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I would love for some ambitious, young, investigative reporter to follow up here regarding the origin of Jerry's crabmeat during the peak months.
True blue, or time to call a spayed us paid?
Rocks.

Not just Jerry's but G&M, Cantlers, Bethesda Crab House, etc.

They could start by checking in the dumpsters out back for tell-tale empty cans of imported crab meat. It would make a great Memorial Day Weekend article in the Post. I did recently ask a restauranteur the source of the restaurant's crab meat, and with a polite twinkle of the eye, the information was most assuredly not forthcoming.

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I've always thought Bethesda Crab House was fabulous in-season, but I've never tried to go out-of-season. Might be worth giving them a call.

The thing about Bethesda Crab House is, that's all you get. If you are at all interested in any sides with your crabs, i.e. fries, hushpuppies, etc., this is not the place to go. (Sorry about originally triple-spacing.)

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The thing about Bethesda Crab House is, that's all you get.  If you are at all interested in any sides with your crabs, i.e. fries, hushpuppies, etc., this is not the place to go.

Pretty true. And you reserve crabs in advance, not tables.

My bias is that it's 10 minutes from my house.

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When I worked at BlackSalt Market, during off-season they sold Maryland crabmeat that had been vacuum packed in cans, and fresh lump and jumbo lump from Florida, Alabama and occasionally Mexico. None from Southeast Asia. I thought that the canned Maryland crabmeat had more flavor than the fresh winter crab from the Gulf of Mexico, though it all came from the same variety of blue crab. The crabcakes at BlackSalt were always made from fresh crabmeat from the Gulf of Mexico. That's where it comes from if it's called "domestic" crabmeat. Sometimes customers accused them of using a lot of filler in the crabcakes, but they didn't. The problem was that sometimes the winter fresh crabmeat that came from Alabama or elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico just didn't have much flavor.

Fresh Maryland crabmeat is extraordinarily expensive, and the Chesapeake is becoming so degraded that Maryland crabs will eventually disappeat, I fear.

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What is the purist's opinion of the Quarterdeck in Arlington? Personally, I've had pretty good experiences there - but, as a caveat, I have to be pretty sauced to pick crabs so I'm not sure that my opinion has much credibility. :)

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I think the important part of the discussion here is that it's not just "mostly filler and very little crab." Rather, where is the lump crab from? The Chesapeake Bay, Indonesia, Mexico? Is the lump crabmeat somewhat sweet? Relatively flavorless? I believe these last several statements are totally meaningless in most other parts of the U. S.

It would be interesting for people who rave about G & M to line up a G & M crab cake along side of one from the Narrows and taste each blindfolded.

FWIW, the last time I ate at Jerry's (maybe 1.5 years ago?) I asked the server where the crab was coming from and she said Venezuela.

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I was talking to Steve down at Mr. Bill's a couple of weeks ago, and he said he rarely gets local himself, not because of availability or cost, but because of quality. He felt the gulf crabs were heavier and tastier. Whether that's objective wisdom or an excuse, I can't say.

Mark, one of the brothers that owns Matchbox, told me the same thing. They source crab from Louisiana, and have found it to be more consistent, and far cheaper than what they can get from local sources.

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After visiting Cantler's the past few seasons for blue crab, I'm thinking of trying a new restaurant this year. I've tried Quarterdeck in Arlington but was disappointed by the patio. Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Not to cast aspersions on local establishments, but few things are simpler and more fun than locating a friend with a fine deck or front porch and steaming crabs yourself. Crab shacks are far too rare around here, I assume because of the lack of locals and the rising expense of the main ingredient.

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Crab dishes seem fairly limited in DC - (i) steamed/boiled (with or without Old Bay), (ii) crab cake, (iii) crab stuffed in other food, (iv) fried soft shell, and (v) stir-fried crabs (only at Cantonese joints). Have you seen other predominately crab dishes? Passage to India has a crab masala, any good? What about Vietnamese or Thai crabs? Malaysian?

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Has anybody ever gotten take-out bushels from Capt. Pell's in Fairfax? Quality? I was quoted $130/bushel for medium males (meh), $185 for med/large mix. We want to do crabs at a friend's out out in NoVa and they look to be the most convenient. Any other suggestions for steamed bushels to go in the general Falls Church area?. Driving them out from Maine Ave is the probably the other option, but Capt White's has been hit or miss in the past.

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Has anybody ever gotten take-out bushels from Capt. Pell's in Fairfax? Quality? I was quoted $130/bushel for medium males (meh), $185 for med/large mix. We want to do crabs at a friend's out out in NoVa and they look to be the most convenient. Any other suggestions for steamed bushels to go in the general Falls Church area?. Driving them out from Maine Ave is the probably the other option, but Capt White's has been hit or miss in the past.

