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Absolute best Crabcake in Boston?

bex77 May 27, 2007 07:47 AM


I haven't found any recents reviews on this, so I pose this question to all of you. I want to know where the absolute best Crabcake is in Boston. NO fillers (at least minimal)- just pure crabmeat. I'm a bit spoiled after living in the DC area most of my life, but now that I moved here, I need my crabcake goodness. Any recommendations? I'd prefer someplace right in Boston or nearby. I'll be willing to drive though! I don't care what kind of establishment it is either. Please help! Thanks in advance.

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  1. b
    BostonBarGuy RE: bex77 May 27, 2007 09:48 AM

    Sorry I'm referring you outside of metro Boston, but I can't resist. The best crabcake I ever had was on Nantucket at The ClubCar. The bartender has been there for 10 years and told me their secret. They use NO bread crumbs at all. The lump crab meat is bound together by an egg white and shrimp puree. I'm not sure about what spices/herbs they add, but they're minimal. Too many times crabcakes are saturated with mayonnaise and/or overwhelmed with bread crumbs. I enjoyed the crabcakes at The ClubCar so much that after having them for lunch, I went back and ordered them for dinner. Enjoy.

    1. steinpilz RE: bex77 May 27, 2007 05:13 PM

      Crabcakes? Boston? I understand the urge but this is a bit like looking for lobster rolls in Baltimore (Faidley's crabcakes, OMG... Clambox fried clams are the local equivalent in my opinion). I focus on oysters, fried and steamed clams, and lobster, here (scallops are also really good here but they seem so boring in some way)-- crabcakes are a good reason to travel. I'd be interested in knowing if there is anything good, crabcake-wise, but I haven't stumbled upon anything (I saw McCormick and Smick's has them on the menu but I can't say if they're good).

      2 Replies
      1. re: steinpilz
        tdaaa RE: steinpilz May 29, 2007 09:41 AM

        Try scallop sashimi some time for a relevatory experience. Instead of the white, tough, chewy, cooked version, you get a translucent round with a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture and sweet flavor. It is the equivalent of comparing fried oysters (plump, juicy, sweet) to raw (briney with a completely different mouth feel).

        Toraya in Arlington frequently has it on the specials menu.

        1. re: steinpilz
          susie519 RE: steinpilz May 29, 2007 09:54 AM

          I had the one's at McCormick and Smick's on Friday and it is pretty much all crab and well seasoned. I am sort of new to crab cakes but was with some aficionados who loved them. The ones at Scollay Square are amazing. And while I'm on it, I am addicted to their filet mignon sandwich. And their mac 'n' cheese with lobster is pretty good too.

        2. Joanie RE: bex77 May 27, 2007 06:01 PM

          Abe & Louie's has really good ones. I think I had a good one at Capitol Grill before but that was way before the fairly recent A&L experiences.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Joanie
            BostonBarGuy RE: Joanie May 28, 2007 07:44 AM

            I tried the crabcake at Abe & Louie's after reading about it on this board and was disappointed because of too much mayo.

          2. Food4Thought RE: bex77 May 28, 2007 05:08 AM

            Few weeks ago I had lunch at Sel de Terre and the waitress (from Baltimore) recommended the crabcake salad. Practically no filler (save for some scallion I think) nicely browned and large chunks of crab. I'm pretty sure these crab cakes make some sort of appearance on the dinner menu as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Food4Thought
              bex77 RE: Food4Thought May 28, 2007 06:41 AM

              Great, thank you! I do notice there is a crabcake appetizer on the dinner menu. It's worth a try, and I've been meaning to eat there regardless of my crabcake craving!

            2. Dax RE: bex77 May 28, 2007 10:34 AM

              I thought the crabcake at Legal was pretty good, but it has been a while since I've been

              2 Replies
              1. re: Dax
                kobuta RE: Dax May 29, 2007 11:23 AM

                Agreed. I'm a crab fanatic and Legal's version is quite good - little to no breading, with lumps of crabmeat.

                1. re: kobuta
                  Trixie Too RE: kobuta May 29, 2007 11:40 AM

                  Hate to admit it, but Dax and kobuta are right. Legal's has a very good, overpriced crabcake. No filler, just crab. They're about the only thing I order when I'm forced to go to Legal's.

