We were making an afternoon and evening of it in Calvert County on Sunday, July 16, 2017. First we stopped at Fridays Creek Winery and bought a couple bottles of their Chardonel. Then it was on to Scorpion Brewing, where we tasted three beers, and got a growler of their HMS St. Lawrence. From there we headed to dinner at Heritage 485 (click here to see their full listing in our Food & Drink Business Directory), in Prince Frederick, MD, the Calvert County Seat. We were sort of working our way from north to south along Rte. 4 down the middle of Calvert County.
The tricky part was juggling the hours on that day, given that Fridays Creek Winery was open from 11 AM until 5 PM, Scorpion Brewing from 1 PM until 5 PM, and Heritage 485 from 4 PM until 8 PM for dinner. That meant an early dinner for us, so we had planned accordingly, eating earlier and more lightly than usual. Arriving about 4:45 PM at the restaurant, they told us they didn’t start dinner service until 5 PM. Perfect! Time for drinks.
Opened earlier this year, Heritage 485 takes its name, in part, from the address: 485 Main Street. It occupies a house built in 1891 by Judge John Parran Briscoe. His nephew, Dr. Everard Briscoe, eventually acquired it, and used the house for his medical practice from 1927 until his death in 1944. Briscoe’s widow lived there until 1981. The house originally sat by itself on a hill with landscaped grounds. (Note: This history was garnered from the Maryland Historical Trust Determination of Eligibility Form, filed in 2014.)
The Wolchick family acquired the house and opened the Old Field lnn restaurant in 1984. That restaurant, if online photos are to be believed, had an interior influenced by Halloween as much as anything else, with salmon colored walls, black napkins and fireplace, along with white trim. It later became the Saphron Restaurant at Old Field House, which appeared to have used a much lighter and brighter color scheme.
Heritage 485 dinner
Given we were so early, I think we may have been the evening’s first customers. They asked if we wanted to sit at the bar or at a table. We chose a table, and were escorted to seats near a window looking out toward Main Street. It was a good sized room, with a number of tables of various sizes. I did peek at the bar, which was quite lovely, and empty.
Our waitress gave us each a drink menu, wines on one side, cocktails on the flip-side. We also got dinner menus. After the waitress left for waters, we looked things over — the menus and the decor. The walls were splashed with random patches of paint in shades of brown, tan, and cream, some with a bit of metallic sheen. The overhead lights looked like 1960s’ starburst chandeliers. Navy blue is used as an accent color in various spots around the restaurant, and is seen on the tables in the napkins and candle holders.
When she returned, the waitress (who reminded me of Cara Delevingne), took our drink order: Chardonnay for Cindy, Maker’s Mark Manhattan for me. She also told us what the day’s specials were. I had made up my mind and the specials didn’t interest me, but Cindy did switch her entrée to one of the specials. The waitress departed to place our orders for starters and mains.
Drinks & Breads
It didn’t take too long for our drinks to arrive. Nicely chilled and well-prepared, we were quite happy to see them. We toasted to having a pleasant afternoon. We relaxed and enjoyed the music playing on their sound system: classic soul music, or R&B if you prefer that term. Within the first five tunes, we heard The Temptations, Bill Withers, and Curtis Mayfield. Whoever is selecting the music for Heritage 485 is doing a great job in my book.
Soon after we got our drinks, a young man delivered bread for the table. The basket had several pieces of house-made focaccia and cornbread, served with olive oil. The focaccia was tasty, but I think could have been baked just a shade longer, to give it a bit more crustiness. It went perfectly with the olive oil. The cornbread was tasty, and not dry or crumbly. I’d never had cornbread with olive oil before, and was pleasantly surprised at how well they went together. Not that I wouldn’t have preferred butter or honey, or honey-butter for that matter, but olive oil worked nicely.
My wife Cindy got the apricot and brie appetizer, described in the menu as “Grilled Apricots, Triple Cream Brie, Pistachios, Charred Onion, Blackberry Brandy Vinaigrette.” She said the apricots were just about perfect, and if there was any problem at all with the dish, she would have liked more brie. It was a nice presentation and very tasty.
Shrimp and grits doesn’t need tails in it.
One odd thing, though: if you look at the photos above and below, you’ll see the menus used as placemats. They never seemed to think to pick them up. We finally moved them to the empty table next to us, just to get them out of the way.
I got the shrimp and grits: “Shallot Cream, Tasso, Shallots, Buttery Grits,” which was creamy and delicious. The shrimp were perfectly cooked. My one gripe: they left the darn tails on. Really? Shrimp and grits doesn’t need tails in it. That’s just extra work for the diner. In a shrimp cocktail or fried shrimp — finger food — the tails provide a nice little handle. But you don’t eat shrimp and grits with your fingers. C’mon, get rid of the tails.
Another odd thing kept happening. Once they brought the starters, they wanted to take away the bread and olive oil. Why? We hadn’t finished them. This happened a couple more times, and I kept telling them no, we want to keep the bread. Or, rather, I, who enjoys baking and eating bread, wanted the bread. I guess someone said the bread should be cleared away as soon as possible or something.
For her dinner, Cindy got the soft-shell crabs special, which included two of those beauties with tomatoes and grilled-yellow squash. Everything on the plate was delicious. The grill-marks on the squash were just about perfect.
My main course was a top sirloin steak, cooked medium, served with whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes, grilled green beans, and a port-wine sauce. The steak was definitely at medium — a bit pink in the middle with a nice sear on the outside — and the port wine sauce went with it quite well. The grilled beans had just a bit of crunch and smoke from their time over the flames, so were also very good. The whipped potatoes were fine, and the sauce went nicely with them as well as the beef.
Heritage 485 conclusion
The food we had was more than enough, so we didn’t order any dessert. As it turned out, though, the waitress mentioned that there were free cookies available in the hallway on the way out. Wrapped in wax paper, they appeared to be house-made thin-and-chewy chocolate chip — an excellent finish to the meal.
Our gripes were few:
- not removing the menus
- leaving the tails on the shrimp, and
- repeatedly trying to take away our bread.
The hits far outweighed the misses:
- the decor was lovely,
- the drinks were tasty, and
- the food was gorgeous and delicious.
If you’re anywhere near Prince Frederick, you need look no further than Heritage 485 for a very good meal. ♦