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An NYC 'hound in Bawlmer

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Had to go to Balitmore last week for a conference. Stayed at the New(ish) Marriot Waterfront on the edge of the Inner Harbor. Nice hotel -- and within easy walking distance of lots of great chowhound destinations.

My girlfriend did the research (mostly from the Baltimore tip sheet). We spent our time walking away from the Harbor and towards Fell's Point -- which wasn't filled with too many 19-year-old drinkers during the week.

We went to Kelly's for crabs, and then unfortuntely found out that they're out of season. But we had very good crab cakes there -- my first time with the huge and delicious 'lump' crab cakes. The service couldn't have been better though. I think the waiter might have been Kelly himself. He was a leathery guy -- clearly a life-long sometimes-sea-going Baltimorean. And I think I heard someone call him Kelly (?!?) Send my compliments if you know him or the next time you go in.

One afternoon, we went to Duda's for lunch. I didn't find it too exciting but it was solidly good. We had some oysters, some of their chili with cheese and greasy croutons on top and...some more crab cakes. I love those things!

The highlight was definately The Wharf Rat. Great cask beer and THE BEST fish 'n chips I've ever had -- no joke. It was tender and just fell apart. And the batter had that bay seasoning you people use use down there -- delightful!

Also, one of my co-attendees of this conference was from Baltimore and he really knows his city well. Took a group of us to a place called John Steven, Ltd. at 1800 Thames St. in Fell's Point. Couldn't find any mention of it on the boards (unless I searched wrong). I had the steamed shrimp -- also with the bay seasoning. Now, normally (because I'm somewhat of a pansy when it comes to things like this), I have a problem with sea creatures that still have legs, etc. attached. Usually too bug-like for me. However, the sheer deliciousness of these shrimp made ripping its arms off worth it. Messy AND delicious.

Baltimore really exceeded my expectations, and we look forward to coming back this summer. Gotta catch the crabs in season -- and maybe an Oriole game or two!

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  1. That was Kelly who waited on you, and that was likely his wife behind the bar. Kelly's is one of the great neighborhood places, and his crabs in summer are truly scrumptuous. Also, if you get there on a Friday night, you'll have the chance to hear Kelly himself sing Karaoke!

    1. Were you and your party from the local Marriott? I was there that night. I live 2 blocks down and go there even if the crabs are nowhere to be found. If you were that group, I want to let you know that when the concierge called from your hotel, he called around to other restaurants to see if anyone had crabs. No one did. He is the best. When crabs are running, his is the place to go.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Tugboat

        I have to say: he was incredibly nice. He told us that he called around...and there was just something it the way he said it that made me believe it. If I lived anywhere near there, I would go all the time too.

        BTW, I was the red-headed guy who's birthday it was.

        1. re: Luke VL

          Cheers on your B-day. You know, the best part about Kelly's is Kelly and his wife Mary. They are SO great.

          The second best thing would be the crabs. They are without peer.

          The third best thing is every other item on the menu. They cook everything from scratch.

          On Thursday's, their special is a full rack of baby backs. . .with fries. . .for $6.00

          $6.00?

          ThatÂ’s right, $6.00

          1. re: Tugboat

            Wow, that's some really good info, Tugboat. We've had a few errant reccos for this place over the years, but nobody's come out and done them justice or mentioned that awesome-sounding rib special (which I'd never think to order...are they as good as the crabs?).

            Sounds like this is really the Chowhound fave. Is Obryckie's (sp?) not in the same class?

            ciao

            1. re: Jim Leff

              Kelly places a great deal of importance on the crabs. They are his claim to fame.

              But, as you can see from the NY poster, when he is out of them, the place still produces. The menu is inexpensive and pleases. They take the time to make things right. Obryckie's is not bad, just more expensive and more of an event. Kelly's is sure fire every time.

              1. re: Jim Leff

                Also, Obrycki's has that black pepper-mustard flavouring, which I understand that some people like but I personally don't. The great thing about Kelly's is that he's there to make sure you enjoy your food, not separate you from your money. Highest recommendations!