Jump to content

Crabcakes


Recommended Posts

I know your request was for crabcakes- but this restaurant is worth the trip. Visit Joy America Cafe- its in Federal Hill- south inner harbor-. They are opened for Lunch. Plus if you have some time to spare you can check out the musuem. PM me for more details. A few details of th restaurant- chef owned, seasonal Pan- Latin cuisine, table-side guacamole with house made tortilla and plantain chips. I used to work there and always tried to make time to have a bite to eat there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am a G&M fan.

I know many will disagree and say "Gone downhill". I have been a fan for years and still am, the wait for dinner on a Saturday night says they have lot's of other fans too.

Then we will have the next group that says "Fadley's" I have never been there, so I cannot speak to Fadley's.

If I hit Camden Yards for an afternoon game, G&M on the way home every time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had excellent crabcakes last Saturday from Moe's Seafood Fisherman's Exchange, which is up in the northern outskirts, pretty far from downtown. I don't know if they are representative of the crabcakes at other restaurants in the Moe's group. My mother-in-law has been eating there for years, and in the past couple of years their menu has changed dramatically, for the better.

I also love their Oysters Christopher. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This question hinges on the “decent” atmosphere part of the question since the vast majority of restaurants in Baltimore have crabcakes on the menu. It pretty much runs the gamut from Lexington Market to Charleston (not open for lunch). My favorite crabcake in town is the jumbo lump at Faidley’s in Lexington Market. Probably not what you have in mind for a friend’s bd, unless your friend would be into standing up at one of the tables and drinking bad draft beer…you could follow it up with a Berger cookie cake from the Berger stand in the market. That actually sounds like a really good time to me but I'm probably in the minority. Cross Street Market is also a fun place for crabcakes and steamed shrimp and is a step up in atmosphere but I’m still not sure whether it meets the “decent” criteria. Mama’s on the Half Shell in Canton is a favorite seafood place for many and it has a pleasant but not fancy atmosphere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The birthday girl herself has just requested casual so Faidley's sounds perfect.

Remember that column that used to be in the Post-- crummy but good. By decent atmosphere I was just looking for not crummy. Thanks for all the suggestions!

Edited by gnatharobed
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm... well the Lexington Market atmosphere might be described as crummy.

I would definitely put Lexington Market in general, and Faidley's in particular on the "crummy" end of any scale. G&M in Linthicum is a big step above it, because you get to sit down and eat humongous -softball sized- crabcakes, and they serve good pickled beets, but I have heard a rumor (only a rumor people, not stating this in any way as a known fact, ok?) that they might use canned crab meat from the Phillipines in their crabcakes. I guess doing a bit of re-con out back in the dumpsters might enlighten.

Anyway, as others have noted, there are plenty of places with a version of crabcakes on their menu. I just had one today at Legal Seafood down by the Inner Harbor (don't start on the chain rant please) - consistently good crab cakes, pleasant atmosphere, AND they use Scharffen Berger for their chocolate ice cream. I like Mama's on the Half Shell too. One other place to consider would be Gertrude's at the Baltimore Art Museum. which has an a la carte brunch menu on Saturdays with crab cakes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would definitely put  Lexington Market in general, and Faidley's in particular on the "crummy" end of any scale.  G&M in Linthicum is a big step above it, because you get to sit down and eat humongous -softball sized- crabcakes, and they serve good pickled beets, but I have heard a rumor (only a rumor people, not stating this in any way as a known fact, ok?) that they might use canned crab meat from the Phillipines in their crabcakes.  I guess doing a bit of re-con out back in the dumpsters might enlighten.

Anyway, as others have noted, there are plenty of places with a version of crabcakes on their menu.  I just had one today at Legal Seafood down by the Inner Harbor (don't start on the chain rant please) - consistently good crab cakes, pleasant atmosphere, AND they use Scharffen Berger for their chocolate ice cream.  I like Mama's on the Half Shell too.  One other place to consider would be Gertrude's at the Baltimore Art Museum. which has an a la carte brunch menu on Saturdays with crab cakes.

