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Washington DC & Baltimore

Battle Bisque: the Narrows vs. Rays


Restaurants & Bars Washington DC & Baltimore

Battle Bisque: the Narrows vs. Rays

mjhals | | Oct 17, 2009 02:49 PM

Ok, ok, I know the Narrows doesn't actually have crab bisque, it's cream of crab, but I liked my cheesy title too much to change it. This afternoon my husband and I drove to Kent Narrows to try the crab soup and compare it to the bisque at Rays the Steaks (we've been there many times and are going back on Tues for his birthday just to finalize the comparison). We were inspired to go by a recent post citing everyone's favorite soup choices and the Narrows was compared favorably to Rays.

To my taste, Rays wins hands down, but I'll concede the Narrows has a very good version that may fit others tastes better. First, the Narrows version is def. a cream soup, as you can tell right away 'cause it's white, not a pretty pinky orange like the bisque. The main thing I didn't like as well was the texture. The Narrows is definitely thicker, and unfortunately I could id the thickener as either flour or cornstarch. With Rays, the consistency is thinner and the only taste I can detect is butter, sherry, and cream. In that order. On the plus side, you're given a small carafe of sherry at the Narrows to add to your taste. This addition of sherry elevated the soup from good to really, really good. And the addition helped the issues I had with the overly thick consistency. Loved the pronounced sherry flavor it provided, only problem was that to get it to the exact (thinner) consistency I would have wanted, I would have had to add a shade too much sherry. Last detail- the amount and quality of the crab. Quality was outstanding, every bite was meaty and sweet, and I'd give the advantage to the Narrows here- I've never noticed the taste of the crab at Rays being that noticeably sweet. Quantity goes to Rays though, I've consistently gotten a lot more crab at Rays, bigger hunks too.

For entrees, we both had the crab cakes, which were as reported, exemplary. Here, the flavor of the crab really shined through as there is so little binder to crab in the ratio. Really, just perfect. It's a decent size crab cake, but you only get one (I don't know why I was expecting two), so I'm glad we got the soup and oysters Rockefeller to start or I would have still been hungry.

Great birthday weekend excursion, if a little rainy. Total drive time from Rosslyn was one hour.

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