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Fager's Island
Written By: Jenny Samuels
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Fager's Island
Fager's Island
Frank, Lynette, and Alex take care of happy customers in the fine dining room at Fager’s Island on 60th Street and the bay.
Fager's Island
Emilio, Ekaterina, and Danny geared up for the Famous Deck Party at Fager’s Island on Monday night.
Fager's Island
Stephanie and Jenny enjoyed panoramic views of the bay through the wall of windows in the fine dining room at Fager’s Island.
    Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to spoil yourself. Whether you’re a vacationer enjoying Ocean City’s second season, or a year-round local celebrating the transition from summer to fall, everyone deserves a little indulgence now and then. Take a break from the deep-fried food at the corner bar and grille, and treat yourself to fine dining at Fager’s Island. I took my friend, Stephanie, for a girl’s night of indulgence at Fager’s fine dining restaurant, just a few weeks before she leaves her bartending position at Coconuts and moves to Boca Raton, Florida. We got dolled up and found that the top-floor dining room offers jaw-dropping, birds-eye views of the glistening bay and Ocean City skyline. A panoramic wall of windows makes every seat in the house a premier vantage point for soaking in the sunsets and watching the boats glide on the bay.
    We arrived at Fager’s during its Famous Deck Party on Monday night, just in time for the sunset. Deck parties start each Monday at 5 p.m., offering live music and beer and food specials, including a home-style barbeque on the bay. Ample tables are tucked into private nooks among palm trees and lush landscaping on Fager’s beach dining area. Deck Parties are affordable and attract loads of locals and visitors, but only a few deck parties remain before the season’s change. Make sure you go this week.
    Sunset is prime time at Fager’s. Every night, as the sun sinks into the horizon, Fager’s cues up Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and shoots off confetti guns, adding drama and flare to the picturesque sunsets. As Stephanie and I sat at our intimate table with a white table cloth, we admired the bay, which was as smooth as glass, and the stunning deep gray and blue colors in the sky, as day faded to night. Our knowledgeable server, Frank Cascio, greeted us and offered us his menu recommendations. The daily specials were Strawberry Salad, Cream of Crab Soup, Mussels in marinara sauce, and Roasted Lamb Shank. Mahi-Mahi, the chef’s fish of the day, could be prepared any way you like, including blackened. 
    We asked Frank which appetizers he suggests, and he recommended the Lobster Tempura with citrus ponzu dipping sauce and pineapple salsa. My friend, Jason Frank, who manages the bar at Pepper’s Tavern, raves about Fager’s Blackened Scallops on polenta crisps with cilantro oil. Frank also revealed that happy customers return year after year for the Chicken Livers and Water Chestnuts in Bacon, served with horseradish dipping sauce. He also recommends the Accomack Oyster Sampler. Other appetizers on Fager’s fine dining menu are Fried Green Tomato Crab Stack, Prosciutto Wrapped Fresh Mozzarella, Bacon Wrapped BBQ Shrimp, Asian Pan Steamed Mussels, and Nori Crusted Seared Tuna. Delicious salads include Classic Caesar, House Salad, and Ms. Jean’s Spinach Salad—baby spinach, apple, cashew nuts, raisin, sun cured cranberries, and creamy honey Dijon dressing. Stephanie and I ordered the Classic Clams Casino and Lobster Tempura to share. Both dishes were expertly prepared and beautifully presented. Stephanie and I savored each bite and prepped our taste buds for our main course.
    On the Entrée menu, the Prime Rib with Fresh Shaved Horseradish, served with baked russet Burbank potato and vegetable, is Fager’s bestseller. In fact, the restaurant hosts half-priced prime rib dinners on Monday and Tuesday from November through April. Frank describes Fager’s Chilean Sea Bass Broiled with Plum-Sesame Glaze as “out of this world.” The Seafood Medley—consisting of Maryland jumbo lump crab cake and broiled shrimp and scallops with citrus-herb butter—is a must-try for seafood lovers. Stephanie was impressed with The Vegetarian, a delectable blend of gnocchi with asparagus, shitake mushrooms, oven-dried tomatoes, Romano cheese, and fresh basil. I decided to order another popular entrée at Fager’s Island, the Sweet Cold Water Lobster Tail. Stephanie ordered the Beef Tenderloin Filet with caramelized onion, smashed potato, and vegetable. We were presented with a basket of fresh, warm bread while we waited for our dinner.
    Frank brought out our entrees and removed my lobster tail from its shell. My lobster was succulent and meaty, served with melted butter for dipping. Butter and sour cream also accompanied my baked potato, and the vegetable was a medley of fresh snap peas and carrots. Stephanie thoroughly enjoyed her filet, which was cooked to her liking and large enough to share with me. Other entrees available on the fine dining menu are Pan Seared Salmon Filet, Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, Steak and Cake, Herbed Bleu Cheese Crusted New York Strip Steak, Roasted Duckling, and Shrimp & Organic Chicken Asian Curry Style. The Surf & Turf is an irresistible combination of the filet with wild mushroom ragout and lobster tail.
    For dessert, Stephanie and I were torn between the chocolate/peanut butter cheesecake, Lemon Lust cream pie, Kalua Mousse, and Fudge Cake. We decided to split Stephanie’s favorite dessert—crème brulee—and two dessert martinis: a Tiramisu for Stephanie, and a Nutty Buddy for me. In addition to dessert drinks, Fager’s Island offers an endless option of cocktails. Their extensive beer list includes more than 60 domestics and imports. Fager’s Island Private Label Collection of fine wines, available by the glass or the bottle, is consistently awarded by “Wine Spectator” magazine, year after year. Island Rum Punch is the house specialty.
    Fine dining is available on both the lower and top floors of the newer addition at Fager’s Island starting at 5 p.m. daily. Early bird specials apply to customers before 6 p.m. Lighter fare is available in the original restaurant and outdoor dining areas, starting at 11 a.m. The Lite Fare Menu includes overstuffed deli sandwiches, char-grilled burgers, soups, a long list of creative salads, appetizers, homemade desserts, and a raw bar. Always kid-friendly, Fager’s also offers a children’s menu.
    Are you looking for a relaxing way to spend your Sunday afternoon? Try Fager’s Island Jazz Brunch from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tempting items such as Raisin French Toast, Eggs Benedict, Frittata, Creamed Chipped Beef, Three Egg Omelettes, and Blueberry-Ricotta Pancakes comprise the menu options. Hot and cold breakfast beverages, including Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s, are the perfect way to unwind and listen to the live jazz sounds of Everett Spells.
    Open year-round, Fager’s Island on 60th Street and the bay is the ideal spot for fine dining, glorious sunsets, and live entertainment. Check out their entertainment schedule in the Coconut Times. Owner John Fager recently bought the Hotel Atlantic in Berlin, Maryland, where you can also experience fine dining in an elegant atmosphere. Remember to visit the Famous Deck Party on Monday night before the summer ends.
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