Archive for the 'Pasta' Category

Shanty Grille

3410 Plum Tree Dr
Ellicott City, MD 21042

Pros: excellent seafood, friendly service, gluten-free items

Cons: a bit pricey

This place was formerly known as the Crab Shanty. So far, we have made 3 visits to this restaurant, twice when it was the Crab Shanty, and once as Shanty Grille. The name change was presumably to attract a more upscale clientele and perhaps allude to some of their food options beyond just seafood. Regardless, with each visit, we enjoyed a predominantly seafood-laden menu and great service each time. We actually enjoyed the restaurant so much that we chose to have our rehearsal dinner at the restaurant, and several of our guests commented how much they enjoyed the food.

With a name (admittedly their former name) like Crab Shanty, you can bet that their crab cakes are excellent. They may not be on par with the renowned Faidley’s crab cakes, but they are impressive nonetheless. This most recent visit, I had their Crab Cake Cordon Bleu, which tasted so good it brought tears to my eyes. Crab cake aside, the vegetables and potatoes were excellently prepared and were a wonderful balance to the exquisite crab cake pastry. My wife put together a meal with their Maryland Crab Soup, Chopped House Salad, and Saffron Mussels (normally an appetizer). Of course, the mussels were the centerpiece of her meal, and was so good, that we saved the remaining broth in a to-go container.

Don’t forget about dessert! Although we enjoy a range of desserts, we keep going back to the New Orleans Bread Pudding, which will take your mind swimming into paradise.

Another nice little feature is that the menu clearly labels food items that are gluten-free, so you can dine along with those who may have sensitive stomachs and a few food allergies.

Reviews on other sites (e.g., Yelp, Urban Spoon, etc.) have commented on the restaurant having inconsistent service. We might have been fairly lucky that we got excellent service with each of our visits. Our only complaint is that food items can be fairly pricey. A few items, that you might expect to be complimentary with the meal, such as bread, tend to cost extra. With this in mind, we might save our trips to the Shanty Grille just for special occasions. Regardless, our visit to the Shanty Grille made this pair of foodies very happy.
Shanty Grille on Urbanspoon


Samos Restaurant

600 Oldham St
Baltimore, MD 21224

Pros: Lean meats, grape leaves, spanakopita

Cons: No credit card, extremely crowded

We originally found this restaurant through a website that advertised the best cheap eats of Baltimore. If you go for the small items on the menu (e.g., pita wraps, gyro sandwiches, etc.), these are indeed pretty cheap, and a good bang for your buck. Other items, such as dishes off their Samos Platters sections are priced a little higher, but still offer a lot for your money. We tried one of their combination platters (Pekilia platter), so we got to taste a little of everything. We ended up eating one of the best meals of our lives.

The meal started off with a light salad, that had just enough feta cheese, that it was not over powering, and the greek salad dressing added quite a bit of zing to the flavor. The platter, itself, was amazing. The gyro meat was incredibly lean, and the chicken kabobs were grilled excellently. Each of the grilled vegetables in the platter (onions, red and green peppers) were amazing. Then there was perhaps the best spanakopita we had ever had. The grape leaves were amazingly juicy. The potatoes added an excellent texture to the dish.

This restaurant also offers pasta and pizza dishes, but we neglected these to fulfill our Greek desires. Based on the descriptions of these items, some might also offer a Greek twist. If you come to this restaurant, be sure to bring cash, as they do not accept credit card. Also be sure to come early, as the restaurant fills up quickly and could leave you waiting a while.