- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reflecting its beautiful setting on the West River, the Inn at Pirates Cove has a menu bursting with seafood. Reflecting its location in hamletesque Galesville, Md., the food is simple but hearty, served with a smile and friendly conversation.

Seafood lovers have a range of choices for starters in this southern Anne Arundel County restaurant and inn, including crabmeat balls, crab sliders and crab dip. There even are oysters with crab: Topped with crab imperial and baked, they are called Cove Oysters.

For a change of pace, try fish tacos ($9.95), crisp tortillas filled with marinated tilapia, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. While the condiments were more like those for traditional tacos than fish tacos, the large fish fillet was flavorful and cooked to perfection, and it stood up well to the crisp shell.

Both Maryland vegetable crab and cream of crab soup are on the menu, along with an oyster pan roast, which is a spicy, creamy version of oyster stew. Vegetable crab ($3.95 or $5.25 for a bowl) helped warm up a chilly autumn evening. The stock was average, though, and the soup lacked the bite that usually comes with this recipe.

Catch of the day ($19.95) was a choice of rockfish, grouper, salmon, tuna or flounder, broiled, pan-fried or blackened. A choice of pan-fried tuna was cooked properly but tasted a bit bland for lack of seasoning.

The fried-oysters plate ($19.95) came with eight plump bivalves hand-breaded and lightly fried. The coating was light and crispy and the oysters plump and juicy. The oysters could have been a little larger, but they were fresh and flavorful.

Two Maryland crab cakes ($21.95) were small for the price but came from the kitchen piping hot and moist, with a baked potato and sauteed green beans.

Specials included a unique surf-and-turf, crab cake and beef kabobs. Another choice was grilled mahi-mahi, topped with lobster and shrimp sauce with roasted red pepper.

Slow-roasted prime rib comes in a 14-ounce cut for $19.95. Or try the land-and-sea pasta - tenderloin tips, shrimp, scallops and crabmeat in a light garlic cream sauce.

The light-fare menu includes smaller portions of some of the favorites, plus extras like ciopinno and chicken picatta.

In the mood for a sandwich? Options include oyster po’ boy, lobster roll, fried grouper, prime rib and a burger. Gabby Crabby is an English muffin topped with tomato, crab salad and melted Muenster cheese.

Dessert choices include a cobbler of the day (cherry on a recent evening), cheesecake, Key lime pie, creme brulee, chocolate ice cream and chocolate fudge and Snickers sundaes.

RESTAURANT: The Inn at Pirates Cove, 4817 Riverside Drive, Galesville, Md., 410/867-2300

HOURS: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 10:30 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and until 10 p.m. Sunday

PRICES: Soups/salads $3.95 to $12.95; appetizers $8.95 to $10.95; sandwiches $9.95 to $15.95; entrees $13.95 to $28.95

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