Pope's Tavern at the Oxford Inn
Mar 01, 2011 12:05AM ● Published by Ashley West
506 South Morris St.
Oxford, MD 21654
Fri.–Sat., 5:30–10 p.m.
Thur., Sun., and Mon., 5:30–9 p.m.
Closed Tue. and Wed.
Expect to Pay:
Soups, salads, and appetizers: $5–12
Wine: Glasses, $5–36; Bottles,$19–75
Nestled in the heart of Oxford, the Oxford Inn is a beautiful historic home just off the water. A long porch spanning the front of the Inn invites you to come up and take a breather on one of its many rocking chairs. Located within the Inn is Pope’s Tavern, serving both their guests and the public in a style reminiscent of a French bistro. Although the Oxford Inn has been in operation for over 20 years, Chef/Owner Lisa MacDougal and her husband Dan took over just five years ago, when Dan’s career brought them to Maryland. Culinary school and a decade living in Manhattan and Chicago honed Lisa’s unique culinary style. Using seafood fresh off the boat and produce from local farmers, her food at Pope’s Tavern is fresh, local, and fabulous. The restaurant is Zagat© rated and the Inn is currently being featured on the Travel Channel as one of 30 romantic Inns across America. A private dining room is available for small parties and reservations are available online through Opentable.com.
What’s the Dish?
What’s Up?: How did your culinary career begin?
Chef MacDougal: Growing up on a farm, I’ve had a passion for food as long as I can remember. After a year living in Europe and a ten-year advertising career in Manhattan, I found myself happiest when cooking and entertaining, so off I went to Le Cordon Bleu program in Chicago, and I’ve never looked back.
WU?: Describe the culinary influence present in your dishes:
CM: American with global influences.
WU?: How did you come to open Pope’s Tavern?
CM: The Oxford Inn is the Field of Dreams for my husband and me. We wanted to create a place to which we would want to come. We built it hoping others would come. And thankfully they have.
WU?: What do you like the most about your job?
CM: Everything! The freedom to create, pleasing my guests, and the sense of community we’ve found here in Oxford.
WU?: What makes this dish special to you?
CM: This dish exemplifies the bounties of the Shore: local crabs and produce prepared at the peak of freshness.
WU?: Is this recipe a traditional recipe or have you modified it?
CM: Let’s just say it’s not the mushy, frozen lima beans Mom used to serve.
WU?: How difficult is this dish to prepare at home?
CM: That’s the beauty of it……simplicity and freshness.
WU?: Is there a particular wine/drink that goes well with this dish?
CM: Wine is such a personal thing, and, luckily this dish pairs well with many. My personal favorite is the Anton Bauer Reserve Gruner Veltliner.
Maryland Soft Shell Crab with Succotash
By Lisa MacDougal, Pope’s Tavern at the Oxford Inn
1 strip of finely diced bacon (preferably apple wood smoked)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 shallot, minced
Kernels from two ears of freshly shucked corn
1/2 cup of freshly shelled lima beans, blanched
1 cup French beans, blanched
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt & white pepper
Soft Shell Crabs
8 Freshly cleaned soft crabs
1 cup rice flour
1/8 cup Old Bay
2 tablespoons Equal parts olive oil & butter for sautéing
(1) In a sauté pan, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil. Add a pinch of chopped bacon and minced shallots. Sauté until shallots are tender. Add remaining succotash ingredients and cook for two minutes. Add cream, salt and pepper to taste, allowing cream to coat ingredients. Meanwhile, heat olive oil-butter mixture in another sauté pan. Bread the crabs in a mixture of flour and Old Bay.
(2) Once the oil and butter is hot, place the crabs in the pan, sautéing about two minutes.
(3) Turn and cook the crabs on the other side.
(4) Plate the corn/tomato mixture in the center of your plate.
(5) Top with crab.
(6) Finish with a drizzle of buerre blanc and serve.