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Restaurant Reviews

Shuck's, No Jive

Shuck's on the Water is not on the water.

It's close, though -- across a small parking lot from one of the more significant bends in the Middle River off Federal Highway south of Sunrise. What used to be Durty Nellie's reopened three months ago as a bar-cum-fresh seafood spot offering fresh fish at midrange prices for locals looking for both in an informal setting.

The fish is fresh here, true enough, and the prices cheaper than more flashy locations. Oh, you'll also get friendly, capable service -- at the square bar or out on the patio or in the small three-booth, four-table dining area, with its slice of water view.

When I visited the place recently, the atmosphere played out more as a tavern than a restaurant -- as defined by the two women chatting on their cell phones as they sat at the bar chomping down fries loaded with ketchup and nursing some of Pottsville, Pennsylvania's favorite -- Yuengling beer.

The menu, as befits a tavern, is heavy on wraps (six choices at $5.99), side orders (seven choices, $1.99 each), sandwiches (eight choices, $5.99 to $8.99), and appetizers -- ten of 'em -- with four "from the shell" selections, including Alaskan King Crab legs, steamed clams, mussels, and peel 'n' eat shrimp.

For starters, don't miss the calamari ($5.99), lightly fried in fresh batter and cooked just until tender. The crab cakes ($8.99), obviously homemade from the irregularly shaped patties, brought a few smiles to faces as well with their surprising Dijon mustard sauce.

Among the ten main courses ($15 to $20), almost all are fish, including a pine-nut-crusted salmon with tomato and fruit salsa ($12.99) and a poached red snapper in spinach cream sauce. Suggested choices are the fisherman's platter ($17.99), a full plate of scallops, a filet of grouper, and two stuffed shrimp, and the baked stuffed shrimp ($16.99), plump, well-cooked, and stuffed with some dressing seasoned with that same Dijon mustard sauce.

To wash all this down, there's a full bar with a limited wine list, including four rudimentary by-the-glass options for $3.25.

You won't be surprised here. But you won't be disappointed either.

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D.B. Tipmore

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