Angelina's on Harford Rd. has very good, big crabcakes, but that's the only thing I'd order there.

Another option that is quite different would be Friendly Farm up I-83 close to the Pa. border. They have really good, "free-form" crabcakes and other good fried seafood offerings. Stay away from the meat entrees and stay away entirely if you don't like kids.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will come to the defense of the “ambiance” at Faidley’s, not to pick a fight (honest), just to share an opposing point of view. I’m a bit sentimental about it but Faidley’s really is one of the last standing representatives of the old fashioned seafood joint in Baltimore. For me, it represents an entire culture that is slowly but surely fading away—today more than ever—as an astonishing number of million dollar condos are being built along with waterfront. Would I go there to celebrate an anniversary? Hell no. But, would I go to wile away a cloudy Saturday? For sure.

One of the many things I love about Faidley’s is the notable absence of b.s. Absolutely none. Crusty guys gutting fish, scales flying over your head while the women behind the crabcake counter won’t hesitate to yell at the customers, if they have it coming to them. I love the fact that it has been around since the 1880’s and relatives of the original family still own it. And, speaking of that family, I love it that Mr. Devine can usually be found, wearing that incredibly silly hat, on one side of the store, helping people select fish, while his wife is on the other, overseeing the crabcake production. They are there nearly every day and have been for as long as I can remember and I’ve lived here my entire life. I love the signs touting muskrat and raccoon. Those signs scared me as a child and I still feel slightly uncomfortable when I look at them. I love that. And, I love it that you stand there, eating one of the best crabcakes on earth, drinking bad draft beer, while striking up conversations with people of every imaginable stripe.

When I get tired of the trendy, the generic and the self-satisfied, Faidley’s fixes it. In short order.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am a G&M fan. 

I know many will disagree and say "Gone downhill".  I have been a fan for years and still am, the wait for dinner on a Saturday night says they have lot's of other fans too.

Then we will have the next group that says "Fadley's"  I have never been there, so I cannot speak to Fadley's.

If I hit Camden Yards for an afternoon game, G&M on the way home every time.

I like G&M too. Very unique and tasty crabcake.

Another place to try up in way north baltimore-aka-parkville is Angelina's. It was recently sold, but the recipe is still supposed to be the same but I have not been for maybe 8-10 months.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Based on a truly disappointing visit about six weeks ago I strongly disagree with those who are recommending G & M. (Forgive me, everyone!) There is just no comparison between it and, say, the Narrows in Kent Island which I continue to believe is Maryland's best lump crab cake. G & M is indeed big/huge/large-they are just not nearly as good as what can be found elsewhere. Filler, mayonnaise, Indonesian crab-whatever-there's just not a lot of flavor or many lumps of sweet crab meat for that matter. I sat in my car and just shook my head after taking a couple of bites, just not believing the reputation they have garnered for this. A week after G & M I returned to Angelina's which I have raved about for years. Another disappointment. Faidley's was good on a visit about two years ago-but Angelina's was, too. (Note: everyone on this and other boards rave about Faidley's crab cakes. They are NOT their best dish. Faidley's makes a fresh deep fried fish sandwich piled five inches high on sandwich bread (Wonder?) with house made cole slaw and hot sauce that is awesome. Awesome!!!! On par with Benny's at Maine Avenue fifty years ago, FAR superior to Horace and Dickey's which is a pale imitation of Benny's and Boyd's when it was on H street (before it changed names (and taste) to Horace and Dickey's a number of years ago. Two years ago at Angelina's the best dish was not their crab cake but their crab imperial which was superb. But on the last visit we didn't try that.

