On a cool Friday night in early November the guys and I headed out to Deale to visit Skipper’s Pier Restaurant and Dockside Bar. Skipper’s is a great summertime seafood stop on Herring Bay. Going in the off-season, however, can be a little different. All of the outside seating was closed, and inside -- though nicely decorated -- the restaurant has that somewhat drafty feeling of a summer place in the winter. Joining me that night was my son Calvin and my oldest daughter’s boyfriend Trevor. It was a rare guys’ night out, and we were looking forward to a hearty meal. The only other time I had been Skipper’s was three summers ago, and I enjoyed it greatly. I was curious to see how things had changed.
I started things off with the Crab Pot ($12), a vodka based Bloody Mary with jumbo lump crab and a Chesapeake-spiced rim. This was pretty good, though I felt it could have had more of the George’s mix. On the other hand there was plenty of Tito’s vodka, and I really loved the big chunks of crab. Trevor had the Low Country Lemonade ($7) with 44 North Huckleberry vodka and fresh blueberries, which he also enjoyed. Calvin was our designated driver.
Next we had a couple of appetizers. The fried Calamari ($10) was served with warm pepper jelly and sriracha mayo. This was good quality calamari, but not very flavorful beyond the dipping sauces. We also had the Farmer’s Tomato and Avocado stack ($9). This is layered slices of tomatoes and avocado topped with a green goddess dressing. The tomatoes were fine (not great) and the avocados were almost over ripe. The green goddess was very good, but there was too much of it. A nice drizzle would have both looked and tasted better. So far we were off to an o.k. start.
For our mains, Calvin had the double crab cake platter ($30) with hush puppies and fries. The crab cake is made with lump crab that is (in my opinion) a little over handled causing it to be a bit too shredded. It has a great flavor, is seasoned well and was very enjoyable. The fries were also pretty good, and properly seasoned with a hint of Old Bay. The hush puppies were good quality, properly fried. I feel most places over-fry hush puppies, but these were spot-on.
Trevor had the Mason Dixon Chicken ($15) with garlic smashed potatoes and squash and zucchini. The buttermilk fried chicken patties were somewhat soggy and under-seasoned. This dish features the chicken sitting on the smashed potatoes, but there was only one scoop of potatoes for both patties. Also, the potatoes lacked salt and garlic. The vegetables of the day were also lacking in flavor and seasoning. Under seasoning seemed to be the theme of the night.
I had the Taste of the Bay Trio: rockfish, oyster’s casino and a mini crab cake. The Rockfish had good moisture and went well with the SoCo corn salsa it was served with. The oysters had too much cheese (thick and rubbery) and not enough oyster. The crab cake looked and tasted completely different than Calvin’s full sized crab cake. It was even more shredded, much darker and tasted fishy. It was evident to me that the mini crab cake was from an older batch. When I pointed this out the manager apologized, and discounted my dish.
After we were finished with our mains, I was very excited to hear that all of the desserts were made in-house by the chef. I am a huge fan of fresh made pastries, and eventually we agreed on three desserts to share. The first was the Sweetie’s Key Lime Pie with a coconut praline crust. The Key Lime was silky and thick, the crust was crunchy and the berries were sweet and tart. All-in-all this was a pretty good dessert. Next we had the cheese cake of the day: Snicker Doodle. This was done well, though we all agreed that it could have been more snicker-doodlely. The texture of the cheese cake was pleasant, but cookie crumble garnish on the plate was stale. I would definitely be interested in trying other seasonal versions of this dessert. The final dessert was the Bananas Foster Bread Pudding. This was dense and smooth, with fresh bananas, a rich caramel sauce and ice cream. We all really enjoyed this dessert.
Though Skipper’s does very well in the summer, it was obvious that they are in need of off-season menu items. Also, there may be need for changes to their kitchen organization to compensate for a slower pace. I look forward to going again soon, and hope for more seasonal options.
Correspondent David Ludwig is a Chef Instructor, HCAT Institute, at Anne Arundel Community College.
Skipper’s Pier Restaurant and Dockside Bar
WHERE: 6158 Drum Point Road, Deale
HOURS: Monday: Closed
Tuesday through Thursday: 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
HEAD CHEF/OWNER/PASTRY CHEF: Jessica Roth
LUNCH: $11 - $20
DINNER: $15 - $30
RESERVATIONS: only for 6 or more
CREDIT CARDS: All Major Cards
KEY POINTS: Tuesday night Crab Night ($2.50 each) and Friday night seafood buffet.