With a literal X marking the front door, an interior that resembled a pirate ship and mixed online reviews in regards to service, Mutiny Pirate Bar made me a bit apprehensive. But a warm and accommodating staff mixed with some solid food and great drinks quickly changed my mind.
Our hostess informed us of the history of the restaurant — it’s been open in Elkridge for a little more than a year — along with its specials and happenings. We visited on a Thursday and took advantage of the $4 cocktails, which included a well-balanced watermelon mojito and an equal-parts attractive and delicious ombré dark and stormy with a rum floater.
Our knowledgeable, attentive server informed us that the restaurant has an extensive rum collection (more than 120 different types). She helped us navigate the menu, which was composed of sandwiches, burgers, salads, main courses and sides.
The meal started off solid with an assortment of items from the robust happy hour menu. The crispy cannonballs, fried macaroni and cheese balls, were my favorite. They were perfectly cooked and came with a delightful chipotle ranch sauce.
The calypso fries were also spectacular. These crispy potatoes were smothered in a creamy crab dip and melted cheddar jack cheese. The seafood gumbo was flavorful but not authentic to this former New Orleans resident. Still, it was good for anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of dining in the Crescent City.
The sauce for the honey Old Bay barbecue wings was very good — it wasn’t overly sweet and had the right amount of tang and spice.
As the meal progressed the initial luster began to fade slightly. The mussels sounded fantastic with a spicy coconut lime broth, but when they arrived, it was clear by the overly fishy smell that they had gone bad. The manager immediately took the dish away with sincere apologies.
The highly touted Calico Jack Rackham burger was good — but not spectacular. The beef patty came with Monterey jack cheese, bib lettuce, tomato and a forgettable Barbarossa barbecue sauce. It also came with crispy fries, which weren’t as good as the sweet potato fries, which we got with the crispy oyster BLT. That sandwich came with applewood bacon, sweet and spicy pickles and a creamy remoulade sauce between toasted rye bread.
The Shiver Me Tender salad was surprisingly good — especially when we subbed out the chipotle ranch dressing for the tangy honey orange vinaigrette. The tender mixed greens, hard-boiled egg, breaded chicken tenders and battered onion rings worked well together, though the greens were so sparse they almost functioned as a garnish.
I was slightly confused by the fish and chips, which looked more like gigantic egg rolls. The battered crust was crispy, but the cod was bland. The side of habanero tartar sauce sounded more dynamic then it tasted. Overall the dish worked.
I had high hopes for the steak 'n cake. The grilled angus ranch steak was cooked to perfection. But the jumbo crab cake had too much filler for my liking. The mashed potatoes that came with the combo were more of a heavy mass instead of mounds of billowy, buttery goodness.
The desserts ended the meal on a high note. The key lime pie had just the right mix of sweet and tart, while the Rumchata cheesecake was very good at capturing the distinct liqueur flavor in the cheesecake and whipped cream.
The desserts were a reminder that there was a lot of good to be found in this suburban shopping center, where the X really does mark the spot.
Ambience: A nautical, pirate-ship-themed interior with plenty of wooden accents encourages a spirited crowd reminiscent of a well-behaved but raucous pirate crew. Nothing but good vibes here.
Service: Fantastic from the hostess stand to tableside service. Our server went out of her way to make sure we had an enjoyable time. And when there were issues with the food, the manager addressed them without hesitation.