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Crab Cakes in Fresno?

Last really good ones I had was years ago when Echo was still alive in the Tower District and they were only offered occasionally.

I hear that Flemings and Lantana have them on the menu as apps, iirc. Any hounds given them a try or found another source?

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  1. Fleming's crab cakes are wretched.

    1. Sorry PB, I haven't had decent crab cakes in Fresno. The Central Fish Company downtown has a little restaurant attached to it and they serve all kinds of fish. I would call them to see if they serve crab cakes because while the ambiance leaves much to be desired, the fish is fresh.

      1. I have had then at Lantana and they were nothing special. Good but not "wow" good.

        1. try Max's - they are on the menu right now

          1. What about The Manhattan? I *love* their almond prawns. I haven't tried the crab cakes yet, but I bet they are excellent.

            1. Polarbear,

              I'm curious, how would you describe the ideal crab cake? Where have you had them?

              I find great crab cakes to be mythical in the sense that I have never had great crab cakes.

              7 Replies
              1. re: T.bone

                For my taste I think simplicity and restraint is the key, along with good fresh Dungeness crab. A good friend was Jonesing for some last weekend and brought over some King crab legs and knuckles, Lady PB did as good job as possible I think given the situation, but they just didn't have the sweetness. One thing is she doesn't add any bread crumbs as filler but just coats the outside of the cakes lightly before frying.

                A fellow hound gave us a couple he made a week or so ago that were out of this world, nothing over powered the sweet flavor of the crab. I'll try and check to see what his secret is and post on the Home Cooking board if anyone's interested.

                I've had some other versions (Creole, etc.) outside of Victoria BC, and on the central coast (sorry don't recall the exact places) that were good in their own way, but I think in this case less is more.

                1. re: PolarBear

                  The best I have had locally are Ripe Tomato's.

                  The ultimate keys to traditional Maryland style (my best crab cake expereince) is the utilization of Maryland Blue Crab, Sea Salt, Fines herbs and Pepper for seasoning (occasionally a little Paprika is nice), mildly flavored aioli to bind the crab and bread crums on the outside - never use bread crumbs on the inside or to bind the crab meat it messes up the texture of crab meat. The most important thing to me is that they are not deepfried!!! Clarified butter, high heat both sides in a sautee pan and then into the oven to finish. Finishing salt should be high quality and a squeeze of lemon.

                  Sweet accompaniments have always been a turn off to me - if anything Grilled or caramelized corn or roasted red pepper sides are great. Fruit Salsas are to sweet and coat the palate and don't let the flavor of quality crab to come through.

                  1. re: cshack_21

                    Thanks a 1.0 * 10^6 for the great tips, Chris. Don't recall seeing any MD blues out here on the left coast, but imagine once Dungeness are back in season that they would be great as well?

                    1. re: PolarBear

                      Central Fish can get the Jumbo Lump Blue Crab Meat... super $$$, but worth the $$$ - we may bring back our CCake soon, but for now it is retired... :(

                      1. re: PolarBear

                        As for the Dungeness - I am not very experienced cooking with it, just eating it. If it is great quality it should be very tasty!

                        1. re: cshack_21

                          The sweetness of the meat is what makes me think it'd be perfectly apropos. In season it is very available.

                          1. re: PolarBear

                            Agree completely, but would be unsure of seasoning - what may be really cool would be using an aioli flavored with bonito flakes instead of garlic ;). I am playing around with meat glue right now to see if I can get away without using a binder in the process without sacraficing the texture in order to keep the crab meat whole. I have used it in the past in substitute for gelatin for making game terrines with great results. It is expensive but will be trying to use with a combination of a thining liquid to reduce the qantity needed to accomplish the task.

                2. Have you tried the ones at the Ripe Tomato? I think they are very good.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ahmward

                    Ripe Tomato's are refined - that is what happens when a snot nosed kid isn't messing them up because he is untrained and misserable about working in a kitchen. Chef Rudy is smarter than any of us when it comes to food and doing business in Fresno. Even us crazy culinary artists look at him with complete respect. Support the Ripe Tomato! It is really one of the last Central Valley Culinary Landmarks. It is too bad Kevin Ambrose and Jay Christiansen aren't there.

                    1. re: cshack_21

                      I do miss Kevin, but he seems to have found a niche with Astoria. Regrettably, I have not had the crab cakes from The Ripe Tomato, but will make it a point to seek them out soon. The soft shell crab was amazing there, as was the smoked trout. I miss the crab cakes from Brix (let's go WAY back with that one!!), they were served with a chipotle sauce (bottom) and an avocado salsa (on top), yet the taste of the crab wasn't overpowered and blended nicely with it's accompanients. Campagnia had a good crab cake on their menu a while ago, but it isn't on the current one (I am just not good at this-I can't think of any place recently that I have tried!!)...

                  2. You might want to check out Dai Bai Dang and Bentley's. Dai Bai Dang's crab cakes were yummy and served with a tropical fruit salsa. Not the traditional crab cakes one gets back on the eastern seaboard, but good.

                    Bentley's had them last Thursday and was giving out samples. You can tell they were more traditional with the Old Bay Seasoning in them and with the bread crumbs on the outside. I found them to be rather filling just on the sample piece alone. I am not wild about Old Bay Seasoning so I thought they were OK, but they might be the more traditional ones you are looking for.

                    1. Frankly I get mine from Chesapeake Bay seafood company.. they are huge tasty jumbo lump crabcakes at a reasonable price from QVC.