Thursday, March 5, 2009

O'Leary's Seafood: A Guilty Pleasure

Ok, so if you want to feel like a complete, totally insensitive American jerk, go see "Slumdog Millionaire" followed by an 8:30 reservation at O'Leary's seafood.

If the food wasn't so damn good, the guilt could be overwhelming.

So, it is with the humblest of apologies to Salim, Latika and Jamal that I tell you how fantastic our dinner at O'Leary's this past Saturday was.

Steven, Carlos and myself just made our 8:30 reservation after hurridley rushing from the theatre. We were welcomed warmly and escorted to our table nestled gently in the corner. We had a charming bayside view which gave way to the twinkly lights of boats moored in Eastport and over to Annapolis.

We started with three appetizers. Seared Scallops over Mushroom Polenta, Lobster Cappuccino and the Grilled Romaine Salad. The scallops were perfectly seared with an aggressive crust giving way to a tender opaque center over the creamy polenta. The grilled romaine was nice but I don't know that I would order it again. The Lobster Cappuccino, however, I will order each and everytime I visit O'Leary's. A deep rich Lobster bisque topped with a generous dollop of Lobster foam and served with a spoon of Lobster Ceviche. Our lovely server told us to stir in the ceviche and enjoy. Indeed we did.

O'Leary's is a seafood house and the chef clearly knows his way around a fish or two. For entrees, we had the crab cakes, which are baked rather than broiled or fried, the Sea Bass and the Crispy Grouper.

Crab Cakes: Extraordinary. No filler, all jumbo lump crab meat with a simple beurre blanc and a nice roasted root vegetable hash.

Crispy Grouper: Extraordinary. Simple seasoned grouper battered and flash fried at an ultra high temp, sealing in all the juicy goodness of the fish and creating an almost impossibly crisp exterior which was light and greaseless. It was served over a Succotash and a very simple sauce.

Sea Bass: Holy Moly! One large simple generous piece of bass, seasoned with nothing more than salt, pepper and olive oil, oven roasted and served over candied brussels sprouts with crisp pancetta lardons and a saffron rice gallette. The rich and sweet brussells sprouts mixed with the salty, fatty pancetta was the perfect foil for the luscious and creamy bass.

For desserts we had the Bread Pudding, Carrot Cake and the Coconut Cream cake with Mango Sauce. All were exceptional but I have to say the bread pudding is something transcendant.

I love it when a chef realizes that quality ingredients, cooked properly need nothing more done to them.

Service was delightful. Casual, friendly, suggestive and efficient. All in all a charming restaurant worthy of the high price you will pay to dine there. Next time I go, though, I will try to see a movie that is a little less challenging to my moral compass.

Hmmm... when is the next showing of "He's Just Not that Into You"?

O'Leary's Seafood
310 Third Street
Annapolis, MD


Sunday 5PM - 9PM
Monday - Thursday 5PM -10PM
Friday and Saturday 5PM - 11PM

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