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Aug 29, 2008 12:09 PM

Faidley's disappointment

We are in Baltimore for a few days and I just got off the phone with the owner of Faidley's after having some extremely mediocre lump crabcakes from there. Tasted like they were laced with filler, nothing like the quality of what we've enjoyed there in the past. His end of the conversation was laced with attitude-- "my wife makes the crabcakes, we use no filler, just saltines as a binder, what exactly are you looking for, sorry you were disappointed, g'bye."

Could have been a bad batch. I guess, But has anyone else experienced a slip in the quality of their product lately?

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  1. Just makes you wonder when the saltines cross over the line from 'binder' to 'filler.' I like the place, but I find the crabcackes a bit gummy from the mushy saltines - long before I heard they used them.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      One week ago my wife and I were at the Narrows on Kent Island. This continues as the best crab cakes and the best cream of crab soup anywhere. I haven't had Faidley's in a couple of years and really liked them on my last visit. Still, I continue to believe that the Narrows are the best.

      1. re: Steve

        Since when do saltines even qualify as "binder"?

        My understanding of a proper crab cake is "crab - mayo - tiny bit of seasoning - end of story."

        1. re: wayne keyser

          > My understanding of a proper crab cake is "crab - mayo - tiny bit of seasoning - end of story."

          Well, that would not be a traditional crab cake at all. And it would be darn hard to cook without it falling apart.

          I prefer bread crumbs to saltines for binder myself, but many traditional recipes do use saltines.

          1. re: Hal Laurent

            http://www.recipezaar.com/89609 is Faidley's recipe which includes a cup of crushed saltines and a half cup of mayo. For comparison the Narrows (my choice for the best crabcake) includes 2 tablespoons of fine cracker meal and a cup of mayo along with dry mustard: http://www.starchefs.com/features/cra... Simply, by their own recipes' definition the Narrows will have a richer crabcake (1 cup of mayo vs. 1/2 cup) and less filler (2 tblsp. fine cracker meal vs. 1 cup which I should note is SIXTEEN TABLESPOONS!).

            1. re: Hal Laurent

              There are a handful of restaurants that dont use filler...like a place a Cross Street Market...i always wonder how they make the tings stay together. However, we make most of the crab cakes we consume at home...


              Since my wife is allergic to wheat, we have formulated our crab cake recipe and we exclude any cracker/bread filler. Per pound of crab...We use seasoning, mayo, Dijon, worcester, and and 1 egg. THEN, we bake and then broil them in a silicon muffin tin....thank you.

              1. re: smt

                Right, but frying something like this, with no binder, is absolutely out of the question.

                1. re: Jason1

                  Crabcakes should be broiled not fried. I find that tourists are the only people who order fried because they don't know what is traditional.

                  1. re: melpy

                    Broiled Maryland crab cakes date from the Colonial era, adapted from English recipes where the cake was cooked under open flame in fireplace ovens. When deep fat frying became popular in the Victorian era, more binder was added to keep the cake from falling apart in the fryer. Coddies were adapted from this technique for those who were trying to keep it kosher. Both are traditional. It depends on which tradition you think is more traditional.

                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                      Moreover, who really cares? A good crab cake is a good crab cake.

                      Most of history is bunk.--Henry Ford

                    2. re: melpy

                      I am a native Baltimorean and I prefer fried to baked. Currently the fried crab cake at Samos is tough to beat. It reminds me of the crab cake I would get as a kid at the Pump Room. Neither had very much filler

                      1. re: dining with doc

                        The Pump Room! North Ave at Howard, right? I am impressed.

          2. I'm finally vindicated! Yeah!
            So many people are raving about the great crabcakes at Faidley's, so hubby and I hustled to the Market for a taste, They weren't what I'd been anticipating. Soggy, overly seasoned messes.

            I like the crabcakes at G&M. but they aren't great. By contrast, they are under seasoned and usually don't use Maryland crabmeat.

            I've had excellent crabcakes at Rib 'n Reef on Padonia Road and at Kali's Court. The Sunset Restaurant and Snyder's both have decent crabcakes.

            I guess it's just a matter of taste. Actually, I make the BEST CRABCAKES, therefore, I rarely order them in a restaurant. I just use the recipe off the Old Bay container and fry them in a very lightly oiled pan with butter. Don't mean to sound pompous, as generally I am not a very good cook. Ask me what I'm making for dinner and my cliched response is "reservations." (I know--bad, old joke).

            In addition, I'm an insult to being a native Baltimorean, as I rinse some of the seasoning off of steamed crabs (I can hear the OMG's to that admission). And, here's adding insult to injury--I don't drink beer when I eat steamed crabs. Wine is my choice of beverage. YIPES! Scarey, huh?! FoiGras

            2 Replies
              1. re: FoiGras

                I never understood the hype about Faidley's crabcakes either.

              2. The original comment has been removed
                1. I think Faidley's is pretty good if you happen to be in their part of town and it's kind of a cool setup in Lexington Market. But I've had many better crabcakes than theirs.

                  1. I didn't like cakes at Faidley's either. Undercooked and gummy... yuck. I was p.o.'d since you pay an arm and a leg for them. Won't go back. There are vendors who sell them in the market that have better cakes and better prices.