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Baltimore: Cream of Crab soup

I have no idea why, but I have been craving this soup for the last two weeks, and have no clue where to get the best bowl of it. (And it's not like I can taste every seafood shack I pass -- my wallet and my arteries would never forgive me.) Ideally, I'd like a place in Baltimore City where I can grab a bowl at lunchtime, but if you have a killer recommendation I'd love to hear it, even if it's in the county or only available at dinner.

Lumps of crabmeat are a must, and for my personal taste it's best if the soup isn't thick enough for the spoon to stand up, but I'd settle for anything at this point. Anyone have suggestions?

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  1. I have never had it there but I would think they have it at Mamas on the Half Shell in Canton, I would think it would be good based on the other soups I have had there.
    I used to always get it at the Ocean Pride back in my "younger days" but that stuff was the consistancy of pudding.

    4 Replies
    1. re: hon

      Y'know, I've never checked Mama's because it would seem a pity to not eat their seafood chowder if I'm ordering a soup.

      Is the pudding thing the way it's supposed to be? I always assumed it was a bad sign....

      1. re: matt8313

        It's not supposed to be pudding-y, when I was 23 thats what I liked, crab pudding we called it. Now that just seems gross.
        Mmm, the seafood chowder at Mamas is very good!

        1. re: hon

          Mama's chowder is very good indeed! one of my favorites for a cozy bowl.
          My favorite on the fancier side of life is at Gertrude's, it's served with a side or sherry to stir in or sip and it has lovely large chunks of crab. yumm on a rainy day like today cram of crab just sounds delish!

          1. re: poached

            I second Gertrude's- it's my favorite cream of crab and they really do not skimp on the lump crab meat.

    2. my favorite cream of crab soup hands down is the Sunset restaurant in Glen Burnie. It's kind of a bizarre restaurant but good cream of crab. They give you a little decanter of sherry to drizzle on the soup on it's soooo good. The rest of the food is fine. nothing spectacular. but they do have a great strawberry shortcake too.

      4 Replies
      1. re: amaebi

        My husband loves the crab soup at Sunset - I find it too thick but I give them props for the sherry on the side.

        My choice is Bo Brooks on Boston Street in Canton for its to-die-for buttery taste.

        1. re: Denise

          I absolutely agree with Bo Brooks...it's the best I have ever had! Also good, but not a restaurant...Cream of crab at Conrad's Crabs on Joppa Road.

          1. re: crosby_p

            Conrad's was one of the ones I tried when this craving kicked in, and I found it a bit on the pudding side of things. Maybe it had just been sitting for awhile that day.

            1. re: matt8313

              you are right...I thin it out a bit with sherry, but most times It's been good....Also try Hales on Taylor and Oakleigh!

      2. I dream about the cream of crab at Bluestone in Timonium (Aylesbury Road). Incredibly flavorful and just rich enough without being over the top. It's a good thing I live nearby because I have to have it at least once a week.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Anna323

          I've literally eaten cream of crab soup over the entire state of Maryland for the past twenty five to thirty years. I also make it with the best recipe coming from Southern Living in the early '80's and Steamboat Landing in Galesville (different owners, different soup today). The best is a tie between Jerry's in Seabrook in the Prince Georges county suburbs of D. C. and the Narrows on Kent Island. Suicide Bridge outside of Cambridge in Hurlock is also excellent, made even more so by the souffle cup of dry sherry that they serve along side of the lump crab topped bowl. I should note that cream of crab at this level is not cheap: we're talking seven or eight dollars for a cup and more for a bowl. Still, to a great extent you get what you pay for and Chesapeake Bay lump crab is expensive.

          1. re: Joe H

            I'm a displaced MD'er....care to share the recipes? Cannot find decent Cream of Crab in Florida. : (


            1. re: winechic

              The Lobster Pot in Reddington Shores has superb lobster bisque for what it's worth.

              This is Jerry's cream of crab soup and you can buy it directly from them to have it shipped overnight: https://jerrysseafood.bachcsi.com/pro...

            2. re: Joe H

              Suicide Bridge restaurant is the bomb. Love the boat tours too.

            3. re: Anna323

              Bluestone took it off the menu as of last week. I tried to order it today and was informed of the sad news.

              1. re: Anna323

                I went to Bluestone yesterday for the cream of crab soup and was disappointed to learn they had taken it off the menu four days ago.

              2. I'm not a local, but the last time I was in Baltimore, albeit a couple of years ago, I had some phenomenal cream of crap soup at Pisces in the Hyatt Regency on Light Street. It wasn't at all pudding-y. The rest of the meal was pretty forgettable there, but I could have eaten an entire stock pot full of that soup. It was delish!

                1. Ahhh...I *love* cream of crab soup. My criteria are: silky-smooth texture that isn't gravy-thick (no gelatinous or blobby soup, please!), delicately flavored with a bit of sherry, and plenty of lump crab.

                  I've had a lot of cream of crab in the area, and my two favorites are rather surprising, as they aren't thought of as purely seafood places.

