Good Food and Much More
by Gabby Crabcakes
Spring is in the air. I know this because suddenly the phone is ringing as the weekend approaches and friends who live in D.C. and Virginia call (where were they all winter?). The agenda is familiar. "Where can we go for a relaxing meal on the water?"
A favorite spot is tucked on a peninsula in Deale. Skipper's Pier may be hard to find, but you're glad you did when you settle down at one of the waterside tables and enjoy sunset views, lively entertainment and good food.
Open from March through November, Skipper's Pier caters to the needs of children of all ages.
Recent renovations have updated both the inside and outside dining areas. The inside features highly polished tables and booths, a long, comfortable bar; clean bathrooms (with fresh flowers, no less) and picture windows looking out on the activities of Tracey's Creek. When dining outside, you may choose one of the many picnic-style tables either covered or in direct sun. A new pink tent allows shelter from the rays, wind and inclement weather but gives lots of fresh air: it has roll-up sides. For the little ones there's a charming ship-shaped playhouse and sandbox area.
Service is young, enthusiastic and accommodating. Short-shorts and T-shirts are the uniform.
The menu highlights Bay and bar bounty with some nice culinary twists and surprises supplemented by daily specials. For a late lunch on a beautiful day, we started with a selection of appetizers.
Fried catfish nuggets ($6.95), a special that day, were too intriguing to pass up. We were served an appealing platter of Southern-fried nuggets accompanied by a slightly tangy roumalade and corn pancake. The fish was dense yet moist, complemented by the seasoned breading. Other choices were more traditional. The steamer platter ($6.95) included 14-pound spiced steamed shrimp, 14-pound clams and 14-pound mussels, all accompanied by cocktail sauce and melted butter. There was just enough for the four of us to sample each. Everything was steamed perfectly, but the mussels were the size of raisins.
We also couldn't pass up an order of Skipper's original hot crab dip ($6.95), a creamy concoction including artichokes, spinach, Monterey Jack and cream cheeses blended with claw meat. Served in a hot chafing dish, it was complemented by warm sourdough bread. Like most, I prefer either lump or backfin, but this rich recipe still had lots of flavor.
For our entrees we were tempted by two specials of the day: pepper seared tuna ($16.95) served with vegetable ratatouille, mashed potatoes with basil veal sauce and a house salad; seared filet mignon ($16.95) stuffed with a seafood mousse and served with fresh asparagus, Anne potatoes (layers of fried potatoes and onions) and a house salad. On the main menu, we were torn between pan-seared rockfish ($15.95) served with fresh corn and wild mushroom salsa, wild rice pilaf and house salad; and grilled jumbo shrimp ($14.95) served with a roasted garlic Alfredo sauce, lemon pepper linguini pasta and house salad.
We, however, decided to chose from the light fare menu. We compromised on three sandwiches and had them each cut in four, including a salmon BLT ($7.50); grilled chicken sandwich ($5.50) served with bacon, melted provolone, and sun-dried tomato mayonnaise; and a large backfin crabcake served on a sourdough roll ($9.95). All of our sandwiches were served with curly French fries and a pickle. A debate swiftly ensued as to which was the favorite. I sided with the very meaty and ample crabcake, but the three empty plates made their own statement.
It would be one thing if Skipper's Pier were just about food, but there's much more. The dock bar, easily accessible by boat, is a party spot during the warm weather. There are regularly bands, fund-raisers and contests. Or if you want to enjoy the quiet moments, it is a lovely spot to watch the boats go by.
Skipper's Pier 6158 Drum Point Rd., Deale · 410/867-7110
Proprietors: John & Raye Price
Reason to go: Impress your out-of-town friends by knowing the 'insider's' favorites.
Something to think about: You'll have a heck of a time finding it the first time.
| Issue 20 |
Volume VII Number 20
May 20-26, 1999
New Bay Times
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