After my visit to Baltimore in 2009, I thought I knew good crabcakes. Maybe I did, but back in June I learned the difference between good and excellent crabcakes.
In ’09 I posted about my crabcake experiences here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/630656
To summarize, I loved Duda’s, really liked Obrycki’s, and was less than impressed with Faidley’s. I had also made some unfavorable comments about Lexington Market, which seemed to have offended some locals. For this I apologize, although I stand by my assertion that in the context of great public markets, Lexington doesn’t rate, notwithstanding the inexplicable love some locals seem to have for this run-down urban cesspool with its mediocre fried foods, overrated seafood, and downright lousy cookies. The crab itself was quite good in the Faidley ‘cakes, but they were heavy with filler and poorly spiced – apparently I hit them on a bad day. As for the beloved Berger cookies, I’ve had far better cookies from the packaged-cookie aisle at the grocery store. YMMV.
I digress. Since then, I’ve had a couple of stellar crabcakes. First, back in June by following the advice on this board, I had the crabcakes at The Narrows in Grasonville. Even though it had been two years since my first visits to Duda’s and Obrycki’s, I remembered them well enough to recognize that the ‘cakes at The Narrows were far above either in quality. Sweet, lovely blue crab and not much else. The cream-of-crab soup was also outstanding. Pleasant waterside setting.
I’ve also had crabcakes twice this year at the airport outpost of Obrycki’s while passing through BWI, and they were very good, but just not in the same league as those at The Narrows.
Now to the present: I had been telling people that the crabcakes at The Narrows were the best I’d ever eaten; after the other night I’m not so sure. After seeing Pierpoint mentioned on a food network show (The Best….), I went there when I was in Baltimore last week, and tried out their smoked crabcakes. Very subtle smoked flavor – the high-quality crab was the star of the show here. I would rate them equal, or at least very close, to those at The Narrows. (The soup was also a winner – sort of a tomatoey vegetable soup with a good amount of crab and bacon.)
Chatted with the owner/chef, Nancy Longo – very nice lady, and quite talented in the kitchen. I’ll go back for sure, next time I’m in Charm City.
BTW, a few days earlier I stopped in at Duda’s, and am sorry to report that (based on this visit at least) those crabcakes have fallen far behind Obrycki’s. I had last eaten the Obrycki’s ‘cakes only a month ago, so they were fresh in my memory. The crab in the Duda’s ‘cakes just wasn’t as good – I think it might have been a freshness issue.
If I make it back to the Eastern Shore, I'm thinking about trying out a couple of other places I'd happened upon while driving around in June: Kentmorr on Kent Island, and The Crab Claw in St. Michaels. Opinions?
400 W Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21201
1822 Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21231
The Crab Claw Restaurant
PO Box 156, Saint Michaels, MD 21663