I was lucky enough to live in Chestertown for over a decade and the Blue Heron was then, and now -- when I make occasional trips back home -- my favorite restaurant. The ambience is reasonably charming, the service is usually proficient enough but what I really love about the place is its small town feel (with a sophisticated vibe), a wine list that offers insanely reasonable mark-ups when you buy a bottle, and, saving the best for last, fantastic food.
Specifically, as a Maryland native, it's high praise for me to laud the Blue Heron's crabcakes as consistently the best I've ever had. The best. Lump meat held together with unobtrusive filler, broiled so that they are crispy on top. And the buerre blanc sauce (totally gorgeous and appropriate and for this traditionalist -- who knew?) is a delightful enhancement (though do be sure to order it served on the side so you can make your own choice about whether to drench the crab or not).
My only lament about the Blue Heron is that as the recession has hit Chestertown hard, this locals' place has had to pull back. The menu offers fewer choices than before. Some of my favorite alternatives to the crabcake, such as sweetbreads or cioppino, weren't on the menu on a recent visit and I wasn't the only one, among my dining pals (some of whom are still local) to be disappointed. But even then -- they found ample substitutes. And the Blue Heron is no longer open for lunch and I hope that changes someday but get that the economy's impact on both the local business trade and the sightseeing daytripper has put the kibosh on that indulgence.
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