Good menu, fair price, bad steak

Atmosphere a throwback to 1970s interior design

July 01, 1999|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

Fred's Tiffany Room Restaurant in Parole is a cozy neighborhood restaurant that offers a good selection of fairly priced seafood and more kitschy ambience than you probably want for a quiet, romantic dinner.

But if you decide to go to Fred's, avoid the steak. My 1/3-inch-thick, way-too-tough "filet mignon" deterred my boyfriend and me from going back unless we have no other dining options.

After seeing an ad in the phone book touting the "Best Crab Cake in Annapolis," my partner and I trekked to Fred's one recent rainy weeknight.

I had called at 8 p.m., asking if I needed to make a reservation for 8: 30 p.m. The manager said we didn't need to because it was a slow night. So, we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived, and the manager ushered us to a nice table near the bar that she had reserved for us, even though I hadn't left my name.

Fred's atmosphere is a throwback to 1970s interior design. The dark wood-panelled walls, dim lighting and sports artifacts tacked to the walls made us feel as though we had stepped into another era. And the regulars who lined the bar, putting away brews and heckling the bartender, lent a feeling of intruding on a private social club.

We started the meal by sharing a cup of cream of crab soup ($3.25), which was thick and tasty but more cream than crab. We fought over the few scraps of crab.

Since neither of us opted to order crab cakes, we decided to share the crab-ball appetizer ($9.25). We got three freshly broiled crab balls that were delicious but, again, a tad heavy on the stuffing and light on crab.

My partner had the stuffed flounder with the vegetable of the day ($18.45). It was wonderful -- the highlight of our evening. He got a huge serving of fresh, succulent fish topped with a mammoth mound of crab imperial.

My entree was less of a hit. I had the stuffed shrimp with filet mignon and a stuffed potato ($18.45). I enjoyed my jumbo shrimp stuffed with crab imperial, but the filet mignon was a total dud. It was clearly well-done -- almost burned, I would say -- even though I had asked for medium-well.

And I'm sorry, but any slab of steak less than an inch thick does not deserve the billing "filet mignon."

We ended the meal with a slice of apple pie a la mode ($3.50), which was delicious and provided a good ending to a dining experience that was spotty in quality.

Fred's Tiffany Room Restaurant

Where: 2348 Solomons Island Road, Parole; 410-224-3575

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Prices: Appetizers, $4-$9.25; entrees, $8.95-$34.95

Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express

Wheelchair accessible

Rating: **

Ratings: * culinary wasteland **** culinary heaven

Pub Date: 7/01/99

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