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“Absolutely miserable all around”

River Watch Restaurant
Ranked #24 of 65 Restaurants in Essex
Price range: $0 - $35
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Scenic view
Dining options: Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Reviewed January 8, 2012

My family took me here for a birthday dinner on Saturday night, 11/12/11. We were only one of two tables with anyone there. There was a party in the next room, but that still didn't excuse the miserable service, food quality, high prices and lack of attention provided by this establishment. We have come here for years.

Drinks were served on wooden table tops with no cocktail napkins to catch the condensation of the glasses. The soups were barely lukewarm. The entrees were served lukewarm to cold, but we were so hungry from waiting, we ate them anyway. I had Veal Oscar, and I don't know whose recipe they used, but the crabmeat (if you could call it that) appeared to be canned, the sauce tasteless, and the asparagus non-descript. The veal upon which this glop was placed, was not fresh. It tasted like shoe leather and was tough to the teeth. The twice baked potato (OMG) was neither. The potato was dumped on a cold potato skin, and was hardly edible.

We have come here for appetizers and drinks in warm weather, and it's fine. But no more. This is the only restaurant that will NOT allow you to substitute another vegetable for a baked potato. You get it whether you want it or not, and anything else is ala carte.

Nuff said. They make their money in warm weather with the younger crowd, beer and bands. The rest of their service and quality has gone straight south, and I would recommend avoiding this place. A once fine restaurant down the tubes. Maybe Robert Irvine would save it, but who would want to?

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2  Thank Norris T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 19, 2011

Just went to dinner here for Resturant Week Baltimore County and should have gone somewhere else. The view is the only thing that was good. Ordered the crabcakes. Didn't eat them as they were not lump crab (as advertised) and tasted like ground up fish. The cream of crab soup was tasteless( would have been better to use the cream part for creamed chipped beef over toast) the fried green tomato salad would have been ok if the tomatoes had been at least warm. The other people in our party had sub standard food too .Only thing that was ok was a piece of steak.Nice flavor. All in all, pick another resturant!! We wish we had.

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1  Thank victoria03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 4, 2010

Went here with my sister and with only 4 other people in the place, it still took us 45 min. to get 2 cokes. The order was wrong and the food plain, tasteless & terrible. Waitress had a bad attitude and was not at all helpful. Avoid the River Watch and go to Schultz's instead...you'll be glad you did!

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Thank ladyshirley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2009

The best feature of the River Watch Restaurant & Marina is the view, a sweeping vista of the Middle River, in Essex. We recently visited on a warm May evening, and we enjoyed watching the boats coming in and out of the harbor.

Hopefully you are there for the boat watching, because what came out of the kitchen was a huge disappointment.

I ordered a bowl of Maryland crab soup and the "Sully's Salad", which advertised five seared scallops served over a bed of greens tossed with a lime/tequila vinaigrette and finished with a sweet chili glaze.

It was a busy night at the River Watch, however that in no way made up for the extremely slow service from the kitchen. It took at least thirty minutes to receive our soup and appetizer order.

We opted for the seared Ahi (Grade "A" Sushi Tuna, Pan-Seared then Thinly Sliced served Rare with Wasabi Cream Sauce). What they should have advertised was Grade "A" previously frozen sushi tuna. No excuse for not having fresh tuna at a seafood restaurant.

The Maryland crab that I ordered was a huge let down. It was obviously vegetable soup with some pieces of lump crab dropped in to make it crab soup. Completely lacking was any hint of spice. It even needed salt. And it was luke warm, having obviously been sitting around waiting to be picked up for a while.

The others at the table ordered the cream of crab. While thick, and also containing chunks of crab, it was also luke warm and lacking any seasoning.

It was at least another thirty minutes before our entree's arrived. Upon arrival, my salad, containing the five scallops, turned out to be a mess. It was more of an appetizer than a entree salad. The scallops were partly burned, and shockingly, cold. These were placed on top of a bland brown "dressing" that completely soaked everything it touched, yet had an amazing lack of flavor. The "fresh" greens may have at one point been fresh, but I guarantee that was long before they were bagged up and sold to this place. The "sweet chili glaze" appeared to be nothing more then a jelly that was just tossed onto each individual scallop, imparting a sickeningly sweetness that, had the scallops actually been cooked and served property, would have destroyed them.

This will be my last visit to the River Watch. The overpriced menu, long waits, and disappointing food should keep all but the locals and boaters at bay.

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1  Thank Doppler79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2008

This is the best restaurant on Middle River! Incredible seafood, and great views of the river. Sunday deck parties are a blast, a perfect way to end a day out on the water.

Thank lotus944
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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