Our little dining group usually goes to Buddy's in Laurel when the crab craving hits (it's convenient, but not particularly notable, with hit-or-miss food and service quality). But we finally developed some common sense and made the trek to Cantler's in Annapolis. We have seen the light.
The last leg of the journey is a bit of a harrowing drive - Forest Beach Road is wide enough for two cars to pass, but just barely. It was bad enough in a Neon, I can't imagine trying it in the Ford Excursion we saw in the lot!
Useful hint: If you're arriving just before a rush time, don't park right in front of the restaurant. If it's peak time when you leave you're going to have a hard time getting out - there will be a crowd of people wandering around that part of the lot awaiting their tables.
We arrived at about 4:30pm on a Saturday afternoon. The outdoor deck was full with a 15-20 minute wait; the indoor area was about 1/2 full (we were too hungry to wait, so we took an inside spot). Within a half hour, the whole place was packed. So arrive a bit early or bring a book. We left at 7:00 and the wait looked to be at least an hour.
My husband doesn't eat those "water bugs", so he ordered the clam strip appetizer and fried shrimp platter. The clam strips were a cut above the usual version, but the shrimp were somewhat bready and tasted mass-produced (this did not disturb my non-Chowhound husband, though). The cole slaw that accompanied it was pretty wretched (soupy and flavorless), but the fries were decent. The crab dip was good but not spectacular, as was the cream of crab soup. For the main feature, we opted for the large crabs ($42/dozen on Aug 31) which were meaty and thoroughly tasty. Now those were worth the drive! Considering how packed the place was, service was quite efficient and very friendly.
Already planning a return trip... but first I need to do laundry. Useful hint #2: If you're a messy crab eater, bring a spare shirt so you don't smell like crab on the long journey home. :-)
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