Nick's Fish House Insulator Drive by the Port Covington Wal Mart, near the Hanover St. bridge.
Nick's opened about 2 weeks ago at the old Dead Eye saloon location. Major renovations have been done to the building, creating a nice dining and lounge area, a deck with a few tables overlooking the marina, a soon to open outside crab deck, and a second story deck overlooking the marina. There were 3 separate after-work parties going on in the lounge area and in a private room. When we arrived, the dining area was not crowded and we were seated immediately - it was full when we left. Our drink orders were quickly taken and delivered by the manager who explained that our server was tied up.
The menu has an offering of raw bar & steamed seafood, standard bar fare apps, a selection of sandwiches, and a small list of entrees including stuffed flounder, crab cakes, steak, a salmon special, a blue fish special, and a chicken dish. Nothing terribly adventurous here, but the prices are reasonable. After asking our waiter about a few items and getting the same response - "actually, the is really good here. The chef is from Brewer's Art." We ordered half-dozen blue points on the half-shell, crab dip, a cheeseburger, and a crab cake sandwich. Then we waited, and waited.
When my beer was done, the waiter came by and asked if I'd like another - which I did. He brought the new beer - leaving my empty bottle, then went back and brought the oysters - which had obviously been sitting out for a considerable amount of time because the ice was about half melted. He said he didn't want to wait on the crab dip to bring the oysters because the ice was melting. Good idea. I asked him for tabasco. He promptly walked away. After seeing him back in the dining area obviously not getting my hot sauce, I got up and asked someone else for a bottle. I sat back down, ate 2 oysters and looked up to a runner bringing our sandwiches. We told the runner to cancel our never received crab dip because we didn't think it would make a good dessert. Our server came back, apologized for the crab dip mix up and said he'd take care of a round of drinks then again left my empty bottle, which I had since pushed to the very edge of the table. I set aside my newly arrived crab cake and finished the oysters (nicely sized, salty, and quite tasty). The manager stopped by and we commented on the timing issue and about never receiving the crab dip. He was apologetic and explained they were still going through opening pains.
The crab cake sandwich was good, not great, with crabmeat a bit strong for my taste. My guess is that they used domestic crab rather than Asian, which I normally prefer, but this was stronger than usual. It was a blend of lump and backfin with a lot of meat, but was a little dry. The fries that came with the sandwich were good, but nothing special. The hamburger came cooked to order and the bleu cheese on top was plentiful, too much really, and was not melted enough. It was an okay burger, but again nothing out of the ordinary. When we finished, our plates were cleared by a busboy, and my first empty bottle was finally removed. Our bill came without asking, and the drinks our waiter had told us would comp were still included in the total. When we questioned the drinks, he seemed a little perturbed, went to the manager who then happily removed two drinks from the check and said he should have thought of that.
Despite the service issues and average food, we will certainly go back and try again. The setting is one of the best in Baltimore, and once they open up the crab deck, assuming the crabs are decent, they are going to have a hit on their hands. If the kitchen and service improves a bit, Nicks will be a hidden gem. Even if it doesnt improve, the place will be a great hangout on sunny summer days to have a few beers.