Carrol’s Creek Always a Treat
Oct 25, 2013 12:01PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds
The harvest season offers a bounty of many foods in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and seafood is certainly at the top of the list. Fresh, quality ingredients are available for any number of classic dishes and creative new ones that can become a signature item for restaurants. Carrol’s Creek has been at the forefront of the Eastport dining scene since 1983, and they cook with local ingredients in great style. Creativity flows out of the kitchen with its daily specials, brunch, and catering menus. The menu choices for lunch and dinner feature high quality seafood, steaks, chops, and a variety of fresh sides that are used in a wonderful blend of flavors and textures. Although I was there for an early dinner, I was able to see the incredible selection of their renowned brunch. Chef-carved meats, seafood, traditional breakfast, and so much more, all presented with high-quality preparation—a must-do when your schedule allows on a Sunday.
Celebrating two special occasions, my guests and I chose a table on the deck in the cool shade with a gentle breeze. A Key Lime Crush ($9) and Orange Crush ($9) were excellent choices for the afternoon, and would make for a great sunset libation, as well. Both were very well blended and refreshing. The wine list at Carrol’s Creek is obviously the work of an educated buyer. Many great domestic selections and imported bargains allow you choices in all price ranges (including half-bottles). We chose the Frogs Leap Sauvignon Blanc half-bottle ($25.50) that was well-chilled and a good match for our round of appetizers.
A signature dish of Carrol’s Creek is the Sea Scallops in Phyllo ($16)—crispy, shredded phyllo wrapped around a perfectly cooked sea scallop on a bed of wilted fresh spinach. The ham and lump crab served with it was an outstanding match. I could have eaten many more of those for my meal but we had other culinary adventures ahead. The Cream of Crab Soup ($8) lives up to its title of “Maryland’s Best” with a full-flavored creamy stock and generous pieces of lump crab. The Caramelized Pear Salad ($10) was served with a domestic blue cheese that complemented the sweet taste of the pears and vinaigrette. A nice blend of lettuce added to the mix of flavors. Everyone agreed on the good timing of the kitchen to quickly set us up with our appetizers.
My daughter just arrived home from Italy and wanted some “American food” so the Herb Encrusted Rockfish Filet ($30) was an immediate choice. This was highly recommended from colleagues of mine and it lived up to all I heard. Served on a bed of outstanding risotto with sundried tomatoes (I could have made a meal of that) with baby spinach and lump crab atop, and with delicate beurre blanc, it was a perfect welcome home meal.
You can’t go to Carrol’s Creek without having their Crabcakes ($32). A Dijon mustard sauce made these two giant lump cakes a unanimous score of 10 at the table. Tender red potatoes and fresh green beans accompanied the cakes and were arranged beautifully. I also wanted to try the Cioppino ($25) so I could have several different types of seafood in one dish. The full-flavored tomato basil broth tied in very nice with the tender clams, mussels, bay scallops, and shrimp. A sliced baguette garnished the generous portion. A Baked mini-Brie ($13) was our last choice for dinner and if you love cheese, this is a winner. Prepared in a golden brown puff pastry shell with fresh blueberries, it arrived to the table warm, perfectly melted, and with plenty of baguette slices.
Our server Tom recommended several desserts but we had quite a feast for our afternoon dinner and so we shared the Peach Ice Cream ($5). Sustainability is a hot button topic in the restaurant industry today and, as such, the Glen Arm Dairy Farm in Maryland is Carrol’s Creek’s dairy source for this smooth and rich ice cream, with big pieces of fresh peaches.
The view from the deck was like a postcard of Spa Creek with all of the activity to watch and enjoy during an outstanding meal. The service was brilliant, and it is obvious that the management and kitchen staff are well-seasoned professionals. The chef clearly knows quality ingredients and has a gourmet selection of “specials”—Pan Seared Sesame Seed Tuna ($34) and an 18 oz. Ribeye ($46) with a crimini mushroom demi glace were two such options—to tempt you away from a first-class menu.
In the true “Maritime Republic of Eastport” tradition of fine dining, Carrol’s Creek promises to be a great place for any occasion during lunch, brunch, or dinner. And, of course, stay for the view.
Carrol’s Creek Waterfront Restaurant
410 Severn Avenue, Annapolis
Main Courses: $21–34
Wine List: $22–350 (bottle)