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Faidleys

Went to the Lexington Market for the first time Saturday. At Faidleys, had 6 large oysters ($4.20 for three), They were large but mostly tasteless, and a beer. Then went in search of the famous crabcake! Ordered a lump one ($12.75) and it was DELICIOUS! But tell me fellow hounders...isn't it just crab, ritz crackers, and melted butter? I didn't taste anything else in it, even Old Bay...if so, easier, and cheaper to make at home, yes?
The atmosphere would be better and one could sit down!

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  1. I made a special trip to Faidleys for a crabcake some time ago. My wife and I both thought they were very good, but not necessarily better than what I make at home. However, at nearly $30/lb (where I am in NJ) for lump blue crab, I'm not sure they are much cheaper to make at home.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bnemes3343

      Thats the way I feel about Faidleys, they are good but not any better then I make at home.

    2. You and I should really do some chowing together -- we're both running around town eating the same things.

      However, I like the atmosphere at Faidleys -- part of the fun of it is the whole market experience, even the standing up. Making it at home wouldn't be nearly as interesting.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JonParker

        Yes, I did enjoy the atmosphere...and the market was fun...I guess I'm being snobbish in that when I spend that much on a crabcake I want to sit and enjoy it! Also...I'm sure saltines are right...it was just so buttery tasting that I thought ritz right away.
        I have found jumbo lump crabmeat for $11.50 at DiPaula' fish market in Rosedale...not from MD, but theirs is usually very good!

      2. Saltines, not Ritz.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ko1

          Do we know this for sure? I thought it was cracker meal or even, maybe, a slice of white bread. I also have to say I always thought the Faidley's crabcake was more mayo and mustard-y than buttery.

          ... either way, it's damn good.

          (Am I the only one that hates the way you smell after a visit to the market though? I love the place but I don't go nearly as often as I would otherwise, because I feel like once I leave the smell has permeated my clothes to such a degree its almost embarrassing to be around other people....)

          1. re: charmedgirl

            There was a Faidley's segment on a Food Network show in which Saltines were noted as part of the recipe. Of course, I enjoy Faidley's crabcakes and the ambience, but I do find them a bit gummy from the Saltines.

            1. re: Steve

              Great, thanks for the info Steve!

            2. re: charmedgirl

              YES! I got into my car and wondered what the smell was...followed me all the way home! Nice reminder of the cake though! I didn't taste the mayo or mustard...just butter and butter! Yummy...everything is improved with butter!!

          2. On a thinly related note, has anyone gone to Thompson's Seafood Corner (or any other place like this) any time recently? They used to sell uncooked crabcakes for about $7 and they were very good. I've been trying to get my wife to go on a day trip with me to pick some up and grab some lunch either there or along the way.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Dennis S

              Each of Faidley's CC's have a different binder and dressing according to Mrs. Devine.

            2. I took my friend from Denmark to Faidley's for his first ever crabcake a few months ago. He described it as "life changing."

              I do think a better crab cake in the Baltimore area is hard to find. And, personally, I couldn't make a better one at home, but then again, I'm not very good at frying or broiling.

              And, I LOVE Lexington Market. (My Danish friend, believing the stereotype that the US had bad food couldn't believe it, and asked if markets like Lexington were in every city in the US. No. I said, a few cities have markets, but nothing quite as wonderful as Lexington!)

              13 Replies
              1. re: baltoellen

                For sure, regardless of your opinion of Faidley's crab cakes, there is nothing like the markets in Baltimore (and other cities). My wife's experience with the Lexington Market goes back to the 50's; mine not quite as old (early 70's). Although it has changed alot over the decades, it is definitely an experience not to be missed. Back when my wife used to go as a kid, they actually used to make fresh (Lays??) potato chips in the market. Not any more...

                PBS did an hour long special on markets like this some years ago, featuring markets from many, many places across the USA. It was really enjoyable.

                1. re: bnemes3343

                  Utz made the chips fresh, Castle Farms made the best butter and cottage cheese you ever tasted and real home-made birch beer. There was a bakery with amazing Russian black bread. I used to love the pickled pig's feet, too.

                  1. re: ko1

                    yes, Utz was it!!! Thanks. No doubt my wife would have told me when I got home...

                  2. re: bnemes3343

                    I saw that show, and they started with our own Lexington Mkt. I actually went looking for the big piece of liver they featured, since it's the first I ever heard of it. There are really few cities in the US that have a market as fabulous as Lexington, and even fewer that have a "market system," with markets around town. (I just wish my local Broadway Mkt would get a few more vendors.....)

                    1. re: baltoellen

                      Is this the same Lexington Market as the Lexington Market in Baltimore? Reading Terminal in Philadelphia and Pike's market in Seattle are far superior to Lexington, which is, rather bluntly, downmarket. The Baltimore's farmer's market under I-83 and in Waverly are much better markets if you are looking for quality produce.

