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Sep 24, 2008 01:31 PM

Sunday Brunch and/or Buffet around Inner Harbor

Staying at the Radisson on W. Baltimore. Need suggestions for a nice Sunday brunch or buffet - it would be great if a raw bar was included.


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  1. It's been quite a few years since I have been in Baltimore, and I generally do not go
    Buffets, but once when returning from Florida to New Jersey we stopped in Baltimore and the Inner Harbor specifically. We walked around the (Seaport?) and noticed two Phillips Seafood restaurants. One was full service and the other was a buffet. We really weren't planning on spending too much time on a long dinner since we were road traveling, but we wanted something more than a food stand so we could sit and relax somewhat, so we settled on the Phillips Buffet........nothing great mind you, but they had fresh oysters & clams on the half shell, real crab cakes, shrimp cocktail and an oyster roast.......all included with the rest of the buffet items. It certainly satisfied any seafood cravings for a while.

    11 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      If Phillips had real crab cakes, that must have been quite a few years ago. They use Asian crab meat rather than blue crab nowadays, and have quite a business bringing the stuff in from Asia.

      1. re: Hal Laurent

        I'm sure I won't be the first one to tell anyone that Phillips crab cakes are for tourists....not my idea of a "high quality" Maryland crab cake BUT it has nothing to do with Asian crab meat. I would say that probably 80-90% of all crab cakes are made with some type of Asian crab meat. The key is WHERE in Asia is it from.....INdonesian meat meat is much firmer and more like the "local" blue crab meat most of us have grown up with. Chinese crab meat can be softer and mushy and less sweet.

        If a restaurant is selling REAL Maryland crab meat (JUMBO LUMP) they are probaly paying $30-35 per pound wholesale and would probably have to charge upwards of $40 for a crab cake platter. Although Maryland meat is superior and definitely sweeter IMHO....there's just not enough to go around.

        1. re: MDicecreamguy

          The Indonesian crab meat may be firmer, but it doesn't have the flavor. Not totally suprising since it's not the same species of crab. Big, white, beautiful lumps of meat that are lacking in crab flavor are not appealing to me.

          Blue crab from North Carolina or the Gulf of Mexico is way, way better than the Indonesian crab meat.

          1. re: Hal Laurent

            Agreed. Some places (Phillips, the unjustly recommended G&M) are all about this Indonesian stuff. The good local places use blue crabs from NC or the Gulf even when MD crabs are out of season.

            Sorry, but it has everything to do with Asian crab meat.

            1. re: JonParker

              My understanding is that some places have begun to source crabmeat from Venezuela...same species as the blue crab. That Philips stuff is great for dips etc, but not for cakes etc...

              1. re: Hue

                I've gotten the Venezuelan crab meat before. It's not as flavorless as the Asian crab meat, but still way lacking compared to the North American blue crab. It's my understanding that the Venezuelan crab is not the same species, but I can't provide any references for that.

                1. re: Hal Laurent

                  The Venezuelan crab is also the swimming crab, like the Asian product.

                  1. re: JonParker

                    I agree that REAL crab from Maryaland or the Gulf is far superior....only one problem....its just NOT readily available as it was a few years ago, G&M is horrible not because of Asian crab meat...they are horrible because they are all filler.

                    Next time you go to your favorite restaurant ( if its not a place like the Prime Rib or Charleston), if you ask where their crab comes from most likely it's from somewhere in Asia. Even some of that crab meat ( Jumbo Lump) is costing restaurants $22-$25 per pound. The recent hurricanes in the Gulf have made the price of "local" crab meat astronomical....if you can even get it.

                    1. re: MDicecreamguy

                      Real blue crab meat is available. It's just expensive.

                      My problem isn't with restaurants using a different species of crab. My problem is with them using a different species of crab and pretending that it's North American (or even Maryland) crab. That's misleading and just plain wrong.

                      It boggles my mind that you seem to be saying that we should accept an inferior product because it's less expensive, but it really bothers me that you seem to be saying that we shouldn't even be made aware that we're buying a different (and inferior) product.

                      1. re: Hal Laurent


                        It's just reality of what has happened to the crab market. Don't get me wrong.....I am not saying that the Asian crab is as good as "local" crab. I am saying its JUST NOT THERE !

                        If you don't believe me feel free to call any wholsale seafood distributor and ask them their price on "LOCAL" Jumbo LUMP Crab. IF it's available at all it will be at least $30 per pound. Most people are not going to pay upwards of $40 for a crab cake platter.

                        Please....Don't shoot the messenger ( THat would be ME !) I didn't cause the hurricanes that helped to cause the shortage of local crab

      2. re: fourunder

        Stay away from Phillips in Harborplace. Some of my cronies at work dragged me there a couple of months ago and I'm still regretting it. Hull St is good for a buffet and offers freshly made flavored pancakes brought to your table. Make a reservation.

      3. I have been looking for a great brunch place in Balto for 15 years with a buffet and a raw bar. Am still looking! The closest I came is the Rusty Scupper, with live jazz, all-you-can-drink mimosas, and a slightly above average buffet. They have shrimp and smoked salmon as well as Blue Points.

        People highly recommend Hull Street Blues, which I can't speak to. The last time I went was in the late 90s!

        1 Reply
        1. re: venera

          The Marriott Waterfront has a very nice brunch. (just make sure you go to the right Marriott - you do not want the one near the stadiums). The last time I was there, brunch was $20 or so, and had a wide selection of breakfast and lunch foods.

        2. Miss Shirleys or Watertable are places that both have great food.

          1. Rusty Scupper has a great buffett and a raw bar, as does Pisces in the Hyatt. Ryleigh's in Federal Hill also has a really good brunch (not buffett though) with a raw bar...I was there yesterday for brunch and they had something like 15 types of oysters :)