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Mike's Bar and Crab House, Riva


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Anyone else been to Mike's Crab House on the South River? I still take out of towners to Cantlers - it is old time "crab-shacky" and they remember it forever, but Mike's crabs last summer were fresh and heavy, and they have a nice big deck that catches the late afternoon sun, with umbrella tables for shade. C'mon summer!

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Mike's on Riva Road on the south bank of the South River today. Mediums $35/doz, Larges $48/doz. Perfect afternoon, good crab, ridiculous price for the old timers but not so bad that I bailed after I sat down. First crab jones of the year, fulfilled.

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Still, I prefer Mike's on the South River. Right now their large jimmies are $48/dozen. (they were $50/dozen at Cantler's today.)

Last night we inducted Gubeen into the society of gentlepeople who have picked steamed Maryland hardshells.

Currently $55/doz for large, $85/doz (iirc) for jumbos at Mike's, which only serves jimmies :unsure: . They ran out of jumbos around 9pm, between taking our order and getting it to the kitchen. We settled for the larges, which were mostly running on the heavy side.

Nice big space, typical crab shack parking headache but rather better organized than Cantler's. The wait for an inside table is considerably shorter than for an outside one. Wide shallow bowls of Old Bay and diluted vinegar provided for dipping your crab, but no hushpuppies on the menu, and the beer "selection" sucks if you want anything fancier than a Corona. But the crabs are good.

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Last night we inducted Gubeen into the society of gentlepeople who have picked steamed Maryland hardshells.

Currently $55/doz for large, $85/doz (iirc) for jumbos at Mike's, which only serves jimmies :unsure: . They ran out of jumbos around 9pm, between taking our order and getting it to the kitchen. We settled for the larges, which were mostly running on the heavy side.

Nice big space, typical crab shack parking headache but rather better organized than Cantler's. The wait for an inside table is considerably shorter than for an outside one. Wide shallow bowls of Old Bay and diluted vinegar provided for dipping your crab, but no hushpuppies on the menu, and the beer "selection" sucks if you want anything fancier than a Corona. But the crabs are good.

I went to Mike's for the first time on Friday night! I typically go to Cantler's, but I must say, I really liked Mike's. I too was disappointed by the lack of hushpuppies, but I thought the crabs were great, the outside deck was far superior to Cantler's, and I also liked the outside bar area with picnic tables (as opposed to waiting in the parking lot of Cantler's). I was very skeptical going in, but it may be my new place to go for crabs.

Oh, and the french fries are better at Mike's, though the onion rings are better at Cantler's.

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How is the non-crab fare at Mike's? My husband is happy to accompany me to crabhouses, but he doesn't eat crabs in any form. We'd like a place that serves decent ribs or fried shrimp or the like. It doesn't have to be brilliant - it just has to be better than Cantler's! Love the crabs at Cantler's, but even my husband - the man who enjoys Hot Pockets - thought the industrial frozen breaded shrimp there was nasty.

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How is the non-crab fare at Mike's? My husband is happy to accompany me to crabhouses, but he doesn't eat crabs in any form. We'd like a place that serves decent ribs or fried shrimp or the like. It doesn't have to be brilliant - it just has to be better than Cantler's! Love the crabs at Cantler's, but even my husband - the man who enjoys Hot Pockets - thought the industrial frozen breaded shrimp there was nasty.
The menu at Mike's is MUCH more extensive than Cantler's, from appetizers through desserts. I saw both ribs and fried shrimp on the menu as well as burgers, fried chicken etc.
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How is the non-crab fare at Mike's?

Meh, you might want to look elsewhere. Gubeen went with clams casino, which were passable but heavy-handed. Lots of dense breading, which took a while to cook through, resulting in a somewhat overbaked clam. More relevant to your shrimp question, my fried oysters were breaded okay but rather soggy despite a high degree of brownness, which suggests to me that they don't run their fryers nearly hot enough. A pity, because the little buggers were plenty meaty. Our third party thought his jerk mahi-mahi sandwich was very mild.

I'll agree with whomever posted that the fries were tasty.

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Mike's used to be in the lunch rotation when I worked in Annapolis. It was always nice to be able to sit out on the deck eating a crab cake sandwich for lunch.

Non-crab food... not particularly recommended. Maybe you can get a boat... you'll have crabs and the husband can get some carryout from Adam's Ribs from down the road a bit.

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Well, I must say my first crab experience was indeed tasty. I had a couple of "jimmies" and the clams casino.

After fully papering myself, I am of the messy marvin school, I embarked on the first one. It was very hot and covered in Old Bay. I learned the correct means of opening the little buggers and was on my way. They were very very tasty but it sure is a lot of work to get that delicious meat out. By my third crab, I think I mastered the art. I am a huge proponent of vinegar and thought theirs was a little weak. I prefer a nice rice wine vinegar to bring out the sweetness of the meat.

The clams casino were huge. Clams topped with a large amount of bread crumbs, a bit of cheese and some bacon. They were good, but I liked the ones made by Michael Hartzer at Rays the Steaks better. He uses smaller clams and they aren't overpowered by the toppings. These were just too big and a couple of the clams weren't cooked well. Also, it was really difficult to get the meat out and eat it with the toppings, because the were so large.

Overall, I liked Mike's. I have nothing to compare it to but thought the folks were nice, and the crabs seemed very fresh and tasty. I will happily go again. I guess I need to start eating more crabs so I can compare! :unsure:

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Beth and I went up to Mike's last night. The larges were 55 a dozen, tasted great and were really heavy. The larges were running about 6-7 inches. We also had some pretty nice raw oysters. Very plump but virtually no briny flavor. I have to say I was pretty proud of myself I could still pick a crab clean in under 5 minutes with one hand in a cast. It was quite a spectacle. The beer selection was fairly weak. I can't believe they don't try to get some local beers on tap. I really could have used some dogfish head. They did have blue moon and Sam summer but I'm not really a huge fan of wheat beer with crabs. Nice night, great scenery really the quintessential "maryland crab experience" I think. Oh and they did have softshells sauteed or steamed.

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We had a great time at Mike's last night. I am not going to argue that Mike's has the best crabs, but after many years of going to Cantler's, we are now Mike's converts.

I just don't miss waiting in line just to get into the parking lot, then waiting in the parking lot forever, then squeezing body to body at tables with people you don't know. Yes, there is something to be said for the Cantler's experience too, but we just really enjoy Mike's lately.

I like sitting on the deck listening to live music and having a cocktail while waiting for a table. I like how we can spread out at our very own picnic table to crack crabs.

The crabs last night were heavy and sweet. We also got some jumbo steamed shrimp and they were definitely jumbo and perfectly cooked. Add in some fries, onion rings and slaw and to me, it was a great evening.

We even tried a few desserts last night. My husband won with the giant nutty buddy cone.

There are so many great crabhouses around, but in terms of convenience to DC while still having an authentic MD crab experience, Mike's gets my vote.

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First maryland crab experience at Mike's this past weekend:

Not cheap ($65/doz. waitress didn't ask what size we wanted, so I assume they were larges).

Really good, doused in old bay but a good amount of flavorful meat hidden inside, even if it is a project to get it out.

Lots of opportunities to drop stuff in your beer (oops!)

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Went to Mike's for the first time last Friday to meet up with friends. We didn't get crabs, at least not the hard-shell variety. My two dining companions had crab cakes and they were both pleased (I did not sample, but trust their judgment). I had the rockfish fillet, stuffed. I was a little disappointed. The fillet was over cooked and the imperial was under seasoned -- liberal application of salt and pepper shakers helped. But I would gladly return. It's such a nice atmosphere and service was very pleasant.

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