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We went to DRY 85 on a tip from a friend who said it has good steak and burgers. The fact that the Main Street location has been here since 2014 is a nod to its staying power in Annapolis.
The interior is dark and welcoming. With the atmosphere of an old-school taproom, this place invites you to sneak off for a lost afternoon with a secret friend. Or you could belly up to the curved bar to make some new friends watching the Os while sampling from the staggering collection of this, that, and the other thing.
We visit on a sunny, warm late summer evening and opt for outdoor seating: Main Street, front row. This is a great place to sit and watch the world go by. We try some cocktails: Lavender Fields of Kentucky, Whisky Sour, and the Vieux Carré, for starters. Lavender Fields of Kentucky is a tasty, sweet drink that is a complete and total delight. We all agree about the superiority of this cocktail. The whisky sour is less satisfying. While lovely to look at, the beverage is not bold enough to warrant having another. The Vieux Carré is a delicious, rich drink with lots of floral notes.
The bill of fare trends toward comfort food. Fried Green Tomatoes look pretty, nicely crusted with Panko and garnished with a drizzle of balsamic and a beurre blanc sauce on the side. But with centers that are oddly tough and chewy, these tomatoes are less than perfect. An optional add-on of crab salad is disappointingly ‘off.’ Brussels Sprouts of the Day are better, well prepared with a smattering of feta.
The DRY 85 Burger is one ambitious sandwich with a lot going on, but it all works together beautifully. A half-pound burger topped with pulled pork, thick-cut bacon, and a bourbon barbecue sauce, this sandwich is not pretty to look at. In fact, it came to the table looking homely and squashed. But one bite confirmed the genius of putting all that stuff into a bun. Paired with hand-cut fries and sriracha ketchup, this burger is a real winner.
The filet mignon is a different story. Arriving perfectly medium rare but tepid, the steak was rather disappointing. Scalloped potatoes are heavy with beef flavor. A green salad, while served with ample ingredients, is ordinary.
While the pork ribs are fall-apart tender in a blueberry sauce, the meat was cooked too long to have any of that delicious flavor you would want in ribs. Cheesy grits, although not a standout, are true to their name: creamy and cheesy. The coleslaw is quite good, too.
Bottom line? DRY 85 is a fun place to sample whisky. Its award-winning selections are well worth exploring. We will come back at a later date to try the Blue Cheese and Fig Burger, topped with caramelized onions. And maybe another Lavender Fields of Kentucky!
193B Main Street, Annapolis, MD 21401 | dry85.com | 443.214.5171
Hours of Operation:
M-TH 11:30 am – Midnight
F-Sat 11:00 am – 2:00 am
Sun 10:00 am – Midnight
© Annapolis Home Magazine
Vol. 14, No. 5 2023