It seems like everyone in Severna Park has been talking about Sullivan’s Cove, the new restaurant that has taken over the space previously owned by Annapolis Seafood. As a lover of all things that come out of the ocean, I was a little sad when the old restaurant disappeared, leaving an empty space in its wake, but my trip to Sullivan’s Cove made me happy for the change and assured me that the shopping center in Severna Park would remain an oasis of fantastic food for the region.
My husband and I, along with our 6- and 7-year-old sons, visited the restaurant on a Wednesday night at the beginning of the dinner hour (around 5:00pm). Business was slow when we first arrived, but by the time we left, nearly all the roomy booths, wooden tables and the bar area were mostly filled up. Sullivan’s was like a cozy refuge on a freezing, drizzly evening. A fire crackled in a rustic cast-iron fireplace, inviting us into the clean, trendy atmosphere. High ceilings were painted black, and hardwood floors fed into the mildly nautical feel of the establishment. It was classy enough for a terrific date night but relaxed enough that we felt comfortable bringing the kids (even if we looked like bad parents for instantly handing them tablets).
Our waiter, Mike, quickly arrived at our table and greeted us. He was friendly and knowledgeable of the menu, able to offer us multiple spot-on recommendations for appetizers, meals and desserts. He had a great sense of humor and kept our drinks topped off throughout the evening.
Per Mike’s recommendation, we opted for the crispy sprouts. Truth be told, I ordered this dish somewhat begrudgingly — on an appetizer menu filled with candied bacon, trip dip (three creamy types of dip paired with naan), and pretzel monkey bread, who really wants to order a vegetable-based appetizer? I ordered the sprouts in an effort to assuage my guilt for the carbs I would eat at dinner, but I still fretted that it would be a mistake.
The sprouts arrived quickly and steaming hot. The (nearly) guilt-free dish was filled with chargrilled, crispy Brussels sprouts and diced apples cooked in browned butter and mixed with creamy, tangy feta cheese. This ignited a flavor explosion, and large enough that — even though it’s defined as a “kitchen snack” on the menu — it could have made up a whole meal for me.
My husband ordered a 1759 stout smash burger, and I went with a fancy ramen bowl from the “Large Plates” section of the menu. There were also several kinds of salads and sandwiches to choose from, along with large plates of crab cakes, rockfish, ratatouille, muscles linguine, and a few meat-based deals. Multiple vegan options were available. Both of our kids ordered burgers and fries from the kids menu.
Again, the food arrived quickly and was served hot. My ramen bowl was large, filled with flavorful broth, soft noodles, and colorful pickled vegetables. I’ve tried fancy ramen only a few times; I tend to associate the noodles with the stuff I ate in college when I had only a dollar in my account. This ramen was light years away from my college nightmares, however, it was full of flavor, and the noodles were dense and not at all mushy, and the pickled vegetables and split boiled egg added a dimension of texture that created a modern comfort food classic. You can choose between chicken, shrimp, beef, pork belly, or salmon; I opted for the shrimp, which were juicy and firm and just the right size to scoop up with chopsticks. It was the perfect portion size, enough to fill me up without overstuffing myself. I will note that it is a very salty dish, which, of course, brought out the flavor undertones of ginger, cilantro and sesame. If you are a salt lover, you will be satisfied with this dish; if not, it could be slightly overpowering by the time you get to the bottom of the bowl. I was a happy camper as I slurped the noodles back, however.
My husband’s meal was a melt-in-your-mouth burger that exceeded the flavor, texture, temperature and size standards that I have for my burgers. The bun was buttered and grilled so that it was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Two grilled patties were juicy and satisfying, and topped with sweet caramelized onions that made my eyes roll back in my head. The flavor was so good that I didn’t even mind the raised eyebrows from fellow diners as I licked the juice off my chin. The French fries I nabbed from my kids’ plates were tasty as well.
There were only a few choices for desserts, but they all looked so good. I wobbled back and forth between the “midnight snack” (made from chocolate ganache, caramel, peanut butter powder, and ice cream) and the “variations of berries” (raspberry sorbet, blackberry sponge cake, citrus meringue, and candied blueberries), but finally settled on the “cookies and cream” recommended, again, by Mike. The cookies and cream was a large, warm, salted caramel cookie cooked in a skillet and topped with creamy white chocolate ice cream. The salt added another taste dimension to the super-sweet, melted cookie, and the ice cream was indulgent. The white chocolate added another flavor surprise to a dish that exceeded the ordinary.
The whole meal, including a coffee, a soda, an appetizer, two kids meals, a burger, an entrée and a dessert, came out to a little over $75. The price tag is a little heftier than we would normally opt for on a night out with the kids, so I think that when we go back we will probably choose to do so for a date night.
A final note: this is a great place to eat if you have gluten allergies. My son, who has celiac disease, was able to eat the French fries and a burger on a gluten-free bun. I was nervous when we arrived because when I had called earlier to ask about gluten-free options, the young woman I talked to was not overly helpful. Our waiter, however, got the manager for us and brought him to the table to explain the gluten-free cooking procedures. The manager assured us that everything that was marked gluten-free was made with gluten-free ingredients and fried or cooked separately from anything containing regular flour. He even (without prompting from us) called the fry manufacturer before he came over to our table so that he could be 100% sure that nothing would encounter cross-contamination and provoke a reaction.
Next time you’re in Severna Park, head to Sullivan’s for a night of flavor and fun you won’t soon forget!