By now, it's safe to say Miss Shirley's has Southern cuisine down to a science, regardless of the location.
From the Baltimore restaurants to the food truck — and now, the new Annapolis branch — breakfast and lunch at Miss Shirley's are undeniable hits.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, the Miss Shirley's in Annpolis, which opened early last month, was jammed. Luckily, a table opened and we were seated by a hostess who sported a Secret Service-type ear bud that kept her and the busboys aware of what's going on in different parts of the restaurant. The little devices helped coordinate getting food to and from tables — and made the staff look like extras from "The Matrix."
Miss Shirley's is cozily cramped. There's enough room to move around, but unless you're sitting at one of the booths, you'll more than likely have someone sitting very close to you. Don't worry, you'll still have room to eat.
Aside from the food truck, all of the Miss Shirley's locations serve the same menu. The Spicy Shirley ($6.99) is its version of the Bloody Mary. Made with Stoli Citrus vodka, it was as good-looking as it was tasty. The oversized martini glass it came in was decorated with big stalk of leafy celery and a skewer of lemon, lime, peppadew pepper, pickled okra and green tomato. All of the accoutrements went well with the handily spiced drink.
After taking our giant orders, our server kept a keen eye on us. As soon as a drink was low or a plate empty, it was taken care of. The Chesapeake deviled eggs ($10.99) was the first appetizer to make it to our table. This overpriced quartet of deviled eggs was topped with lump crab meat and tomato, but still came out bland.
The Dixie sampler ($6.99) was a crispy collection of cornmeal-coated and deep-fried peppadew pepper, pickled cucumbers and pickled okra. With a dill-garlic sour cream as a dipping sauce, this starter was a great combo of sweet, sour, and creamy.
Our main dishes were nicely sophisticated versions of Southern classics. The blackened salmon Benedict ($17.99) featured salmon on a bed of sweet potato and andouille hash, book-ended by poached eggs nestled on sweet cornbread cakes and topped with a Cajun hollandaise sauce.
The fish was flaky and spicy, while the sweet potato and smoky andouille added earthiness. The egg, mixed with the cornbread and hollandaise, made for a rich, velvety mouthful. Unfortunately, one of the eggs was cooked all the way through, ruining that great mixture on one side of the dish.
The trio of breakfast sliders ($15.99) were creative takes on the egg sandwich. There were three egg sliders: one topped with cheddar and pulled pork, another with cheddar and bacon, and the last with goat cheese, spinach and roasted red pepper. All of the sliders were served on mini challah rolls — delicious and filling.
Miss Shirley's doesn't serve dessert. But if you want something sweet and still have room, you can opt for pancakes ($10.99) and waffles ($9.99) with a variety of toppings, including blueberries and chocolate chips.
Miss Shirley's newest restaurant is a winner that smartly extends the already successful brand. We can only imagine the owners have more great locations to come.
Miss Shirley's Cafe
Back story: Though open only since early last month, the Annapolis location is already a popular brunch spot on the weekends.
Parking: There is a parking garage behind Miss Shirley's, but if you can find street parking, use that. The parking garage can be a pain to walk to and from.
Signature dish: The trio of breakfast sliders were creative takes on the egg sandwich. Served on mini challah rolls, they were delicious and filling.
Where: 1 Park Place, Annapolis
Contact: 410-268-5171, missshirleys.com
Open: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Discover
[Key: Excellent: ✭✭✭✭; Good: ✭✭✭; Uneven: ✭✭; Poor: ✭]Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun