On Bleecker and Grove Street in the restaurant saturated West Village, lies newly opened Choptank. Named for the river that flows into the Chesapeake Bay where the owners grew up, this upscale seafood shack is inspired by the very cuisine of that Maryland region. Native proprietor Bobby Werhane famed for other well-loved comfort spots such as Dell’Anima and L’Artusi, came together with Chef Matthew Schaefer and culinary servant Kevin Patricio, featuring a varietal menu consisting of Binkert’s German Sausage, Fried Oyster Po-boys and Fried Chicken with Black pepper honey. I was greeted by kind and gracious Bobby Werhane who ushered me through his modern, yet contemporary maritime decorated split level restaurant, complete with a charming outdoor space where he says “We’re going to have some killer crab boils in the summer”- the sound of which made my ears perk up! Hoping for an invite to such an auspicious seasonal event, I stared and daydreamed that I was lounging outdoors slurping oysters and chomping on peel your own Gulf shrimp while downing cold beverages and enjoying witty banter with friends and passer bys…..alas not just yet ! I would be content tonight in a warm cosy nook gorging on my warm hearty burger watching pedestrians lumber along clenching their coats against the last of New York’s winter.
Before long, my lovely waitress served me some tantalizing Old Bay seasoned potato crisps, which were accompanied by a tangy smooth crab dip which was very rich in flavor and insanely tasty. The signature burger that I was to choose, featured a goliath 8oz blended patty, juicy and full of flavor slathered in rich creamy aged Wisconsin cheddar, pickled pepper mayo, fried onions and bacon-jam, all nestled on a perfectly toasted speckled sesame seed bun. I grabbed the burger like fisherman hauls a catch, trawling the sandwich into my mouth savoring the flavor as my eyes closed with content and delight. This was a good catch, not going to throw this one away! However, when practicing the same action on a lightly fried Oyster po-boy, I was greeted with an uninviting flavor which caused me to want to throw this catch back ! I was disappointed, and left the Po-Boy to revert back to my delicious burger. I chatted to a couple of regulars at a nearby table who swear by the crispy Fried Chicken, Virginia Ham, and zesty rock shrimp tacos. I was really happy with the burger and was very impressed with the friendliness of upfront and hands on owner Bobby Werhune, and his competent staff.
Choptank has various seating options such as an oyster bar, dining room and cosy window nooks. The bar is full featuring a plethora of micro brews and wines if that’s your thing, Choptank is a great neighborhood landing spot to enjoy all varietals of tasty Maryland inspired fare and one heck of-a-good burger. I’ll be checking back in when the weather’s warmer for those crab and shrimp boils, maybe you should do the same !