Oscar's Ale House
1438 Liberty Road
Eldersburg, MD 21784
My wife and I just celebrated our 23 date-iversary. Meaning - we started dating 23 years ago. We always celebrate this seemingly odd day, but it is special in our life. I asked my wife if she wanted to go on a date, maybe go to dinner. She agreed. I threw out some suggestions - Baldwin Station, Johannson's, The Grille At Harryman House. She chose Oscar's Alehouse.
Oscar's opened probably a year ago. I heard the opening was an absolute disaster. Not sure if what I heard is true, but I heard that the kitchen staff walked out on opening night. Oscar's is the successor to Cobblestone, Meiklejohn's, and The Chop House. Did I miss any?
I made reservations for 2 at 6pm. This place is always crowded on Fridays. You can how crowded they are by the number of cars that are illegally parked in the fire lane. If Carroll County and Maryland State Police were smart, they'd swing by every Friday evening and handout about 2 dozen parking tickets every hour. Imagine the revenue that would add up over time.
My wife and I were fortunate enough to get a seat right by the front window. The seat and the table are awkwardly spaced. Not sure if there is 3 feet from the back of the chair to the table so that fat people can sit there, or if it is just the way they had to divide the space evenly. I had to sit at the edge of my seat to reach the table. Really weird.
Our waitress was prompt and courteous, as was the staff that delivered our meals. I wasn't sure if my wife wanted a drink or not, so we ordered a round of waters first. We're not like most couples who both drink and get lit at dinner, then drive home drunk.
My wife finally decided she didn't want a drink, so with my dinner order I ordered a Victory Golden Monkey, which is a Belgian-style ale from Pennsylvania. It was really good. If anything, Oscar's Alehouse has a nice selection of beers. They have varieties of beer from Dogfish Head, Brooklyn Brewery, Rogue, Heavy Seas, and Harpoon. And if you don't like beer, they also have Budweiser and Miller Light.
We ordered appetizers, if you classify soups as appetizers. I got a bowl of French Onion soup. Instead of having melted cheese over top, there was a slice of cheese on top of a slice of bread. The cheese was nearly melted, but it seemed like a lame attempt to make French Onion soup. My wife ordered the Maryland Cream of Crab soup. It was orange. She said it tasted like cheese, by the menu said it was prepared with Sherry, so I suspect the Sherry is the cause of the orange color. She was not impressed with the soup.
For dinner I ordered the Oscar's Creole Pasta. Instead of pasta, I got it with wild rice. It was served with blackened chicken, which is fancy food talk for burnt chicken, shrimp, and Andouille sausage, peppers, onions, and a spicy cream sauce. When they say spicy, they're not kidding. I LOVE spicy food. I drop hot sauce on everything. I could not eat this dish. It was so freakin' spicy that I drained my glass of water and my entire beer putting out the flames from a quarter of the dish. The taste? Not sure. The main flavor of the dish was fire.
My wife ordered the Wood Grilled Shrimp and Bacon club. Her only response was that it was, "eh...". When we finished, she confidently stated, "We're not coming back here again."
I could give this restaurant a second chance, but it may be a while. They have half priced burgers on Mondays and was told that the burgers are actually pretty good. I may go there with some friends and drink some beer. But I doubt I'll be taking my wife back there again. She was too disappointed to want to go back.
Overall, Oscar's looks very nice. It has a nice ambiance. The staff are dressed neatly, though not professionally, and they were polite, friendly, quick, and responsive. Oscar's seems like a great place to hang out. That is, unless you want to order dinner and actually like food that tastes good. I'll admit that I spoke to someone that says that the Friday food always seems to be worse than food served on any other day. Perhaps the kitchen staff is in such a rush on Fridays because of the crowd that they prepare food with the intention of getting it done fast rather than getting it done well.
It's hard for me to recommend this place. Have you been there before? If so, what do you think?