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Sep 25, 2007 04:42 PM

Steamed crab lunch between BWI and DC?

I'm flying into BWI and driving to Front Royal, VA this weekend and I want to take advantage of crab season as much as I can. i've done some research and found many wonderful recommendations for crabhouses in Baltimore proper (LP Steamers, Obrycki's, Bo Brooks, Schultz's), but they are all 20-30 mins in the wrong direction. Can anyone suggest a place that would be a bit more along the way since i already a 2-3 hour drive to VA?

I will also be in Annapolis the last night of my trip. Any other suggestions for crabhouses there besides Cantler's Riverside Inn?


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  1. The Seaside on 224 Crain Hwy in Glen Burnie, right behind the airport - great crabs!! Call to make sure they have them for lunch.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hon

      The Seaside restaurant looks exactly like what i am looking for. I'll call and make sure they'll be serving them for lunch this Sat. thanks for the rec. i'll report back.

    2. Try Mike's in Edgewater when you are in Annapolis. It is slightly out of Annapolis.

      1. the crabcake (broiled) at timbuktu off rt 100 w of 295 is about 7 minutes south of bwi and on your way. down the same side road --coca cola drive--is gunnings, with steamed crabs, but not in the top tier. and most crab places start steaming about 430, some earlier on weekends. when in annapolis, it's only about 20 minutes across the bay bridge to real crab places like harris crab house in kent narrows. the narrows restaurant is crabcake nirvana, but no steamed. fisherman's wharf had a crab deck next door last time i checked. cantler's will have a very long wait, and only some tables are outside on the creek...and the other food isn't all that great.

        5 Replies
        1. re: chowsearch

          I'm going to try to get into Cantler's for dinner, but i'll try to go by the Market House and Middleton's for a light (raw bar) snack early that afternoon. For breakfast on my way to the airport the next day, I'm debating between Chick & Ruth's Delly and Grump's Cafe. Chick & Ruth's is more convenient.

          I'm also interested in finding a bar or some nightlife in Annapolis this Sunday night. By reading these boards, it sounds like Ram's Tavern may be my only option.

          Any other thoughts or comments?

          1. re: neverfull

            Why the Rams Head? I've only been there for live music, and that can be pretty expensive. But if there's a band you want to see there, it's a nice place (no dancing though, it's a dinner club).

            I was in Annapolis this past Sunday and the bars on Main Street were open. I only went to ACME Bar & Grill since my band was playing there, but the rest of the city dock area looked pretty lively.

              1. re: 4X4

                Agreed unless there is a specific performer you want to see downtown is a little livelier. But up on West St. past Ram's Head is a place called the Metropolitan which has a nice bar scene as well.

                I like Chick and Ruth's for normal breakfast stuff. I don't think Grumps is worth the drive.

            1. re: chowsearch

              Just down the street from Timbuktu is Gunnings, where you can get nice, fat crabs any time of day. Big lunch crowd, but the turnover is quick.

            2. reporting back. stopped at gunnings in hanover for crabcakes on our way from BWI to Front Royal. this place was terrible. the salad that came with our meal had old, slimy cucumbers in it, big generic croutons, and was served with a flat ranch dressing. the crabcakes were completely dull and on the dry side. interestingly enough, the macaroni salad was pretty good even though i could tell it was made with a mayonnaise salad dressing (like miracle whip), which i loathe. this $40 lunch for 2 was completely not worth it.

              breakfast in Front Royal at L Dee's Pancake House the next morning. Country style breakfast in a diner setting hanging out with the locals. Quaint location. Tried scrapple for the first time. liked the first bite. didn't like any of the subsequent bites.

              beer and oyster shooters at Middleton Tavern in downtown Annapolis. we noticed the oysters on the half shell seemed a bit pricey and ordered a crabmeat cocktail instead. we were going to walk around and check out some of the other oyster bars down the street. then we saw other people at the bar ordering dozens of oyster shooters at a time. a little wary of the 95 cent oyster shooters at first b/c they were so cheap, we decided to try one. we were hooked. there were 2-3 raw oysters in each shot glass along with some cocktail sauce. it also came with a shot of their house beer. my boyfriend and i ended up doing 7 shooters each. what a great deal!

              dinner at cantler's in annapolis later that night. we ordered the large steamed crabs. we asked for drawn butter on the side, although the crab meat was so sweet, we really didn't need it. i also ordered a 1/2 bucket of steamers which came with clam juice on the side for dipping. i've only had these once before at pearl's oyster bar in NY 3 years ago and have been looking for them ever since. they have a long "foot" on them with a "black sock" on it that you have to peel off. these are obviously an east coast clam, as i have ordered steamers on the pacific west coast and they were always just normal clams. when i asked the server what these particular kind of clams were called, she said soft shell clams. they were twice as big as the steamers in NY. are these clams specific to the chesapeake bay?

              we also tried the cream of crab soup and the maryland crab soup with was tomato based. both were delicious in completely different ways. the house chardonnay (actually, the only chardonnay they carried) was smoking loon (better than i expected). another maryland dining win!

              breakfast at chick and ruth's delly the next morning before heading to NYC. i had a huge breakfast burrito. my boyfriend had an excellent greasy omelet with rye toast (something not easily found in the south). very cute place and convenient to our hotel.

              thanks for all your comments and suggestions.

              4 Replies
              1. re: neverfull

                The oyster shooters are the only reason I ever go to the Middleton Tavern!

                1. re: hon

                  They also do shrimp shooters!

                2. re: neverfull

                  Marylanders call steamers soft shell clams. The bay is full of them but they were never popular here. Most are shipped to New England for consumption there. Marylanders do not generally dip their crabmeat in drawn butter, we eat it as is or some dip it in a mixture of cider vinegar and black pepper.
                  The detailed report back is much appreciated.

                  1. re: neverfull

                    Yeah, but you didn't get the crabs at Gunnings. Too bad. Also, those clams with the "foot" are called "mannos", a.k.a. "bait" clams. "Nasty".