On a very chilly Sunday evening in January, my wife, Chandra, members of my extended family and I went to dinner at Allison’s Restaurant in Crofton.
We had been there once before years ago when if first opened, and I wanted to see how the restaurant had grown. After parking we ran from the car to the front door, already freezing after a few short steps, and entered enjoying the aromas of hot bread and sumptuous meals coming from the nicely furnished dining room.
We sat down and were greeted with a variety of breads; rosemary focaccia and a slightly sweet polenta bread. The focaccia could have been baked a little more.
All hungry, we each ordered a starter and a bottle of wine for the table. I tried the cornmeal crusted oysters ($10.50), which had a light cornmeal crust, coleslaw with diced tomatoes and a yellow pepper coulis. The crust was lacking in seasoning but was otherwise pleasant. The slaw and sauce were enjoyable, both complementing the oysters well.
Chandra chose the tomato crab soup ($5.50), a special for that evening. This was not a Maryland crab, but more of a puréed tomato soup with pieces of crab. It was creamy and tasted very good.
The wild mushroom ravioli ($9.50) was made with a nice fresh pasta filled with fresh mushrooms, a creamy mushroom sauce and more mushrooms.
The fried calamari ($10) was lightly breaded and very well done. It was served with a pleasant sweet and tangy Thai chili sauce.
The wine we chose was a 2016 Pasqua Sangiovese. This was a bold and slightly fruity red which everyone enjoyed as a general sipper.
For a main, I chose the chicken limone ($14.50), a house favorite. This was tender, light breaded chicken breast with a subtle lemon sauce. It was served with angel hair pasta tossed in a splash of tomato sauce and a cordon of pesto sauce. This dish was done very well, and I could see why it was a best seller.
Chandra chose the penne amatriciana with grilled chicken ($16), another special for that day. This was a chunky tomato sauce over tender penne pasta with grilled chicken. The flavors were rich and enjoyable. We all ate off of this plate.
The fettuccine aurora ($18) had tender house-made noodles, fresh spinach and fresh seafood. This was good, but the sauce was somewhat two-dimensional.
The braised beef ravioli ($16) with Roma tomato sauce (another daily special) was that same tender pasta filled with an almost creamy beef filling and topped with a chunky tomato sauce. This dish was delicious.
Although the portions sizes were generous, and we ate almost everything that hit the table, when we heard that many of the desserts were made in-house, we just had to indulge.
The ice cream profiteroles ($7.50) had three crunchy profiterole shells topped with a rich chocolate sauce. While the ice cream could have been more flavorful, this was made up for by the fresh whipped cream that came with it. Thank goodness for fresh whipped cream, and any restaurant that is still making it!
While the limoncello cake ($7.50) may not have been made in-house, it was made well. This was a tender yellow cake with a subtle lemon flavor. I loved that this cake was almost under-sweet.
Our final treat for the evening was the classic crème brûlée ($7.50). This had a perfectly cooked custard with a thick caramelized candy topping, and was exactly how crème brûlée should be made. I can’t remember the last time I had such good desserts at a restaurant.
Allison’s Restaurant is family owned with a lot of passion poured into it. The food was well made, with quality ingredients, and the service was excellent. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer way to spend a cold winter’s night.
WHERE: 2207 Defense Highway, Crofton
HOURS: Tuesday-Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturdays, 5 to 10 p.m.; Sundays, 4 to 9 p.m.
HEAD CHEF: Bill Hamrock
DINNER: $9 to $20
CREDIT CARDS: All major cards