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Rusty Scupper Restaurant Review

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Baltimore's Rusty Scupper
Libby Zay
One of the original pioneers of the Inner Harbor redevelopment during the 1980s, the Rusty Scupper stands alone on the southwest edge of the harbor. The waterfront restaurant is known for serving up Maryland's main culinary attraction--lump crab cakes--along with other quality seafood favorites. Besides top notch food, what really makes the Rusty Scupper stand out among other Inner Harbor restaurants is the crystal clear view of the harbor, where you can watch yachts and water taxis zip by as you dine.

Rusty Scupper Pros

  • Tasty, quality seafood
  • Plentiful, filling portions
  • Tiered seating offers view of the Inner Harbor from nearly all tables
  • Nightly piano player creates great ambiance
  • Great place to take visitors
  • Attentive, knowledgeable servers
  • One of the best Sunday brunches in town
  • Rust Scupper Cons

  • Street parking is limited and the garage has a fee (get your ticket validated for a discount)
  • Seating arrangement has been likened to "cafeteria-style" dining
  • Some diners consider a visit to a crab shack a more authentic Baltimore experience than this fine dining establishment can afford
  • Few options for strict vegetarians
  • Rusty Scupper Description

  • Address: 402 Key Highway
  • Phone: 410-727-3678
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Friday, 11:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Saturday, 11:30 p.m. - 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
  • Happy Hour: Monday-Friday, 4 - 7 p.m.
  • Prices: Appetizers $10-16; Lunch Entrees $10-22; Dinner Entrees $17-49
  • Parking: Street and garage parking only.
  • Rusty Scupper Guide Review

    Crabcakes at Baltimore's Rusty ScupperLibby Zay
    From across the Inner Harbor at the National Aquarium, the shine of the Rusty Scupper's red sign mimics the adjacent Domino Sugar plant's trademark neon glow. Locals and visitors alike who have been enticed enough by the restaurant's radiance to make the walk (or drive) to the restaurant have long found Rusty Scupper to be quite a treat.

    For more than 30 years, the Rusty Scupper has served high quality seafood right in the edge of the Inner Harbor. Dishes coming out of Executive Chef Mark Miranda's kitchen feature food just plucked from the water, including fresh oysters, chilled shellfish, lump crab cakes, Maryland crab soup and other seafood specialties. Beef and chicken options are also available on the menu (including a Kobe beef burger and a New York strip steak), but chances are anyone dining here came specifically looking for some Chesapeake-inspired dishes.

    On my most recent trip to the Rusty Scupper, I started with the Mussels Marinara ($10), an ambrosial bowl of mussels sauteed in a tomato and onion sauce. The warm bread and roasted red pepper dipping sauce made a great combination with the appetizer. Next came the Maryland Crab Cakes ($32), two all-lump cakes held together with a three-mustard butter sauce and served alongside homemade mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables (on this particular night the vegetables were green beans and carrots). My dining partner tried the Bouillabaisse ($30), a delectable tomato-based seafood stew with sea scallops, mussels, and shrimp served in a crock pot that is a great option for those who just can't get enough seafood. To top of the meal, we decided to give the Smith Island Cake a try. Neither of us had ever tried Maryland's state cake, which consists of 8-10 alternating layers of yellow cake with chocolate frosting. The dessert seemed like something I could make at home using cake mix and a can of frosting--but who knows, maybe that, too, is a Maryland tradition.

    Tasty seafood aside, the best part about the Rusty Scupper doesn't come on a platter. More so than its seafood, the restaurant is known for stellar views of Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Get the right seat, and you will enjoy sweeping, panoramic views of the city as it shimmers on the water as boats glide by. Arriving just in time to watch the sunset is a surefire way to make a good impression on a date or let the Baltimore skyline make a good impression on visitors.

    The Rusty Scupper features live piano music each night, and also hosts a fantastic "Live Jazz Brunch" on Sundays from 10:45 a.m. through 2 p.m. For $38, guests can enjoy a raw oyster bar, steamed shrimp, homemade beignets, freshly carved meats, made-to-order omelets, Old Bay home fries and much more--plus champagne, mimosas, Bellinis and sangria. Reservations are recommended, as the brunch is extremely popular and fills up fast—especially on Ravens and Orioles game days.

    As a final note, diners at the Rusty Scupper can eat without guilt, as the restaurant is a proud member of the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Recovery Partnership. The restaurant donates used shells so that new oysters can be planted in the Chesapeake Bay.

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