Restaurateur John Trader and crew continue to hit home runs in the OC/Fenwick area. After he sold Galaxy at 66th St., he hit the jackpot with Liquid Assets at 94th. This combination restaurant/bar/liquor store has been a consistent hit since it opened – with the kicker being that you can select your favorite wine off their shelves and just pay retail (plus a small corkage fee). That is a big deal for oenophiles who like good food.
Their second hit is Our Harvest in Fenwick. This spot focuses on small plates of comforting, savory entrees. Each of our several visits have been quite successful.
The latest jewel in their crown is Annabelle's BBQ and Creamery at 64th St. bayside. Trader's regional manager Guy Bashore is doing his best to make this place as authentic as possible. We've only been a couple of times, so we'll consider this a sneak peek.
One of my instant pick hits at Annabelle's BBQ & Creamery is the oak-smoked brisket. My most recent restaurant before I migrated here was a BBQ restaurant, so the bar is set pretty high. These guys cook that brisket right (lo & slo!) and they even make “burnt ends” (the best part) available as a separate order on the menu. Equally good is their chopped pork sandwich (see it in the gallery). Super-savory burnt ends are chopped in with the tender meat, and it is served without sauce – you can choose from five house-made recipes: Alabama White is a combination of mayo and vinegar. House Sweet BBQ is more of a Memphis style with a tomato base and vinegar. Carolina Vinegar is just what it says, but add a few chilis and a pinch of sugar. My favorite at this point is the Smoked Onion and Bourbon. It is what it sounds like. And it's chunky and delicious on the pork sandwich. Last and certainly not least is the South Carolina style with vinegar, mustard and a drizzle of honey to take the edge off of the acid. That one is very good if you like Carolina-style ‘cue.
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The sides are very good, and quite unusual. The greens at Annabelle's escape the ‘ho-hum' prep of most greens with lots of spices and small chunks of sausage, bacon and a bit of brown sugar. These ain't yo' mamma's greens by any means. Same thing goes for the beans. A lot of thought went into this recipe and they are addictive. The third pick hit is their cornbread! Again, cornbread can be dry and boring – Annabelle's is not – especially with that generous dollop of cayenne/honey butter.
Quite possibly the most filling dish I've had in a long time is their Double Cheddar Mac & Cheese with Chorizo and a cracker crust. If you order this as a side, be prepared to share! It is full of flavor.
The MENU (SEE IT HERE) is simple and straight-ahead. Starters. Sandwiches, meat by the pound, including smoked chicken quarters (see one in the gallery). They are quite proud of their ice cream and milk shakes, and use cream from Chesapeake Bay Farms.
Don't be fooled into thinking that just because Annabelle's is part of a larger operation that it is not properly authentic. Of course they put their own twist on everything (fans of Liquid Assets and Our Harvest know this is their style). But I am a BBQ maniac and I strongly urge you to try their dishes. I suspect you will be pleasantly surprised and I promise you will NOT leave hungry.
Annabelle's is in a tiny strip center (like pretty much everything here at the beach) at the corner of 64th and Coastal Highway bayside. There's lots of parking. Call to check their hours at 443-664-8491.
Follow Annabelle's on Facebook HERE.