A Baltimore Bite: Ryleigh’s Oyster

Baltimore is quickly becoming more and more well known for its food and beverage choices. Craft beer, carefully concocted cocktails and locally grown food are becoming more popular every day. I thought it would be fun to share a review of one of my favorite restaurants in the area. Ryleigh’s Oyster is a bar and restaurant that first came to Baltimore in the Federal Hill Cross Street Market area. Since then, they’ve been voted Baltimore’s best place for fruit crushes, Baltimore’s best raw bar and nominated for Maryland’s favorite restaurant. Their latest accomplishment is a brand spankin new opening in Hunt Valley, MD on Padonia Rd. Ryleigh’s aims for a laid back atmosphere, with upscale cuisine, which is exactly what I love about it. I don’t have to put on heels and a dress to sit down for an excellent meal.

I had the pleasure of checking out the soft opening of Ryleigh’s Hunt Valley location and was throroughly impressed. The decor was rustic and nautical with lots of natural light. It was a MASSIVE change from the restaurant that previously occupied the space. Since it was a soft opening (before the doors open officially, some restaurants will allow people to trickle in while giving the staff a chance to ease into business and patrons to taste test new foods) the menu was limited, but still had tons of great options. I shared two appetizers with my lovely date. We got a half dozen freshly shucked oysters and the octopus carpaccio. The oysters were fresh and the octopus carpaccio was unique and tasted great. It came paired with fingerling potatoes, which I thought was an odd choice, but really worked! I would definitely recommend the carpaccio if you’re a fan of octopus. If you’ve never tried it, do it! It’s better than you’d expect.

After our apps, I ordered oyster stew and beet salad, while my counterpart had a fried chicken sandwich. My dad makes oyster stew at home and fills it with butter and cream. It’s pretty great, but this stew was excellent also. It was paired with shaved celery and croutons. It’s the kind of soup i’ll be craving on every cold day this winter. The fried chicken sandwich was the only downfall of the day. It was supposed to be served with spicy coleslaw and chipotle mayo, but it came out a little bland and a little rubbery. Luckily, the waitress took it off our bill without us even asking. Great service! The great thing about a soft opening is it’s a great time for chefs to take in the feedback from customers and potentially make changes to the dishes/menu before the official opening.

Last but not least, dessert. We ordered a carrot cake with cream cheese icing and a berry coulis with captain crunch whipped cream. Yes, you read that correctly. Captain. Crunch. I’ll get back to that. The carrot cake was dense, almost like a brownie and had awesome but mild flavors and the ice cream made the dish. It’s a great dessert for people who don’t love to load up on chocolate or overly sweet cakes. Back to the Captain! Berry coulis is basically a fresh berry sauce made with sugar. It was a simple sauce, paired with tiny shortbread muffins and captain crunch whipped cream with a few cereal bits to top it off. I don’t know how they did it, but let me just say… wow. It was a familiar and happy taste that came in a new form I’d never had before. The dessert was just the right size and sweetness to top off a great meal.

Thank you Ryleigh’s for joining us in the county and congratulations on the big move. I’m looking forward to Ravens games and fruit crushes this weekend!