Canners Row offers a dining room with a view. Housed in a glass-enclosed former marina office on Canton’s waterfront, the majority of its tables—both indoor and out—provide gorgeous vistas of moored yachts and the glistening harbor beyond. In too many instances around our town and others, great food almost seems like an afterthought at restaurants that offer breathtaking views. The jury’s still out on Canners Row.
A restaurant is an amalgam of lots of little touches, and, in this respect, Canners Row sometimes misses the boat. Each time we entered, taking note of a cracked pane of glass that went unrepaired between our trips, we strolled past the unattended host stand before being greeted. When we took a seat at a six-top near the back, we brushed crumbs off the chairs.
While our servers were attentive and friendly enough, they didn’t seem particularly familiar with some of the finer points of the menu. (About those menus: They’re printed on flimsy paper so rumpled you’d think the place has been open for six years, not six months.) Our waiter failed to mention that the Blue Crab Louie sandwich is served cold, or that pickles no longer come with the burgers.
Still, the kitchen nails a few signature items, notably the delectable pizzas. A built-in oven looms to the side of the bar, and from it emerge some of the best pies we’ve tried in town. The shrimp chai diablo arrived piping hot, its crust the perfect combination of charred and chewy. Topped with shrimp seared with masala chai spice, red peppers, and lemon-basil tahini sauce, the pie made it tough to decide whether it tasted better that night or the next day when we reheated it for breakfast. Next time, we’ll get two.
Among the 10 large dinner plates, the wood-fired sea scallops and shrimp, served atop a butternut squash purée with tasty charred cauliflower and carrots, stood out. The three split scallops and six shrimp were plump and fresh and, at $18, the dish is an excellent value. Similarly, the grilled calamari, one of a dozen small plates, included a generous portion of seafood that was treated with proper deference by the kitchen.
Misses included crab mac and cheese, which consisted of elbow noodles and a dollop of crabmeat. It appeared and tasted hastily assembled. The Maryland crab soup needed more pepper, the Dock of the Bay burger—with bacon, a fried egg, spinach, and tomatoes—was overly dry, and the crab cake sandwich was decidedly average.
Owner Robert Alipanah found success at his former eatery, Robert Oliver Seafood in Mt. Vernon, and he’s striving for that at Canners Row. He’s found a beautiful setting in which success is possible. Now, it’s just a matter of executing the little details.
CANNERS ROW 2723 Lighthouse Point East, Baltimore, 667-239-3466 HOURS Sun.-Thu. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. CUISINE pizzas, burgers, and seafood PRICES Small plates $9-16; dinner plates, $16-24; burgers $14-16; sandwiches, $11-16; pizza $13-18. AMBIANCE Casual waterfront dining.