Meal: Weekend Lunch
Atmosphere: Casual Filth
Prices: Way Higher Than They Should Be
Food: Barely Edible
Chic's Seafood is located at 300 Summit Avenue in Hagerstown, MD. Hagerstown's award-winning City Park is nearby.
One half of Chic's is a carry-out seafood counter, which offers raw and fresh fish, shellfish and other seafood fare. The other half is an eat-in dining room. In addition, Chic's Seafood sells steamed Maryland blue crabs for both take-out and eat-in customers.
Chic's Seafood isn't located in the nicest part of Hagerstown, and the exterior of the building reflects this. Although not offensive to the eye, it could certainly use an update. The interior, unfortunately, isn't any better.
The dining room consists of an assortment of tables and booths, typical fake fish décor on the walls, and a sad attempt at a “seafaring vessel” atmosphere. Although it's understandable for a seafood restaurant to be quaint and casual—and, maybe, a bit dark and dingy, too—there's absolutely no excuse for filth. The tops of the tables felt sticky. The salt and pepper shakers seemed to be coated with grease. The menus were smeared with unidentifiable substances.
Our server greeted us almost immediately after we sat in our booth. She was cheerful and pleasant throughout our dining experience. The service she provided was above average and definitely the best part of the meal.
The menu offers a wide range of traditional seafood dishes. Snack baskets (e.g. fried shrimp with french fries and cole slaw) are about $9 and probably the right size for a lunch portion. Main entrees—such as 2 crab cakes, jumbo steamed shrimp, or grilled tuna steak—include two sides and are priced at about $14-$18.
Although famished, Dining Companion (DC) and I both declined an appetizer and opted instead for fairly large meals. I chose The Chesapeake combination plate (1 deluxe crab cake, 2 jumbo shrimp, 2 sea scallops, 1 fish fillet, 1 oyster and ¼ lb clam strips) for approximately $22. DC opted for the fish special (fried haddock) for approximately $14.
I chose a salad as a side dish, and it was served before my meal. I immediately regretted it, as the lettuce was drowning under a gigantic pool of salad dressing. Perhaps I should have ordered my dressing in a separate dish. Indeed, this was a lesson learned the hard way. Nonetheless, the ratio of dressing to lettuce was so ridiculous that I wondered if the owner of Chic's had a stake in the Hidden Valley Ranch company. It did occur to me that the copious amount of dressing had been intentionally poured across my salad to disguise the browning vegetables and the wilting iceberg lettuce. As far as salads go, this one was subpar. Unfortunately, it was one of the better parts of the meal.
Our food was delivered relatively quickly by our server, who also cheerfully refilled our ice tea glasses. I went for my deluxe crab cake first, as crab cakes are a favorite dish of mine (as regular readers of this blog already know).
I have one thing to say about this deluxe crab cake: If this was the “deluxe” version, I'd hate to try the regular version. The texture was mealy. It was overseasoned with the wrong seasonings. It lacked any crab flavor. In fact, it tasted more like a fish cake than a crab cake. I will never order a crab cake from Chic's Seafood again.
The rest of the meal at Chic's Seafood continued to meet the same poor standard. I took a bite of the fried oyster, chewed twice, and spit it into my napkin. (Given how much I love food, this is an extremely unusual behavior for me.) The oyster seemed so mushy that I wondered if it had gone bad. Admittedly, DC tried the remainder of my oyster and remarked that the texture I disliked was common among canned oysters. Since oysters are out of season at the moment, I was probably completely idiotic to order any dish that contained oysters. Well, I paid for my mistake.
Rather than bore you with the dismal details of the rest of my meal, I'll try to condense it for you: the jumbo shrimp were edible, the fried clams (most likely prepackaged and frozen) were the best part of the meal, the scallops were cold and barely cooked, and the fish fillet was overcooked until totally dry.
DC's fried haddock was mediocre. I thought it had an odd flavor. His side of green beans also had a strange sour taste that was impossible for us to identify. Quite frankly, to me they tasted just a day away from going bad. Indeed, many items in our meals tasted as if they were on the verge of spoiling.
The restrooms in Chic's Seafood are a sad state of dirt and disrepair. In the ladies room, the ceiling tile was peeling from the floor, the stall doors were stained, the sink desperately needed cleaning, and a random toilet lid was propped in the corner of a stall. Paper towels and hand soap were fully stocked. The men's room, however, was in an even sadder state. DC described it as “reminiscent of a truck stop bathroom that hadn't been cleaned in weeks.” Among its finer points was a pervasive odor of urine and a soap dispenser coated with black grime.
If this is the state of the restrooms—which are seen and used by customers—what kind of condition must the kitchen be in?
My verdict: Given the filth in the restaurant and the poor taste of the food, I never intend to return to Chic's Seafood.
07 August 2011
Meal: Weekend Lunch
Share Your Thoughts
Here at Taste The Tri-State, I "dish" about the service, atmosphere, prices and food at area restaurants. Read more about me here.
Got a restaurant that deserves a review? Send me an email!
Learn how I define restaurant categories (Casual, Fine Dining, Vegetarian Options, etc.) here.
- American (34)
- Asian (3)
- Bar (18)
- Buffet (5)
- Casual (29)
- Chain/Franchise (7)
- Chambersburg (1)
- Family Friendly (32)
- Fast Casual (5)
- Fast Food (4)
- Fine Dining (5)
- Food Stand (1)
- Franklin County (9)
- Greencastle (5)
- Hagerstown (34)
- Health (1)
- Homestyle (9)
- Italian (2)
- Jefferson County (1)
- Limited Children (4)
- Mercersburg (2)
- Mexican (6)
- Non-Chain/Regional (36)
- Sandwich Shop (5)
- Seafood (3)
- Shepherdstown (1)
- Vegetarian Options (15)
- Washington County (34)
- Waynesboro (1)
Buy discounted gift certificates (like a $25 gift certificate for just $10!) at Restaurant.com!