To be honest, Wegman's is currently selling Chesapeake Bay lump crab meat for $21.99/pound. That's about $15 less than it normally goes for-WHEN you can find it. I'd argue that the best crab cakes are ones using this local lump crab meat which can be made at home. Excepting this, the Narrows, Jerry's crab bomb in Seabrook, Stoney's in Broome Island, Captain's Galley in West Ocean City and Kliman raved about the roadside dump called Ocean Odyssey in Cambridge which is a converted Red Barn drive in from the '60's. Locally, the Prime Rib has a really good lump crab cake.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Faidley's makes a fresh deep fried fish sandwich piled five inches high on sandwich bread (Wonder?) with house made cole slaw and hot sauce that is awesome.  Awesome!!!!
Joe's right about those fish sandwiches - they are a very filling (and steaming hot) treat for lunch. Faidley's also has a number of deli-style sides that you can get with your fish or seafood platters. I'm not sure that we made it clear that there are no tables in Faidley's - you either stand up at a counter in the middle of the space to eat, or take your bag and go find a table upstairs in the main building. The clientelle eating up there varies from doctors escaping the hospital cafeteria, to junkies nodding off over a cup of coffee, but there are security guards constantly patrolling to make sure the loiterers move along.
Locally, the Prime Rib has a really good lump crab cake.
But she wants (1) lunch, (2) on a Saturday, (3) in Baltimore, and (4) casual. Prime Rib is in Balltimore and serves lunch, but not on Saturdays, and is the antithesis of casual. Awesome crab cakes. The rest of the places mentioned by Joe are not in Baltimore. Angelinas would fit the bill unless the crab cakes, under the new ownership, are much worse than they used to be. Sounds like I might have to do a little investigation soon.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder now if Angelina's was under new ownership when I stopped there. Also, to be fair, I had asked for a broiled crab cake at Angelina's and, on their menu, they recommend fried. I also had broiled at G & M. For the other places I mentioned-I was just trying to give a reference point for what I considered an excellent crab cake regardless of location. Believe it or not I was really thinking of D. C.'s Prime Rib and forgot that the restaurant actually started in Baltimore!

I know it's not the same as when it was on Bel Air road but have you been to Bo Brooks in its new Inner Harbor location? They used to have lump crab cakes that, while a couple of steps behind Angelina's, were still very good. It's been years since I've been there, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

preferably one with a decent atmosphere as it's for a friend's birthday lunch!  Thanks.

The very very best and authentic Crab Cake in Baltimore is at Faidley's in Lexinton Market. It is still family owned and the reciepe has not changed in 90 years. Don't miss meeting the family there when you go, the whole market is an experience!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Angelina's crab cakes are not cheap. $28 for a crab cake platter with two crab cakes. I think your reaction was similar to mine: they were "good." Not great but rather, "good." Of course this is $28 good and for this they should have redirected me in my life's goals!

But several years ago we would drive from Reston to Harford Road to go to Angelina's rowhouse and feast on their crab cakes and crab imperial. Based on my own visit in September I won't make it past the beltway now....the D. C. beltway.

Having said this, the nondescript Bawl'mer rowhouse ambience on a commuter street which passes through a marginal neighborhood, this is a tired restaurant whose time has past. My last visit was actually rather sad; Baltimore Magazine retired this place to their Hall of Fame for crab cakes after five or six #1 finishes in a row! Today the dated clippings still line the walls of their foyer, all at least several years old.

A shame. This was once more than worth the 90 mile roundtrip drive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For those worried about the "crumminess" of Faidley's I actually loved the atmosphere. We didn't mind standing at the table to eat but can see why others would.

As for the food- wish I had read about the fish sandwich earlier because, my crabcake had a lot of filler. The crabmeat's flavor was much better than G&M's but there were a lot of breadcrumbs/cornbread or whatever it is that they use as filler. It was a little disappointing. Comparing: Faidley's, G&M, Timbuktu and Stoney's on Broome Island. I think Stoney's is the best among these-- too bad it's also the furthest from my house :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Siince this topic has been broadened to "Crabcakes" in general, let me put in my nomination in the "best of" category for Bistro St. Michaels in St. Michaels, Md. David Stein, the chef/owner, is doing very good things with French bistro fare combined with Eastern Shore delicacies. The crabcakes may not always be on the menu, but when they are, they are pure lump indulgence, held together with a bit of panko and not much else. And byob was indulged with an offering to the chef.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For those worried about the "crumminess" of Faidley's I actually loved the atmosphere.  We didn't mind standing at the table to eat but can see why others would.

