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Best sit-down for steamed crabs, Baltimore city & north

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Hello fellow Baltimore hounds,
I've used these boards extensively to get travel rec's but this is my first time posting a question in my home-town (although I've lurked a bit :)
Here's my ?:
I have a friend who is looking for a good sit-down restaurant for crabs to recommend for some out-of-towners. They'll be in the Roland Park area so he wants to keep it close to that section of town, although anywhere in the city would probably work. I get my crabs from the western burbs, so I'm not real familiar with the latest and greatest places elsewhere around town. I used to go to Gunnings back in the day but now ususally go to Capt Dick's in Arbutus or the Ship's Cafe in Catonsville, so I'm curious to hear what else is out there.
Thanks!

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  1. Bill's Terrace Inn in Essex I think has the best sit down crabs as does the Seaside in Glen Burnie. Alot of people will recommend LP Steamers in Locust Point, I have never had good crabs there myself.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hon

      A second on Bill's Terrace Inn....and in full agreement about the (low) quality of crabs at LP Steamers, although it's a great atmosphere for crab eating!

      I haven't been in years, but Costa's, I imagine, is probably still good....

      1. re: hon

        Also, The Ocean Pride in Lutherville does decent crabs.

      2. Mr Bill's definitely is the best around, I concur with the other posters. It's not that terribly far from Roland Park, and they can drive up Eastern Ave and see different Baltimore neighborhoods and sights on the way.

        Costa's Inn was not so bad the last time I went 2-3 years ago, but Mr. Bill's definitely has them beat.

        OP, if you aren't willing to drive to Essex, the crab places I know of in Baltimore city are Obrycki's, Dockside, and Captain James. Haven't been to the latter two. Obrycki's has a very different spice mix than the traditional Bawlmer ol' bay-type of spice mix, it is the color of sand and has a lot of black pepper on it. Different, but good in its own way.

        But Mr Bill's is archetypical Bawlmer. There are huns waiting tables and the owner is a trip.

        5 Replies
        1. re: venera

          LOL nice post. Balto does have many female residents of German descent but I don't think they like to be called huns, hon! 8>D

          P.S. I haven't been to Obrycki's in a few years but I like their black pepper spice mix, and their crabs I've gotten there have always been nice and fat.

          1. re: Bob W

            I haven't been to Obrycki's in years either. Didn't know if it was still any good.
            I was looking for a real "typical Baltimore" kind of place, complete with Old-Bay like seasoning (all this talk of crabs has me yearning for my Dad's home-steamed Wye river crabs with his favorite JO Spice blend...nothing's ever come close!)
            I can't believe I've never heard of Mr. Bill's - see what happens when you grow up on the west side of town???

            1. re: sistereurope

              Forgot to add white pepper as an ingredient.

              This goes to my post below.

            2. re: Bob W

              A little UBI (Useless Bit of Information) for you. Back in the early 70's, Obrycki's opened a small outlet in Wheaton, MD. I worked there as the "crab cook" while going to college. Their spice blend was black pepper, mustard and salt. Equal parts, by the fist full. Steaming liquid was water and white vinegar. Pretty simple.

            3. re: venera

              I went to Dockside's for crabs twice last summer; both were 'last resort' places, we needed to be able to walk and cheap! It's Ok, next time i'll just move my legs and butt more to get to Mr Bills since that's a fav. Captain James has a special during the week - or they did last summer - it was $20 for 2hours of all you can eat crabs; they were small but heavy.

            4. bills terrace inn,essex
              crack pot,taylor ave

              4 Replies
              1. re: salad man

                Bill's is good, but the Crackpot serves reheated crabs (which is why you can almost always get bigger sizes their, they cook 'em one day and sell another) - skip them

                1. re: Joe_So_Cool

                  why on earth would a crab house cook big beautiful crabs one day so that thy could
                  sell them reheated the next day.? this doesn't sound kosher--pun intended

                  1. re: salad man

                    I became privy to this info via an employee who I have had a long standing relationship with. Sad but true.
                    Loved the pun, tho

                    1. re: Joe_So_Cool

                      I went to Pappa's on Taylor Avenue today and got re-heated crabs. And they denied it. It was obvious because the legs were dry and the crabs were lukewarm.

              2. I went to Bill's for the first time Friday night. They had 48s and 52s. We got the 52's. It seemed to take a long time to get the crabs after we ordered but they came too hot to handle; you've got to like that. The crabs were sweet and heavy. The spice mix was salty and apllied thickly. I actually prefer O'Obriky's spice mix. All in all a good experience, I would go back