[Photo: Nikki Goldstein]

Don't always trust what you hear—a lesson I learned well at Choptank. I'd never have gone in the first place if I'd stuck to what I'd initially read, and I almost definitely wouldn't have ordered the poorly-named crab chilaquiles ($14), which the waiter described as hit-and-miss with their crowd. Well, that would have been a mistake—it's my favorite find of the late summer. Not at all reminiscent of Mexican chilaquiles, the baked dish is more along the lines of seafood lasagna, and based on the restaurant's signature Old Bay crab dip. It's blended with sweet shrimp, sour cream, cream cheese, carrots, and a mixture of herbs, then layered with white cheddar and blue corn tortilla chips in a casserole. The result? Creamy, rich, and smooth, with a bit of punch from the sour cream and Old Bay. It's served with more chips and salsa, and while the former aren't needed (the layered chips add enough crunch), the latter adds a welcome hint of complexity and heat. Dine in the garden and it'll feel like Labor Day hasn't yet passed—like summer's still in full gear, and a bowl of salt water taffy is waiting just off the boardwalk.


308 Bleecker Street, New York NY 10014 (map)

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