As for the food- wish I had read about the fish sandwich earlier because, my crabcake had a lot of filler.  The crabmeat's flavor was much better than G&M's but there were a lot of breadcrumbs/cornbread or whatever it is that they use as filler.  It was a little disappointing.  Comparing: Faidley's, G&M, Timbuktu and Stoney's on Broome Island.  I think Stoney's is the best among these-- too bad it's also the furthest from my house  :lol:

Glad that you loved the atmosphere, so do I, but I have to ask...did you get the jumbo lump crabcake? It has very, very little filler. If it did, something was awry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glad that you loved the atmosphere, so do I, but I have to ask...did you get the jumbo lump crabcake?  It has very, very little filler.  If it did, something was awry.

I've had some hit-or-miss experiences with the jumbo lump lately. It always used to be great, but now sometimes it's got too much filler. I understood that Ms. Faidley made them every morning. Maybe that's not the case anymore and some days somebody else has too loose a hand with the filler?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Louisiana crab cakes have nothing in common with Maryland lump crab cakes like the Narrows, etc.
True but there's no reason for it, it's just tradition, pretty much identical anywhere on the East Coast or Gulf Coast where crabs are on the menu.

Traditional Maryland crab cakes also suffer from an excess of breading, but the new style of Maryland crab cakes do not.

Some things are "in the eye of the beholder," like steaming in beer with Old Bay vs. boiling in Zatarain's, but I would submit that gumming up your crab meat with extra breading is just a way of stretching the crab meat for financial reasons, not aesthetic reasons.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Crabs are my favorite food; there has never been another contender. But, I rarely order crabs in any form other than softshell because I am always so sorely dissappointed. Sometimes my dissappointment is so great and consistent that I begin to doubt my love of crabs, crabcakes, and cream of crab soup. Thank goodness all family gatherings that include more than 4 family members are held at the Narrows.

After our semi-annual trip to the Narrows today, I can say with certainty that crabs are still my favorite food. Hard shell first (and I can't wait to have some soon), but crabcakes and cream of crab soup are a close second! Amazing! And, there is absolutely no comparing with anything in DC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I, too, believe that the Narrows has the best crab cake on the face of the earth....! Still, a visit two weeks ago to Jerry's in Seabrook and an "investment" of $37 in their crab bomb along with $9.00 in their cream of crab soup showed a worthy competitor. Don't discount Suicide Bridge either. Despite it's name this may be overall Maryland's best "Maryland style" seafood restaurant in Hurlock which is a "suburb" of sorts of Cambridge. If you do go to Suicide Bridge give serious consideration to all of their veggies along with Rockfish and anything crab. As the Narrows is worth the drive from downtown D.C., Suicide Bridge which is 25 miles farther is also worthwhile.

Still, the Narrows!! I'm jealous!!!!!