                  My absolute favorite: Peppermill in Lutherville! Consistenly great (I wouldn't recommend ordering it at the very very end of the day, but that goes without saying).

                  I've also had wonderful cream of crab at Fazzini's in Cockeysville! It was a special, however, and not I believe a regular menu offering - so I only had it the once. But it was great.

                  1. Louisiana has always had great crab bisque soup if that's similar enough to cream of crab - smooth, silky, right amount of sherry, lots of lump crab meat.

                    I think Birches has really good cream of crab too but I'm very biased.

                    1. OK, I hate to be the wet rag here, but there ain't no good cream of crab in Baltimore anymore, short of any that one might make one's self. Truth is, restaurants here are too heavy-handed with the corn starch or flour. The old Bo Brooks on Bel Air Road had an acceptable version in the 1970s and 80s. That being said, the absolute tastiest, heavenly, simple (the key to any crab dish) and freshest COC I ever had was on Smith Island about 15 years ago during lunch at a pound-like shack. Of course, it's a 4 hour trip not including snagging a mail boat over to SI. No, it wasn't Mrs. Kitchling's joint, at least not that I know for the locals avoided interacting with such ghastly tourists as my friend and me, but, wow, I'll never forget that bowl. Maybe the new Bo Brooks has a good COC if you don't mind emptying your wallet.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Montebello

                        Even Bo Brooks at its best on Harford road in the '70's was not nearly as good as Jerry's is in Lanham today. I had Mrs. Kitchings on Smith Island years ago and do not remember seeing anywhere else on the island selling crab soup. As for emptying one's wallet, Jerry's is very expensive. But lump crab meat is expensive, especially if it's not Indonesian or Venezualan.
                        Specific statement: Jerry's Seafood in Lanham has the best cream of crab soup in the state of Maryland. (on reflection the Narrows is a very close second) AND, the best crab cakes in the state of Maryland, too.
                        Their cole slaw isn't too shabby either...

                        Part one of a trilogy on the search for Maryland's best crab cakes and crab soup: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/171420

                        Part two of the trilogy: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/171496

                        Part three of the crab cake triology...http://www.chowhound.com/topics/168456

                        1. re: Joe H

                          Minor historical nit...Bo Brooks was on Belair Rd, not Harford Rd.

                      2. The Peppermill's Cream of Crab is one of the best in the Baltimore Metro area. Its not in the city but not too far away. On York Rd a few blocks north of the beltway.

                        Michaels on Eastern Avenue has excellent Cream of Crab too and the bread is fantastic. Its near Dundalk.

                        1. The DoubleTree Hotel in Annapolis has a restuarant called Ports of Call I believe. The Chef there has was best cream of crab soup for Annapolis like 6 straight yrs. It is so damn good. The best I've ever had. Even in the winter time it's the best I've had

                          1. I'm not the expert that some of the others on here might be but the best I've had might be a little surprising. Graul's supermarket in Timonium offers COC on tuesdays and it's loaded with crab and just the right consistency. I just add a drop of sherry once I get it home. They also do a good lobster bisque on sundays.

                            1. I just had some cream of crab soup at Squire's in Dundalk. I was on my way from one work location in Dundalk to another on Liberty Heights in the city and Squires is on the way. The soup had a couple of lump carb meat chunks and had some fresh herbs (most likely parsley) as well as a good kick from Old Bay. It was good in a pinch. However had I been able to bring it home I wouold have thinned it out with evaporated milk since it was on the thick side of things. It wasn't quite pudding but thicker than I would have liked.

                              1. I really like Captain Harvey's in Owings Mills. They only serve it on the weekends, but I find it to suit my cream of crab soup needs. When we have out of town guests they always ask for us to get some.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: choreops

                                  I can't believe that no one mentioned The Claddaugh Pub!! Even though I pribanly butchered the spelling, they have fantastic crab soup! Very creamy and large lumps of crabmeat!! It's a must try!

                                2. I used to be a frequent visitor to the BWI area. The first cream of crab soup I ever had was at Gunnings in or near Hanover off of Coca Cola drive and I think D100? I've tried others but when I can get out of the downtown area, I always go back to Gunnings. Ran into a restaurant in Dallas that makes a pretty good cream of crab soup. Their trick is they add a puree of roaste red pepper - makes it slightly pink and adds a good flavor. I've done a fair job of imitating their bowl of soup.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: swan123

                                    Since my last post, I've tried the COC at the Dizz in Remington, formerly Dizzy Izzies...fabulous...just like Bo Brooks IMO.

                                  2. Well its not Balto City... but Edgewater Restaurant south of Annapolis has one of the best. No flour taste, not thick and gooey, just a nice cream broth with lots of crab. Crab cakes here will knock the socks off anything in the area! Its south on Rt2 from Annapolis and just over the South River bridge, then left on Mayo Rd about 1/4 mile on the left (blue building). Nothing fancy just good food.

                                    1. The PEPPERMILL has the best we have ever had. We set out on a quest years ago to find the best and we did. Highly recommend it along with the Chicken Baltimore.