Hangover Helper: Ryleigh's Oyster uses a different weapon in its brunch, the crab

Last week we applauded the dinner and raw oyster menus from Ryleigh's Oyster (1225 Cathedral St., [410] 539-2093, ryleighs.com) at their new Mount Vernon location. Their raw oysters were rich and refreshing and their seared scallion entree and ahi tuna burger were brilliant. So when we woke up the other day feeling the effects of the night before, we still had seafood on our minds. We headed over to check out Ryleighs' brunch menu.

The meal started off on a sour note—or a bland one, really—with their Bloody Marys ($8). We regretted ordering the house mix rather than George's mix, because the drinks tasted like little more than tomato juice. We were also disappointed that they were only garnished with Old Bay on the rim and olives and lime, when a couple weeks ago they tweeted an image of a Bloody Mary topped with bacon and shellfish and pickled things. Asking for horseradish and Tabasco, and even oysters, so we could mix the liquor (oyster juice) into the drinks, didn't do the trick.

Thankfully, the food was far more satisfying. We tuned in to our natural crab cravings and ordered three crab items, all delicious. These guys know what to do with crab, especially when it comes to brunch. The crab omelet ($12) was hot and fluffy and stuffed with mozzarella, onions, spinach, and a generous amount of sweet crab meat. Baltimore's Benedict ($13) was a beautiful heap of lump crab on a poached egg on a hot house made biscuit, topped with hollandaise. We ordered that with a rich and cheesy side of creamy stone ground grits ($5). Initially, we ran into trouble with the crab hash ($14), in that when we received it, it was missing crab meat, as well as melted mozzarella, as was advertised on the menu. We dug into the diced sweet potato, corn, pepper, and fried eggs, and after realizing that we were not just crazy, we asked for a new dish. When the hash is served (in a skillet, a nice touch) with all of the intended ingredients, it is the best item on the brunch menu. We had no idea crab paired so well with sweet potato and chipotle, but now that we do, we hope to see more of the divine combination.

Bland Bloody Marys and mysterious disappearing crab aside, we left satisfied, having replaced our booze hangovers with food hangovers, which is, of course, the best kind of hangover.

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