              2. trufflehound RE: bex77 May 28, 2007 09:19 PM

                Turner Fisheries used to have outstanding crabcakes. I can't speak for them since '98 when I stopped working in Copley.

                1 Reply
                1. re: trufflehound
                  Harp00n RE: trufflehound May 28, 2007 10:10 PM

                  A bit far afield I'm afraid, but Ron's Landing on Hampton Beach has the real deal. They also serve authentic key lime pie here, BTW.

                  Here's the link; http://www.ronslanding.com

                2. g
                  Gabatta RE: bex77 May 29, 2007 11:24 AM

                  The Capital Grill does a good rendation, though it is actually a crab and lobster cake. It is not exactly traditional, but it is quite good.

                  1. itaunas RE: bex77 May 29, 2007 01:20 PM

                    Also a crabcake fan around here, but having some difficulty suggesting something better than M&S and Legals. Legals improved theirs after Jasper White's stay there, so given your craving you could give Summer Shack a shot. I think they might use a bit more old bay than legal, but I have had some really bad meals there and for anything else wouldn't think to recommend them. Henrietta's in Cambridge does acceptable crab cakes with maine crab, but I don't think they are exactly the style you want. In August Magnolia's does a crab festival and I think their cakes were good, but not on the menu right now.

                    A couple of local ideas that are a bit different -- Jimmy's Steer House Crab Pie (in Arlington) is one of my guilty pleasures, which serves the crab craving for times. Not much in common with MD cakes, but tasty. Several restaurants have come up with tasty cakes based around bluefish and I particularly like bluefish at this time in the season... Rendezvous I believe is currently serving this.

                    1. n
                      norwoodhound RE: bex77 May 30, 2007 09:11 AM

                      I feel your pain. I grew up in the DC area too and have not found a place up here that offers an acceptable crabcake. My advice is to order them online from crabplace.com or to bring some back on your next trip to DC. This way, you will ensure that you will not be disappointed. My experience has led me to believe that Boston wins hands down when it comes to lobsters, but great crabcakes are hard to find outside of the DC area. Good luck and report back if you do find a winner in this area!

                      1. dinnerbell RE: bex77 Jun 18, 2007 10:47 PM

                        I'm not from crabcakeville, but I have always felt that crabcakes never live up to their potential. I mean, come on crab, fried? what could be better. But time after time, they have been inevitably disappointing nearly my whole life. I concluded that I just didn't like them, until I gave it another shot at the Top of the Hub, of all places--the restaurant at the top of the prudential center, which is otherwise a total rip off and certainly not worth eating a meal at. The crab cakes were everything I always knew they could be, sweet, flaky, full of crab (no filler) crisp, moist. It's a nice view, and definitely worth it for a drink and a crabcake.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: dinnerbell
                          WineTravel RE: dinnerbell Jun 19, 2007 03:45 AM

                          Hard to find a great crabcake in Boston. Legal is acceptable, not great. Best crabcake alternative is the lump crab at Smith and Wollensky... solid crabmeat pieces, excellent. Problem there is that thats the best thing on the menu. Don't find the steaks that great... and wildly expensive. For the crab lover, order it at the bar while you watch a Sox game.

                        2. b
                          beb31 RE: bex77 Jun 27, 2007 12:12 PM

                          Travel down to Braintree -- Sintra on Washington Street has the absolute best crabcakes I've ever tried.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: beb31
                            kobuta RE: beb31 Jun 27, 2007 02:28 PM

                            I really like the crab cakes at Sintra too (and so reasonably priced!), but I'm more partial to blue crab meat, which I find sweeter and somewhat meaty chunks. The crab used in Sintra's the last time I was there didn't seem to be blue crab meat. It was not as sweet, and less lumpy, so it's the only reason it doesn't make my "best crabcake" list.

                          2. saridt RE: bex77 Jun 27, 2007 01:54 PM

                            I would agree that the crab cakes at Sel de la Terre are pretty good, but the best ones I have had were at Union in the South End, although I think they were a special that evening.

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