One of our favorite articles from 2015 was our preview of a welcome addition to the West Ocean City dining scene, Culture Authentic Eatery. In large part we were thrilled to have a fast casual dining concept opening just down the street from our office, but we were also thrilled to see The Shark on the Harbor masterminds, Travis and Jody Wright, opening a sister location. We were also intrigued by the unique approach the duo was taking in their latest venture. The plan is to have the culinary culture or theme of the menu change each year, with the changeover to take place on Earth Day. Of course, a few staples would be mainstays on the menu no matter the culture, including the signature Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken. “When we travel, we like to experience different parts of the world and embrace the culture of where we travel and of the local community,” Jody told us during our interview last year, explaining the inspiration behind Culture Authentic Eatery. For the past year, customers have enjoyed a Peruvian-inspired menu, with the likes of chicken causa, plantains, and fried yucca, along seasonal specials like the winter veggie bowl. But alas, Earth Day has arrived and with it comes some tweaks and changes to the menu. We were lucky enough to enjoy a sneak peek last night along with a few lucky contest winners. We joined the Golden Ticket winners for a late-night, family-style feast that showcased the new menu and the latest culinary culture….Mayan!

Travis and Jody presented the new culture, explaining that for the upcoming year the menu would be centered primarily on the historical evolution of the Mayan civilization and the culinary influences of the Yucatan Peninsula (including Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala). Think tacos, tostados, and rice bowls, along with queso fundido, chips and salsa, tamale stew, and squash pudding. Expect the same quality ingredients and authentic ingredients that Culture and The Shark are known for, along with a few favorites from last year’s menu.

So what did we get to enjoy during the preview dinner?? For starters, the house made chips and salsa! The salsa trio is varied in spiciness and flavor and includes a spicy salsa verde, a smoky salsa rojo, and a milder salsa blanca…all of which are made in house. Next up…tacos! The Yucatan chicken taco is composed of achiote chicken, cotija, charred corn and black bean salsa, salsa roja, and cabbage. Belizean shrimp tostadas followed suit and included an artful display of crispy shrimp, coconut stewed rice and beans, avocado, grilled mango, cabbage, picked onion, salsa verde, toasted coconut, and mango chipotle vinaigrette (our personal favorite of the evening).  Finally, the carne asada bowl with marinated and grilled all-natural flank steak, queso fresco, charred corn and black bean salsa, avocado, and salsa blanca. The star of this dish was definitely the queso fresco, which Travis is making himself in-house.

Dinner complete and our appetites fully satisfied, the Culture crew ushered us out so that they could begin transforming the interior to reflect the new culture at Culture. Ready to take a peek and have a bite?? The new menu starts today – enjoy!