Garry's Grill is tucked into the back shopping area of Severna Park, where the locals know to go for good food and a relaxing time. Waking in, you can see nicely made wood booths and tables, pictures on the walls depicting area scenes and a cold case filled with desserts. A little further in there is an open kitchen, and an enticing rack of wine bottles.
Our waiter was very friendly, and enthusiastically answered all of our questions about the restaurant and the menu. He informed us that all items are made in-house, and that all pasta sauces are made to order. All around us repeat customers were being seated. The waiter seemed to know just about everyone who walked in the door. This was a Wednesday evening, and the restaurant was filling up fast. You definitely get the impression that Garry's does a good business all week long.
The menu was extensive, and we were all having a difficult time deciding. Menu items are labeled with heart healthy, local favorite and gluten free options, marked with icons. There is a very good selection of gluten free items on the meal, which was helpful as one of my guests required this option. After a quick discussion with the waiter on the most popular items, we finally began to narrow it down.
At dinner with me that night was my eldest daughter Jessica and her beau Trevor. Jessica ordered the Maryland Rockfish with a creamy crab and corn Old Bay sauce. The fish was done very well, but the sauce was a little lacking. There were nice chunks of crab, the Old Bay came off as too salty and not enough spice.
The vegetable of the day was waffle-cut squash and zucchini. This vegetable was fresh and well-seasoned, but a little under done. The meal also came with a choice of side, and Jess ordered the Garry's salad. This marked as a local favorite, and has Mesclun greens, fresh strawberries, canned pears, blue cheese crumbles, candied walnuts and a vinaigrette dressing. This was a fun salad and we enjoyed it very much. Jess and I agreed, however, that the walnuts were a too sweet considering all of the other sweet items on this salad.
Trevor ordered the apple butter glazed pork chops, a gluten free option. This was an excellent dish. The chop was moist and flavorful, with a healthy portion of spicy apple butter on top. Thank goodness Trevor is as open to letting me pick off his plate as Jess is. The dish came with skin-on red potato mash and the same vegetable of the day. Trevor chose the Caesar for his salad, which had a very good dressing and large shavings of Parmesan on top.
I ordered the Man Burger, another local favorite. This burger was juicy and flavorful, with a mid-grade patty, and nice Challah bun. The Man Burger comes with bacon, sautéed onions and mushrooms and blue cheese crumbles. This was right up my alley, and I enjoyed it quite a lot. For an up-charge I was able to make my side a Garry's salad, as well, which l knew was a good choice having just eaten several bites of Jessica's.
After a hearty meal, and a bit of a rest, we dove into dessert, which are all made in house by Garry's Grill's own pastry chef, Natalie. I love a place that actually has a pastry chef.
Jessica chose the Derby Pie, a chocolate and pecan classic. This version was a fairly dense, but it had great flavor. It was suggested that she get it warm with vanilla ice cream, which was a good call. It was kind of like having a large, warm chocolate chip cookie a la mode.
Trevor ordered the Vanilla Bean cheesecake, which is apparently one of their most popular desserts. This was very rich cheesecake topped with, what was described as, a vanilla mousse, which was every bit as rich and thick as the cheesecake. This was quite good, with lots of creamy vanilla flavor, and the wedge was easily large enough for two people.
I ordered the Banana Cream Pie, with banana pudding, fresh bananas and whipped cream. Banana desserts are my favorite, and this one was pretty good. The crust was a little soggy, as the bananas were directly on top of it. I would have preferred a fresh whipped cream as opposed to the pre-made, but the flavors were good, and I really enjoyed the pudding layer.
Garry's Grill is a great place for American fare and a touch of Italian flair. They serve good food that will satisfy your tastes without emptying your wallet. I look forward to exploring more of their menu soon.
David Ludwig is a Chef Instructor with HCAT Institute at Anne Arundel Community College.
WHERE: 553 Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard, Severna Park
HOURS: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; 8 p.m. on Sundays
LUNCH: $9 to $16
DINNER: $15 to $21
RESERVATIONS: For large parties only
CREDIT CARDS: All Major Cards
PASTRY CHEF: Natalie Boden