Simply, the best crabcakes in Maryland which means, on earth!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the best crabcakes I've had in a long time was at El Napolito in the Plaza del Mercado shopping center in MoCo. You would not expect a Mexican restaurant to have good, much less wonderful, crabcakes, but then they do specialize in seafood. Wonderful cakes, large lumps of crab, no filler, and broiled, not fried. Two fairly large cakes for $24.95. Very good and filling too. Another reason for me to believe that this is one of my very favorite restaurants for seafood, regarless of the fact that it is a Mexican restaurant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the best crabcakes I've had in a long time was at El Napolito in the Plaza del Mercado shopping center in MoCo. You would not expect a Mexican restaurant to have good, much less wonderful, crabcakes, but then they do specialize in seafood. Wonderful cakes, large lumps of crab, no filler, and broiled, not fried. Two fairly large cakes for $24.95. Very good and filling too. Another reason for me to believe that this is one of my very favorite restaurants for seafood, regarless of the fact that it is a Mexican restaurant.
Another place you would not think of as having good crabcakes is Landini Brothers in Old Town. No filler just two good size crabcakes. At $29 they are on the high end. What was the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin, Maryland had exceptional crabcakes too but the hotel changed hands. On our last visit (March 07) it was being operated by the new owners. On a Friday we ordered the crabcake sandwich but were told they didn't have any seafood because their delivery had not come in. :blink:
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyone know of a good place in the District that makes broiled/baked crabcakes without filler? Or, at least, without mayo? I'm allergic to soybean oil- big ingredient in commercial mayo- and not a huge fan of fat/lard in general.
Do you mean filler (e.g. cracker meal), or binder, or both? Most all crabcakes have some kind of fat/binder - else they fall to pieces. I don't think I've ever heard of using lard in a crabcake though.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyone know of a good place in the District that makes broiled/baked crabcakes without filler? Or, at least, without mayo? I'm allergic to soybean oil- big ingredient in commercial mayo- and not a huge fan of fat/lard in general.
You might ask the Prime Rib if they use Soybean oil in their version. I know that they use Mayo as a binder, but I do not know if the mayo is housemade or commercially made.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you mean filler (e.g. cracker meal), or binder, or both? Most all crabcakes have some kind of fat/binder - else they fall to pieces. I don't think I've ever heard of using lard in a crabcake though.

I guess I meant binder (though who wants a crabcake that's mostly filler anyway). And I should have clarified "lard" as heavy amounts of butter, cream, or other fatty substance...not lard. But isn't grease, used to fry crab cakes, considered lard? :blink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lard is pig fat. My grandmother called bacon fat "grease" but i don't know anyone that uses that term anymore, or whether it's used for other sources of fat. In excess it's a bad thing, but we all need some fat in our diets for proper brain function, and nice skin.

Most crabcakes are either broiled, or sauteed in a little butter. The need some binding or they become just a pile of seasoned crab. Which isn't a bad thing, but it's not a crabcake. If you're allergic to certain ingredients it's always wise to call the restaurant and ask - most are happy to tell you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We were in Chincoteague last weekend, a region notorious for its horrible food, and had crab cakes at a place called Etta's. We were expecting the usual US-seacoast fare of huge portions of indifferent slop served to four-tops of bluehairs and men in baseball caps--but no. Etta's was a delightful place with a lovely screened porch overlooking the water, great service and, most importantly, the best crab cakes I have ever had. They were so artfully constructed and free of filler that I had no idea what was holding the huge lumps of succulent crabmeat together. Anyone going to Chincoteague, make sure to give Etta's a try.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The best I have had are at The Prime Rib. Another option for some great crab would be West End Bistro (it is not a traditional crab cake, but it is damn good). Surprisingly Matchbox has a really good crab cake.

Some other options might be Central, or Old Ebbitt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the same time, without being too harsh, perhaps it might be useful to indicate where crabcakes are found to be deficient, i.e. too much "filler" not enough meat.

Seems to me that Circle Bistro has always had a good one.

My gosh, I love a good crabcake. When it's right, you just know it, there's nothing else quite so delicious. I'm anxious to see where this thread takes us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BlackSalt has very good ones on the lunch menu. If you call in advance and speak with Joey Zumpano, the general manager, I'm sure that you can arrange to have them at dinner. They only use fresh blue crabmeat from the US and Mexico, not canned, pasteurized crabmeat from Asia.

Has anyone had the ones at Hank's Oyster Bar in Dupont?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's technically not "in town" but has anyone ever had G&Ms crabcakes. This place reminded me of Hereford House in KC, goofy paintings on the walls, surly servers and soda served in red plastic coke cups. The crabcakes were pretty awesome though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...