Welcome to National Harbour in Maryland!

It was 5ish when we made our way through the harbor, which housed several restaurants, a sprawling resort-hotel, Gaylord National, and the enormous The Awakening by American sculptor J. Seward Johnson Jr on the beach. The breeze was gentle on the face, a contrast from the heat getting under my skin earlier in the day. Walking around the harbor was almost meditative – the waves soothing to the eyes – amidst the peals of laughter from the children playing hide-and-seek within the gargantuan limbs of the giant emerging from the sand. I was hopeful to see the cast and crew of NCIS filming somewhere at the National Harbor. They had one episode in a harbor and I was sure it was the National Harbor in Maryland, but, on hindsight, it might have been a different harbor. Yet the harbor held its own charm against the absence of Jethro Leroy Gibbs and team.

The tourists are here

The crowd was neither sparse nor dense so it was a relaxed perambulation along the harbor, passing by a towering condominium with a sea view and Bond 45. I was the most senior of the trio and craving for pasta so Bond 45 was the unanimous choice. Travelling from New York to Washington DC, its menu is a smorgasbord of authentic Italian cuisine that is a mixture of traditional and American firsts such as a Roman mozzarella bar, cheese focaccia and a new antipasti bar. I am not a turophile but I could empathize with one. I was more at one with a pasta lover and their pasta menu got my whole attention. It boasted the specialty, 101 Layer Lasagna; Lobster Frutti di Mare with Strozzapreti pasta, which is a serving of half of a two-pound lobster, manilla clams, mussels, shrimp; and pomodoro sauce, and Lamb Ossobuco Pappardelle. I was completely won over by the Crab meatballs with Garganelli, a hefty serving of rolled tube pasta doused in pomodoro cream and soft-shell crab. My Italian meal is never complete without my all-time appetizer favorite, Calamari, and Bond 45 had a different twist to it. Their calamari was paired with shrimp and deep-fried with cherry peppers and roasted pepper aioli.

Delectable Fried Shrimp and Calamari

Clockwise: Filet Mignon, Mamma Perla's Lemon Chicken and Crab Garganelli

An empty plate is said to be the ultimate sign of culinary success. My plate could have been empty, but an Asian appetite is no match to American serving portions so I had a double treat of biting into the flavorful rolled tube pasta sans the soft-shell crabs the next day. The Fried Shrimps and Calamari were gone in minutes; its crispness and just-right spicy taste was addictive, each forkful quickly followed by another until there was nothing to skewer from the bowl.

Cousin Och was not in the mood for pasta, as he was hankering for chicken and Mamma Perla’s Lemon Chicken was the perfect choice.  Cousin Larmie, his wife, was settled on digging into the succulent eight-oz Filet Mignon. Bond 45’s steak wisdom dictates that great steaks should not be prepared beyond medium but she settled for a compromise of medium well or with a dull pink centre. It was certainly better than the meat temperature of well, which is hot and grey throughout.

A stroll was in order after the hefty meal and the Gaylord National was the destination. Cousin Larmie had been there before and was completely taken by the entire place particularly the architecture and the fountain show, which was re-experiencing Disney’s Fantasia film in 3D minus Mickey’s conducting.

The manicured spot of green at the entrance of Gaylord National

Dance water dance!

Night had descended in full when we left Gaylord National. It is true that breathing in the sea air does one good. The air felt like it held strong portents of a new day to come that even the calorie-laden meal that had long settled on my child-bearing hips didn’t haunt me with guilt.


149 Waterfront Street

National Harbor, MD 20745

Tel: 301-839-1445


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