Wednesday, May 09 2012 20:55

Rusty Scupper Improves with Age

By  John Cullen with Marty Shayt

In honor of the 30th anniversary of its opening, the Rusty Scupper invited us to a complementary dinner. We hadn't dined here in a very long time, but the main restaurant dining room on the second floor with a mix of tables and booths under a rustic beamed ceiling felt much as we remembered. We were seated next to the windows and discovered that the original, memorable view of downtown and the Inner Harbor now included awesome views of the new Harbor East area as well. (Some tables which are three to four rows back from the windows have a more obstructed view.)

The wonderful vista comes at a price though with ten starters costing $10–16, soup at $6.50 for a cup, and most entrees in the $23–34 range. We decided to start with a cup of Maryland crab soup and a chopped salad with an order of fried calamari. For entrees, Marty opted for the crab stuffed shrimp ($32) and John ordered the bouillabaisse ($30).

Marty's soup was excellent with evident pieces of crab and a tasty broth. John was disappointed to find that the avocado and bleu cheese featured in the menu description seemed missing from his otherwise average side salad ($8). The entrée-sized platter of calamari (easily shareable by two) earned our "Thumbs Up!" The crisp, un-greasy, parmesan-enhanced crust on the tender calamari was offset by drizzles of two different sauces: a red marinara and a white parmesan-pepper aioli. Marty's half dozen large shrimp were wonderfully rich with a generous amount of crab stuffing and served with nicely cooked, fresh green beans. John's bouillabaisse was almost as impressive as the view! A large, deep crock brimmed with shrimp, scallops, mussels, and fish while garlicky crostini provided just the thing to sop up the incredibly tasty soup!

For dessert, Marty indulged in an unusual sweet potato cheesecake while John opted for apple walnut upside down pie. The best part of the pie was a scoop of accompanying ice cream; a half-inch layer of rock hard caramel on top remained largely untouched and the apple underneath seemed average. By contrast, the cheesecake proved an inspired combination of sweet potato pie with a rich cheesecake totally and easily earned our "Thumbs Up!" The young man serving us, beyond catching Marty's eye, provided the kind of polished, attentive service we'd expect at an upscale restaurant.

If you've got the money, a table right by the windows, and the right dishes, dinner at the Rusty Scupper can prove memorable and well worth the expense. ■

Rusty Scupper
402 Key Hwy.
410.727.3678 •
Open 7 days for lunch & dinner
Sunday buffet brunch ($37)
Full bar • No vegetarian entrees
Parking garage ($8)

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