                      I will say that Lexington is the one place I still can go to find freshly grated coconut for my coconut layer cake, and fresh Utz potato chips. Beyond that, nothing at Lexington is particularly good.

                      1. re: Roland Parker

                        It may not be upscale, but it still has some tasty food and it's real.

                        1. re: Roland Parker

                          Personally, I like the fact that it is what you call "downmarket," and find it a great and compelling place. I'm delighted that it isn't quite the tourist attraction that Pike's Place Market is, and isn't given to following the foodie fashions of the moment.

                          1. re: baltoellen

                            I totally agree with Baltoellen. The fact that it hasn't gone upscale is a good thing in my book too...

                            1. re: baltoellen

                              Hey now, we can love on Lexington without dissing Pike Place. (No apostrophe s). Both have things about them to love. And I think its a fair point that perhaps Lexington Market isn't the first place you'd go if you were looking for a wide array of quality, local produce. That doesn't change the fact that it IS the the place you'd go for some of the specialty items mentioned in this thread.

                            2. re: Roland Parker

                              If you are looking for something fancy then you are in the wrong place. But a few weeks ago I needed unsmoked ham hocks, whole rockfish, large quantities of fatback, kielbasa and chicken gizzards for a dinner focused on the food of Normandy and Brittany. I found them all at Lexington Market, where the hocks were sold as part of a "long foot" ("short foot" was sold separately) and the Korean butcher obligingly chopped off the lower portion of the foot for me.

                              You can't beat this, and it is truly one of the melting pots in this town to boot.

                          2. re: bnemes3343

                            The Lexington Market has certainly evolved over my lifetime...never use to be as many prepared food places, maybe Barons,but I can remember the great
                            Panzer-Goetzes pickles and sauerkraut, the two gentleman who use to sell fresh grated horseradish and coconut, etc. but I still ove the "ambience" of the market
                            and even though it may "smell" to some(and I can understand that) I love it!!!

                            1. re: Hue

                              You can still get the fresh grated horseradish there.

                          3. re: baltoellen

                            I have to say the West Side Market in Cleveland is far superior to Lexington. Of course that is just my opinion and Lexington and West Side are very different. I also think the best Crab cakes can be found at the Annapolis Seafood Market.

                          4. There's a reason they don't want you to sit down. The next customer is waiting! There's something about standing and taking in the sights, sounds and smells (aromas?) that add to the entire experience. There may be better crab cakes or soft-shell sandwiches but there is only ONE Lexington Market!

                            1. excuse my ignorance guys but shouldnt you wait to go to Faidley's until it's crabbing season? in the summer/fall does Faidley's source it's crab meat from local bay area crabbers?

                              i really want to go but i hate getting crabs when it's not in season. i know most places around here dont get all their crabs from the bay but i always make it a point to seek out crab houses that make their best effort to get the majority locally...

                              thoughts?

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: MarcDC

                                Faidley's has a large volume flow of fresh crabmeat they sell at retail by the can which is why the cakes are so good. Sometimes it's packed in MD of MD steamed crabs, sometimes, packed in MD of crabs brought live from the south, sometimes packed in the south. There's usually a mix even in MD crabbing season, late spring through fall, but it's a sure bet even in the dead of winter, they'll have a choice of several grades from somewhere and they'll all be days fresher than what trickles through the supply system to most places. If you feel strongly about Faidley's, I see they're one of the places on the current zagat.com survey, plus they send you that free book.

                                1. re: chowsearch

                                  Can't you get the crabcakes at Faidley's to go?? And sit down at eat at home??

                                  1. re: BaltimoreBoi15

                                    Oh Ok, I checked the web Site. "Bill and Nancy Devine can also package the award winning jumbo lump crab cake "to go".

                                    I suspect Crosby does not have a table and chair at home then..

                                    1. re: BaltimoreBoi15

                                      She has plenty...but see other posts about the "atmosphere"...

                                  2. re: chowsearch

                                    great, thanks for the info.

                                  3. re: MarcDC

                                    I usually go there for oysters, clams and beer at the raw bar.

                                  4. Plenty of tables and chairs upstairs in the market...ambiance ain't great but its lively, and full of humans!!!!

                                    1. used to go to Faidleys regularly in the late 70's when oysters were 4 for $3.00 and a draft was a dollar. I agree the high end crab cake is fabulous and hard to beat even though it is pricey all things considered. still love grazing thru the market and love to turn my 10, 14 and 16 y.o foodie in training kids on to the market. How come no one has mentioned the Berger Cookies. Hard to beat with a tall glass of cold milk.

                                      1. This is a great thread re Lex Mkt. I get oysters there a couple of times a yr for the atmosphere, mainly. The sauerkraut at Panzer & Goetz and the horseradish and Constant peanuts before a ball game.....There was even a high end butcher whose name I dont recall, but who had great meat. Soft crab sandwiches...it aint the same market.

                                        BTW, Johnny Apple praised faidley's crabcakes in one of his very last columns.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: tartuffe

                                          And he brought Calvin Trillin with him for the taste test.