Right around the corner from me is a local restaurant that, honestly, I have been discounting. I ate there years ago, and I wasn’t all that impressed. My daughter and her boyfriend, on the other hand, go there all the time and love it. Taking her recommendation, I decided to go back and see how things are now.
Mother’s Peninsula Grille is a Maryland-themed restaurant and sports bar located just down the street from Anne Arundel Community College on Ritchie Highway. The dining room is decorated with large pictures of Maryland flag art, each depicting state sports teams. As you enter, there is a dining room to the right and a large bar area is to the left. On both sides there are TV screens along the walls. Unlike some sports bars, however, the monitors do not dominate your view, allowing you to ignore them if you choose.
With my wife out of town and my kids off doing their own thing, I started my review by stopping by for lunch during my workday. Having just gotten back from New Orleans, I was in the mood for a po’ boy, and the Rockfish po’ boy ($14) sounded good. The rockfish was fresh and flaky, though a little under-seasoned. The sub roll was nicely toasted and crunchy, with tomato, lettuce and fresh-made Old Bay ranch. This sandwich also came with chips, but I upgraded to onion rings, which were crunchy and enjoyable. I enjoyed the whole dish, but I knew I’d have to come back and explore more of the menu.
Two of my kids turned up on the next day, so we decided to go to dinner. I laughed to myself when the hostess sat me in the exact seat I had just been in the day before. Jessica, my oldest daughter who had suggested Mother’s to me, pointed out some of her favorite items for me to try.
To start off, we split a plate of Cajun Honey Buffacue Wings ($12). They have a large wing and burger selection at Mother’s, and they all sounded good. Apparently the Buffacue had been removed from the menu at one point, but were put back on by popular demand. I could see why. These wings were really good. They came out cooked perfectly, with a sweet and spicy sauce and a great crispy texture. The in-house ranch and blue cheese dressings were both excellent. Too many restaurants just call it in when it comes to dressings. These dressings were light, fresh and flavorful. I was very impressed.
For mains, Jessica had a roast turkey BLT on telera (a Mexican bread, almost like a soft ciabatta) ($13). The slices of fresh turkey breast were tender. The tomato and lettuce were joined by a bright avocado, and the jalapeño bacon was tasty.
My son, Calvin, had the Caprese burger ($13). This was tomato, fresh mozzarella and pesto. The flavor of the pesto was fantastic and just burst in your mouth. The burger patty itself was really good. As Calvin pointed out, so long as you have a good base for your burgers, they’re all going to be good.
I had the chipotle chicken and shrimp ($18). This was a tender piece of chicken breast, medium broiled shrimp and pico de gallo. It was served on soft and flavorful jalapeno mashed potatoes, and was smothered in a thin spicy sauce. The sauce was a little oily, but it tasted good. The chicken had an almost blackened rub on it that gave it a nice kick. I enjoyed it very much, especially those mashed potatoes.
For dessert, they had several selections, but the ones that stood out were the in-house ice creams ($5 for 2 scoops) and the bread pudding beignets ($8). In particular, the banana peanut butter and coffee toffee brownie ice creams were a must have. Both were done very well. The banana peanut butter was exactly as advertised, with a smooth texture and strong flavors.
The bread pudding beignets were fantastic. The dessert was three fried square donuts served hot in a mug. The donuts had an airy inside and a crispy, cinnamon dusted outside. By themselves these were very good, but when we started eating them with the ice creams, the combination were amazing. These desserts were some of the best I’ve had in Maryland in a long time.
Doing these reviews, I eat at a lot of restaurants I might not normally go to. I am very glad that this job brought me back to a restaurant that I have been missing out on. In fact, I ended up going back on a third day, just to get more of those Buffacue wings.
Mother's Peninsula Grille
WHERE: 969 Ritchie Highway, Arnold 21012
HOURS: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday
LUNCH or DINNER: $10-$21
RESERVATIONS: Monday to Thursday, and only for larger parties on weekends
CREDIT CARDS: All major cards
KEY POINTS: offering 100 beers