As a guest of Dorchester County this summer I spent two days with my agenda packed with the county’s offerings; dining, aquaculture, shopping, music, an evening’s stay at a bed and breakfast, vineyard tour, and the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. No one story can encompass, nor should it, all that there is to do and enjoy in this Maryland County. This is my final segment of the Tales of Dorchester County – nationally recognized, award-winning, fine dining Bistro Poplar in downtown Cambridge Maryland.
Chef Ian Campbell, a native of Maryland’s Eastern Shore returned to his hometown in 2007 to open his own restaurant, Bistro Poplar. After working with numerous highly acclaimed chefs at restaurants of renown his resume listed the French Laundry and working with Chef Cindy Wolf.
Chef Campbell is inspired by the simple yet well prepared French bistro cuisine along with his nods to the foods of the Mediterranean and Asia. Of course, seafood from right there from Choptank River plays a prominent role as does produce, dairy and meats from the nearby farms.
On Thursday evenings, Campbell creates a different 3 course dinner for $30 – one can find the menu on their Facebook page. On Sunday evenings, it is Tapas Night, a night of small plates, many a sampling of their regular dinner menu items.
Chef Campbell and his pastry chef Emily Salisbury are kicking in with their fall menu starting Thursday, October 1st. My visit had chef send out a tasting of his summer menu paired with a selection of Bistro Poplar’s wines that are served by the glass:
Choptank Sweets – pickled ramp mignonette – Willm Brut Blanc de Blanc
Asparagus Bisque – slow roasted pork rillette with hint of curry – Domaine Talmard-Macon-Chardonnay France 2012
Seared Scallops with cippolini onions – balsamic jus – Pinot Noir, Jovino Williamette Valley Oregon
Quail Pomegranate – glazed quail over ginger, garlic bok choy – Mourvedre, Cline “Ancient Vines” Contra Costa County, California
Mixed berry sorbet (cranberry, raspberry and strawberry) with a tuille
Service was impeccable and knowledgeable, the surroundings suitable to be on any rue in Paris, we just needed a little Edith Piaf playing in the background.
BISTRO POPLAR – 535 Poplar Street – Cambridge, MD 21613 (410) 228-4884 www.bistropoplar.com www.facebook.com/BistroPoplar
Here is a selection of recent accolades:
• Voted “Best French” and “Best Tapas” (Sunday nights only) by readers of What’s Up Eastern Shore magazine for 2014.
• Named to Best Chefs America, a guide to top chefs across the nation, in 2013.
• Winner of 2013 and 2012 “Free State’s Finest” awards from Maryland Life Magazine as the best “Fine Dining” restaurant on the Lower Eastern Shore.
• Chef Ian Campbell was named a 2011 finalist for Chef of the Year by the Restaurant Association of Maryland. He was one of only five finalists and the only one on the Eastern Shore.
• Named “Best of the Eastern Shore” for “Best French Restaurant” five years running (2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009) by What’s Up Eastern Shore magazine
• Bistro Poplar was one of five finalists in Maryland’s Favorite Restaurant category in the Maryland Restaurant Association’s ‘best of the best’ Stars of the Industry awards program.