Phillips delivers an almost-perfect lunch, with great view of waterfront in Annapolis

Tasteless stuffed shrimp were only flaw in meal

Restaurant profile

November 04, 1999|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

Waterfront dining, with a great view of sailboats on the harbor, and a menu featuring a good variety of seafood, including delicious crab cakes -- what more could you ask for in an Annapolis restaurant?

Well, stuffed fried shrimp that isn't rock-hard, perhaps.

But that was pretty much the only flaw in my recent lunch at the Phillips restaurant that opened in July at the Annapolis City Dock.

My mother and I arrived at Phillips shortly before 2 p.m. on a recent day to find the restaurant almost empty, so we were seated immediately on an outside terrace overlooking the City Dock. Unfortunately, the boat show was going on, so tents and fences blocked any good view of the water.

We enjoyed our lunch, nonetheless. The food was good, and our waitress, Keri, was warm and attentive -- a definite change from my two previous visits to this Phillips location, when the wait staff was slow and seemed lukewarm about the concept of customer service. (And, with less than a third of the dining area full, they couldn't attribute their lack of warmth to a busy lunch crowd.)

My mother and I started with a bowl of cream of crab soup ($4.99), which was thick and delicious -- perfect for a cool fall lunch outside.

We followed that up with an order of traditional-style miniature crab cakes ($6.99), which were more like crab balls. I've had Phillips crab cakes before, and they were delicious. The seven minicrab cakes were, too. But they were slightly heavy on the filler.

My mother had the grilled tuna ($15.99), which came perfectly done, medium-well as she requested. Slightly pink on the inside, tender and a little juicy, the tuna was definitely to her liking.

My entree, on the other hand, was a disappointment. The stuffed jumbo fried shrimp ($17.99) offered three incredibly hard -- you probably could poke someone's eye out with them -- overfried dry shrimp. They tasted no better than cheap, generic-brand frozen breaded shrimp in a box from a grocery store. Avoid this at all costs.

Since I still was hungry after lunch -- the coleslaw and fries didn't quite fill me up -- we decided to split a slice of lemon chiffon cake ($3.99).

Be warned, though: Do not order this dessert unless you're hungry. We got a huge slab of sweet and slightly tart cake that we couldn't finish even though it was delicious.

Add two cups of hot coffee, a gentle breeze from the water and a wonderful, sunny afternoon and, overall, it made for an almost-perfect lunch in Annapolis.

Phillips Seafood Restaurant

Where: 12 Dock St., Annapolis. 410-990-9888.

Hours: 11: 30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; 11: 30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Prices: Appetizers, $6.99-$8.99; entrees, $5.99-$29.99.

Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Diners, Discover.

Rating: ***

Ratings: * culinary wasteland **** culinary heaven

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