I would only go to Capt. Pell's if you would be truly inconvenienced going someplace else. We order from there about twice a year and always pay more than from other places for smaller crabs that aren't as good. We got them from the wharf 2 weeks ago. I think we paid about $165 for mediums but I would have pegged them as closer to large. Chock full o' meat, sweet and not watery. They skimped on the old bay but we got over it since we had our own. Capt. Pell's is ok in a crunch but my money is on the wharf. Plus they never stay warm when Pell's gives them to you in a cardboard box.

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There used to be a Soft Shell Crab thread, but I can't find it (looked in the Everything Else list - saw Jonah Crab, Alaskan King Crab, etc., but not soft shell).  Am I just missing it?

I have let the summer go almost entirely by without having soft shells.  They're one of my favorite parts of summer. I strongly prefer them to be not deep-fried, as I'd rather taste crab than batter.

Any recent recommendations in DC or Arlington?  I had marvelous ones at BlackSalt last year, but haven't been back with the new chef.

Thank you!

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One more question to toss out there - can you get JO spice separately anywhere?

I recently bought a few bushels of crabs and asked about extra JO spice like that place uses in their cooking.  They had Old Bay tins.  "That's what JO supplies us."

I was confused - aren't they competing brands of crab spice?  Or is JO a distributor who happens to make their own wholesale spice but sells Old Bay for retail?  Or something else?

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5 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Damn, $108 for dozen jumbo! 

That is a lot.  I love crabs.  I love and have loved crabs and beer.  Crabs and beer is endlessly popular but always invariably casual.  Compared to other casual dining experiences its always been on the expensive side.  That's always been fine for me.  But $108 for a dozen jumbo.  Sounds too expensive too me.  Just sounds it.  I'm sure it has a lot to do with limited supply.  Its a pity.  OTOH, at those prices it might just push down demand.  And if so maybe the prices will drop.

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13 minutes ago, Simul Parikh said:

Did some research. A bit cheaper at Cappy's. Bit more at QD. Down by work in SOMD, upper 90s. Must be supply issues 

Tx.  Haven't done research and haven't had any this season.  ....yet.  Many years they were better priced in SOMD and on the Eastern shore, though not necessarily Rehobeth to OC.  But then of course...whose gonna drive 50-100 miles to save $10/15 on crabs.  Not this idiot.

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1 hour ago, DaveO said:

Tx.  Haven't done research and haven't had any this season.  ....yet.  Many years they were better priced in SOMD and on the Eastern shore, though not necessarily Rehobeth to OC.  But then of course...whose gonna drive 50-100 miles to save $10/15 on crabs.  Not this idiot.

Last time we got a dozen (2weeks ago?), we split them 3 or 4 ways.  It's about the only way to eat them anymore, as more a rare appetizer delicacy than an eat-till-you-drop avalanche.

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16 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Did some research. A bit cheaper at Cappy's. Bit more at QD. Down by work in SOMD, upper 90s. Must be supply issues 

If these are actually MD crabs it's just too early in the season.  We always wait until late summer to do any crab feasting; if you can wait until after Labor Day to get your fix it is WAY cheaper and the crabs are MUCH bigger for your money.  Hell, if the weather holds off there is nothing better than getting a bushel to eat outside in October!  You're going to pay a premium in June/July.  Watermen aren't going to risk their season on harvest predictions, they are going to bank money now.  That being said the early counts were the best in years, so we could see prices go down significantly as the summer wears on and supply increases.

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8 minutes ago, TedE said:

If these are actually MD crabs it's just too early in the season.  We always wait until late summer to do any crab feasting; if you can wait until after Labor Day to get your fix it is WAY cheaper and the crabs are MUCH bigger for your money.  Hell, if the weather holds off there is nothing better than getting a bushel to eat outside in October!  You're going to pay a premium in June/July.  Watermen aren't going to risk their season on harvest predictions, they are going to bank money now.  That being said the early counts were the best in years, so we could see prices go down significantly as the summer wears on and supply increases.

Yey!!!   Good to know.  Fingers crossed.

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4 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

That makes sense. I have a few patients that are waterman. Maybe instead of Aetna, I should take payment in the form of crabs and oysters from these guys.

Yep, yep.  Go old school man.  Make house calls.  Use a horse and buggy or if you want to go modern a rambler nash.  Provide services for trade.  and I bet the tax rate on crabs and oysters is pretty low. ;)   

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On June 16, 2016 at 10:15 AM, TedE said:

If these are actually MD crabs it's just too early in the season.  We always wait until late summer to do any crab feasting; if you can wait until after Labor Day to get your fix it is WAY cheaper and the crabs are MUCH bigger for your money.  Hell, if the weather holds off there is nothing better than getting a bushel to eat outside in October!  You're going to pay a premium in June/July.  Watermen aren't going to risk their season on harvest predictions, they are going to bank money now.  That being said the early counts were the best in years, so we could see prices go down significantly as the summer wears on and supply increases.

A very timely Post article on watermen and the predicted bumper crop this year.

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