My name is Alexandra and I’m the face of @annapolitan_eats. I’m currently a senior at Loyola University Maryland where I study history, French, and Arabic (sadly, they don’t offer a degree in food). In my free time, I love going out to eat (duh), skiing, paddle boarding, and spending time with my family. As a native Annapolitan, I’m an ardent cheerleader for all things Annapolis (hence why I love the Naptown Scoop!)
Smashing Grapes is a lovely addition to the Annapolis restaurant scene, brought to us by Titan Restaurant Group—creators of Eastport's Blackwall Hitch and Crofton's Blackwall Barn and Lodge. Formerly a Greene Turtle, Smashing Grapes features "a fusion of Mediterranean and California coastal cuisines," which includes homemade pasta dishes, a small raw bar selection, charcuterie, flatbreads, and more than 350 wine choices from around the world!
Space and service
The fact that Titan birthed Smashing Grapes out of an old Greene Turtle will blow your mind. Inside it is bright and elegant yet still comfortable. The decor and finishes emit upscale, coastal California vibes, which are augmented by the plentiful outdoor patio seating.
It's a versatile space where you could enjoy an afternoon glass of wine on the patio, share appetizers in the bar, then sit in the main dining room for a nice meal. You can also rent a private room for a special event.
Service was very friendly, but a little slow; presumably because like almost every other restaurant, Smashing Grapes is feeling the effects of the restaurant labor shortage! They're currently hiring for ALL positions: busser, host, food expeditor, server, bartender, sous chef, executive chef, bar manager, and restaurant manager.
In general, I was impressed by the quality and freshness of the food. We started with classic buffalo wings (because how could you not?), spicy crab bisque, and tuna and avocado poke. The wings were solid and perfectly crisp straight out of the kitchen. Usually I have to order wings well done to get my preferred crisp level.
The crab bisque had a heap of lump crab in the middle and was delicious. But the most impressive part was when they poured the hot bisque over the crab meat right in front of us at the table.
For entrées we ordered the poached pear salad, Baja street tacos, and the pistachio pesto and grilled chicken fettuccini. The salad and tacos were great, but the fettuccini pasta captured my heart (and taste buds). I'll order a tad more pesto next time, but there was a TON of perfectly grilled chicken. It was a generous portion.
However, some menu items were disappointing—and overpriced in my opinion. For example, the tuna and avocado poke was underwhelming for $18. While the ingredients were fresh, the flavor was bland.
If I were in the kitchen I'd add more avocado and a crunchy vessel to scoop the tuna. At the price point, it was a small portion. As you can see in my review of Sailor Oyster Bar, their tuna poke is bigger, more flavorful, comes with crackers, and is $1 cheaper.
Similarly, the poached pear salad was delicious, but we expected an entrée-sized portion for $14. Instead, it was more like a side-salad. Nevertheless, SG is a beautiful new spot with a variety of excellent food and wine options.
Pay attention to weekly specials! All bottles of wine are 25% off on Wednesday. In the past, they have run deals for 50% off their house-made pastas—a great deal considering the portion size!
I've heard great things about their sea bass (thank you, @properhunt). I'll try it the next time I go.
Make a reservation online!
I am extremely happy to welcome Smashing Grapes to the area. They have a fun menu, a number of fantastic dishes, a gorgeous space, and myriad wine choices. I think they will really thrive once warmer weather gets here, especially since they have ample patio space. I am looking forward to going back!
Editor's note: please follow @annapolitan_eats on Instagram. Word of warning: don't look at her pictures on an empty stomach.
How many scoops?
The Naptown Scoop rates restaurants on the same scale as Michelin stars:
Single scoop: a very good restaurant
Double scoop: excellent cooking worth a detour
Triple scoop: exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey
Just like Michelin stars, not every restaurant will earn scoops. This does not mean they aren't good.
Alexandra has decided not to award Smashing Grapes a scoop.
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