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Absolute Best MD Crab Houses: Waterman's, Bill's, Sue Island Dock Bar...

Joe H Sep 17, 2008 11:51 AM

Over the past several years I've posted at length about trips my wife and I have done searching for crabs whether crab cakes, soup, imperial or hardshells. Over time I've raved about Waterman's in Rock Hall, Stoney's on Broome Island, Suicide Bridge, loved Kliman's discovery Ocean Odyssey in Cambridge, even Bill's and Cantler's among many, many others.

Years and years ago destinations included Bo Brooks when it was on Harford road, Robertson's in Popes Creek and Paul's in Riva.

Several new places have appeared in recent threads which I'm not familiar with yet am really curious about. Sue Island Dock Bar (looks incredible in this photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/susie_to... ) and Vince's, both noted in a thread earlier today (thanks "TJN"


Because of the above linked photo I'm now absolutely intrigued with Sue Island Dock Bar. How good is it? Has anyone been who has also been to Waterman's, Cantler's or Ocean Odyssey? What is Vince's "ambience" like? Is Sue Island Dock Bar excellent for Baltimore County or is it one of Maryland's best and, apparently from the photo, most atmospheric?

The weather is still warm enough for another Saturday or Sunday drive.

  1. c
    chowsearch Sep 17, 2008 12:03 PM

    Recent info is Vince's is carryout and no longer has a supplier relationship with the Sue Islanders. Here is our thread you were referring to since they are the same discussion:

    But Joe, none have the ash treatment you prefer on sandwiches.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chowsearch
      Ellen Sep 17, 2008 12:26 PM

      Eeew. I was just thinking about that exact thing today (God ony knows why). Only Joe would have the guts to admit that one.

      1. re: Ellen
        Joe H Sep 17, 2008 01:59 PM


        A bit of artistic liberty was included in this-perhaps not as much as I would like to claim, however.

    2. n
      nyawira Sep 17, 2008 01:17 PM

      I have been to Sue Island Dock Bar a few times this summer and I can tell you that their crabs are the absolute best I've had in Baltimore. I've been to a number of them in Baltimore, Annapolis, and DC including the ones you mention above (except Watermans) and for consistency and taste Sue Island has the best. They are always fresh, heavy, and yummy yummy tasty. I asked to folks there why this place hasn't been discovered, and they told me that it actually had...it's true...even though I usually have ended up going around 3:00 in the afternoon, my husband and I inevitably stay til much later because we are having so much fun. And it gets really crowded, but everyone is always really friendly. Highly recommend the Sue Island Dock Bar.

      5 Replies
      1. re: nyawira
        Joe H Sep 17, 2008 02:00 PM

        Thanks. Much appreciated.

        1. re: nyawira
          crackers Sep 18, 2008 03:23 AM

          @nyawira - Thanks for posting - do you know where they get their crabs from now?

          1. re: crackers
            nyawira Sep 18, 2008 12:30 PM

            We actually asked last time they were here - the feller pointed out towards the Chesapeake and said "right out there" and not too long ago - meaning that day. And they tasted it, too. Plus, the times that we went, the bar always had some special drink - usually a fruity tropical concoction that has always been special. They had the second to the largest size when we were there, which we got, but I can't remember how much we paid. Oh, and the corn we got with the crabs was so good we ordered another couple. We asked where they came from and the feller said they were locally grown and fresh. This is absolutely a crab place...that's what folks order - if they have a menu, I doubt I've seen it. The music is tacky, but really fun and everyone has a good time. It's a very welcoming place. I really like it there.

          2. re: nyawira
            Joe H Sep 18, 2008 09:57 AM

            In studying the two photos in the site linked above the place really intrigues me for its "primitive" setting. Tiki torches frame the tables set outside on sand while another photo shows endless trays with hardshells, large ears of corn and almost everyone eating crabs. I'm guessing this isn't about crab cakes, soup or imperial stuffed rockfish. Rather, gorging on crabs in a dockside setting with live music wafting over the water.

            Does anyone know if Sue Island Dock Bar has a website? When they close for the season? Do they typically have jumbos? How much for a dozen and what size on your last visit?

            1. re: nyawira
              tjn Sep 22, 2008 05:54 AM

              The crabs are right from the bay there. We had some this week and they are even better now. we waited almost a hour but it was worth it. I think they do a good job and they are real friendly.

            2. e
              Ericandblueboy Sep 18, 2008 12:44 PM

              Can recommendation for a crab house in Delaware (between Bethany and Lewes)?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Ericandblueboy
                crackers Sep 20, 2008 07:18 PM

                I've enjoyed Lazy Susan's in Rehoboth. Here's a link to a current thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/518697

                1. re: crackers
                  chefdilettante Sep 23, 2008 07:55 AM

                  I second Lazy Susan's: Solid place for crabs, and they just moved to a bigger location across the street (though not as rustic or charming).

              2. d
                deangold Sep 22, 2008 04:01 PM

                We just had craps today at Bay 100 just before you go over the bridge to Tilghman Island. AYCE at 18.95 per person. The first trayful was good, but a little overcooked. it was a slow day and we were the first folk to order crabs that day. If ear the chef dropped the crabs in before the heat was at full force. The second tray was another story. Very juicy and very tasty with just a sprinkle of old bay so you could actually taste the crabs. We did get one or two crabs just new to their shells trhat had incredibly sweet meat but not a lot of it. But hte heavy crabs were superb. I think we finally totaled 22 crabs of medium size. It is not 5 hours after our meal and I am still stuffed and smelling faintly crab like. The Maryland crab soup was nice even if it was just some crab, some tomatoes out of a can and frozen veggies. But the crabby flavors were strong and complex. The crab broth very strongly flavored without any fishiness. The joint was recommended by some locals.

                4 Replies
                1. re: deangold
                  Joe H Sep 23, 2008 06:48 AM

                  Thanks, Dean.

                  1. re: deangold
                    crackers Sep 24, 2008 11:11 AM

                    Gosh Dean, what is it you just had at Bay 100? :)

                    In terms of crab cracking atmosphere, a little known place out in Dundalk called the Hard Yacht Cafe can't be beat. It's crab-eating deck is literally cantilevered over the waters of Lynch Cove at Bear Creek, with fishing boats on up to plush yachts bobbing in their piers all around. In the evening they have a little Tiki Bar perched a half-flight up above the main eating deck with twinkling lights and nice nautical touches. The crabs, which they bring in hot and ready to eat from the local crabber at the Blue Fin in Dundalk were very well done the night we were there - sweet, heavy and not overly-encrusted with spices. Larges were $52 I think, and $3-4 for beer. Best to call in your order as you drive there so the crabs will be on their way to your table when you arrive. Not much else in the way of a kitchen (I had hush puppies which were average). But sitting out cracking crabs on Lynch Cove as the sun sets in the waning days of summer and early fall is delightful way to pass an evening.

                    1. re: crackers
                      Joe H Sep 24, 2008 01:21 PM

                      Would you believe there's video of this place? http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.channel&ChannelID=384258117

                      This shows more of it:


                      1. re: crackers
                        deangold Sep 24, 2008 05:22 PM

                        I guess it was a little dicey ;)

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