your choice of a red or white wine or beer. You could even mix choose different types with each course. I was impressed that the wines they ultimately brought out were off of their regular wine listing and weren’t just a house wine. Upon being seated, we were also served a basket of house made potato chips, heavily seasoned with Old Bay. I like things spicy, so I loved this, but can see how some people would find it to be on the extreme side.
To start, I had their Classic Maryland Crab dip. I expected a small bowl of the dip and was surprised to see the large oblong dish that appeared at the table. There was easily enough dip for three people. The crab, white cheddar, and cream cheese blended so well together that, save the layer of melted cheese on the top, it was impossible to distinguish the individual ingredients. My friend had the Rock Shrimp Taco, which was served with a cumin-lime slaw. She later confessed she actually liked this better than her main course. It was on the smaller side though – so probably not the best of choices if you are planning to share (though from what she said, I don’t think you’d be wanting to share anyhow). The other option was their take on a corn dog, which sounded interesting, but the least enticing of the three.
For our main course, we had a choice of their burger, fried chicken, the skate wing, or Arctic char. I decided I had to try their burger, especially once they confirmed it was roughly 6 ounces and wasn’t one of those massive ones I’ve found common in Manhattan. The Choptank Burger was served with pickled pepper mayonnaise, aged Wisconsin cheddar, bacon jam, and fries. You might say this is an odd selection for someone who rarely eats red meat, especially seeing as Choptank is known for their seafood. I’ll confess, it was in part my lack of desire to try skate and part intrigue to check out their bacon jam. I found the fries though to be very bland and instead, ate the remainder of the Old Bay chips. My friend ordered their fried chicken, which was served with a black pepper honey. She liked the honey, but found the chicken to be nothing special.
For dessert, there were three options. There was a house made vanilla ice cream. They also had their Berger Cookie, which was fudge slathered on shortbread. I learned after I got home that that was one of their more famous offerings. I don’t know if it woudl have been able to beat out option number three – their homemade cheesecake. I appreciated our server’s detailed explanation. Instead of a traditional cheesecake which is prepared ahead, chilled extensively, and takes on a more gelatinous consistency, theirs is prepared fresh when ordered. It’s more soufflé – very light, though not overlooking the essential element I love the most … cream cheese. The crust had been flipped, so the top was instead dusted with a thin line of oats and graham crackers. It was served with a side of blood orange syrup, so you could add as much or as little as you liked. While I love cheesecake, I find it oftentimes too rich and heavy. No problem here. The syrup was a nice option, allowing you to occasionally add a bit of extra flavor as you saw fit. This course was paired with a port (Keo, St. John Commanderia), not too sweet as to compete with the alight sweetness of the cheesecake.
I’d like to go back and try the Rock Shrimp tacos at the bar, and finish off again with the perfect cheesecake/port combination… Oh that cheesecake!!
Choptank – 308 Bleeker Street (at Grove) – 212.675.2009