Zagat: 7 Reasons to Drive to Easton

7 Reasons to Drive to Easton

By Rina Rapuano | January 26, 2016

Now that Andrew Evans’ BBQ Joint can be found in DC’s Union Market, there's no need to get in the car for the 1.5-hour hike to Easton just to taste his amazing smoked meats. But there are plenty of other compelling reasons to check out this gateway town to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Don’t let the quaint, yesteryear look of the Downtown area fool you — the dining options here are actually quite sophisticated. Small and relaxed, strolling the streets of Easton is the perfect way to shake off a particularly tough work week. Consider this your official excuse for a weekend road trip.

  • Brasserie Brightwell
    Locals love this casual French spot that serves french fries with just about everything and is known for its outstanding mussels, steaks and oyster dishes — including oysters on the half shell plus fried, roasted and wood-grilled. Some nights bring live music, and Sundays feature a new blue-plate special that might be a chicken and biscuit pie, soup or salad, side and glass of wine — a great deal priced at $25. Be sure to check out the beer selection, which offers 10 seasonal craft brews on draft, a handful of large-format options and several trendy cans and bottles.

    206 N. Washington St.; 410-819-3838

The Mason family opened this spot in 1966 and sold it to the Pascal family in 2014, ushering in a new era for the beloved local spot while thankfully keeping the mom-and-pop feel. Executive chef David Hayes’ menu includes such locally inspired dishes as cream of crab soup, crab dip and baked local oysters along with crowd-pleasers like bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin and shrimp and grits. There’s also a new bar area called Sticks & Stones, which has a separate menu of wood-fired flatbreads, dips and elevated bar food.

22 S. Harrison St.; 410-822-3204

Bartlett Pear Inn
Chef Jordan Lloyd cooked in such kitchens as Citronelle and Per Se before returning to his hometown of Easton with his wife, Alice, to run this charming inn as a team. On the menu, you might find a breakfast-for-dinner starter like truffled scrambled eggs and such entrees as veal chop crépinette with foie gras and sweetbreads. You can also choose three-course ($38), five-course ($75) or seven-course ($95) tasting menus, or eat at the bar, where you’ll find half portions for half the price. Note that it’s closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

28 S. Harrison St.; 410-770-3300

Out of the Fire
This is one of those places that’s perfect for a tough-to-please crowd. For picky eaters, there are pizzas that range from basic margherita to one topped with maitake mushrooms, Castelvetrano olives and goat cheese. For everyone else, the global menu trots from a Basque seafood stew to a spicy shrimp curry to pappardelle with mushrooms, pecans, ricotta and honey. The extensive selection of organic spirits fits with the restaurant’s mission of “doing good while doing well.”

22 Goldsborough St.; 410-770-4777

Peacock Restaurant & Lounge
If you’re missing the white-tablecloth dining rooms of days past, this restaurant inside the Inn at 202 Dover is your kind of place. The space is old-school, but the historic hotel restaurant does its best to make it feel less stuffy. You’ll find dishes as classic as the decor, with options like foie gras torchon with rhubarb-apple chutney or butter-poached lobster with risotto and velouté. Reserve a spot for the traditional afternoon tea held Thursdays at 3 PM.

202 E. Dover St.; 410-819-8007

Scossa Restaurant
Reservations are strongly recommended for this longtime Northern Italian restaurant, no matter which day it is. It’s that popular. It’s no surprise that chef-owner Giancarlo Tondin has a long history of making diners happy — starting with his first gig at Harry’s Bar Restaurant in Venice, a tony appointment to The Rainbow Room in New York and as a James Beard guest chef. The seasonal menu might include gnocchi with veal ragu, sautéed scallops and mushrooms with balsamic and a risotto of the day.

8 N. Washington St.; 410-822-2202

T at the General Store
About 10 minutes outside of Downtown Easton, you’ll find this two-year-old restaurant housed in a former general store in the village of Royal Oak. Its mantra is healthy food at reasonable prices, while employing the farm-to-table ethos and using tea whenever possible — such as in the chai tea–rubbed roast chicken and the green salad with sweet tea vinaigrette. Cocktails are also infused with tea, including the Bloody Mary served during its popular weekend brunch. Loose-leaf teas are also for sale.

25942 Royal Oak Rd.; 410-745-8402