HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >


She Crab/Cream of Crab Soup, Where is the best?

Can anyone direct me to a place with really good she crab or cream of crab soup? Thanks! (Preferably DC/NOVA area, but will travel for good soup)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Cream of Crab... Jerry's Seafood in Lanham...


    1. I think I need a lesson in crab soup varieties. Would crab bisque count under your criteria? If so, Ray's the Steaks has the best sherried crab bisque I've ever had. Huge chunks of crab in a rich cream/butter base with just a touch of sherry. Seriously, the base is so rich I can actually taste the butter. Luckily, they are very generous with the crab, so that at least displaces some of the ultra rich liquid.

      Oh, and the steaks are great too.

      1. I've had some delicious she crab soup at Georgia Browns in the past.

        1. The best Maryland cream of crab soup is at the Narrows in Kent Island. The best She Crab soup is at Soby's in Greenville, South Carolina possibly along with a couple of places in Charleston. Jerry's WAS vvery good but with a different owner I haven't had it in several years. Still, I honestly believe that the Narrows is the best of all.

          Now, if you had asked about crab and corn chowder my wife and I agree (who agrees with me on the above) that Citronelle has the best creamed crab soup of any style anywhere. The Narrows also has the best Maryland style crab cake of anyone.

          1. If you are ever in Annapolis and like RICH cream of crab soup, the Treaty of Paris wins lots of awards for that sort of thing. I prefer Carrol's Creek in Annapolis, it is rich as well.

            I know that Hank's Oyster Bar has amazing clam chowder, perhaps they make cream of crab on other nights, as I believe it was a daily special. I would definitely say if it is anything like the clam chowder it would be worth checking out.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ktmoomau

              Yes...I forgot about Carrol's Creek. We went there to celebrate out anniversary last yr (and my bf's belated birthday) and my bf got the soup. It was delicious. Overall that is a wonderful restaurant for all things crab. Very creative and tasty (with the nice views to match).

            2. The crab bisque at the Olney Grille is excellent

              1. The best Cream of Crab I have had in the 15 years I've lived in the area, hands down, is in Alexandria at the Village Wharf. http://www.villagewharfdining.com/ind...

                We had a friend rave about their cream of crab, so made him take us there to check it out. Beautifully creamy and rich, no cornstarch thickener used. The perfect amount of sherry. Delicate, delightful Everything a good she-crab soup should be.

                We not each had a second bowl it was so freakin' good, but we also paid the bill as thanks for introducing us to it.

                Caveat: This was a good 7 or 8 years ago. (And yes, the delicious memory still lingers!) I seriously doubt they've changed the recipe, though, given that that's what they're known for in the neighborhood.

                2 Replies
                1. re: venera

                  The Village Wharf changed hands several years ago. I live nearby and found the food ranged from good to meh. But I'll give the cream of crab soup a try, if they still serve it.

                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                    someone needs to tell those wharf folks that they need a better website english editor:
                    "Authentic, flavorful, and most importantly accessible to your seafood pallet~"
                    my seafood pallet? i do love to eat seafood, bit a whole pallet? ok.... if you insist.

                2. Also as a note, in Maryland it is illegal to harvest she-crabs, so normally you won't find she-crab soup on MD menus. It is normally something you can find in VA though as they do not have that restriction, or at least they didn't a few years ago.

                  I am sorry I mistyped brain moving faster than fingers, they pledged to reduce the amount caught in certain ways it was supposed to be to about 34%, not ilegal but illegal to harvest over a certain amount I think and waterman drastically overstated what was caught last year as there was a big brewhaha over this... DNR made statements. I think VA might have pledged to cutback but I don't know if they followed through.

                  But because of the low amount you typically don't see she crab soup on MD menus nowadays, you might find it on a few. And you don't find it canned like you do in VA typically.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: ktmoomau

                    She Crabs are illegal to harvest in MD????
                    Kinda goes against all those "steamed females" signs I see in the summer!!

                    1. re: Hue

                      She crab soup is made with crab roe which you can order from www.charlestonseafood.com The Soby's recipe includes 2 cups house made crab stock (from blue crabs), 4 oz crab roe, 2 pints heavy cream, 2 tbsp. Old Bay (yes, Old Bay in South Carolina!), 1 cup of dry sherry. 1 tsp worcestershire, 4 tbs. corn starch and 1 lb of lump crabmeat. This is an absolutely outstanding soup. The Narrows is as good. Citronelle adds a bit of texture with corn and the presentation.
                      All of these are extremely rich. All are also served with additional lumps of crab meat on top. All are also necessarily expensive because of the amount of lump crabmeat served. The Narrows is, I think, $7.50 for a cup. Jerry's is also.

                      1. re: Joe H

                        a CUP of sherry? and 2 pints of heavy cream? sorry, that does not sound like a good recipe to my palate. That would completely overpower the delicate flavor of crab.

                        1. re: weezycom

                          Sorry for the disagreement, but this is an extraordinarily delicious soup which I've made myself from Soby's cookbook. Yes, it's extremely rich and somewhat alcoholic (most of which burns off) but it is a Great Dish. Whether it is this good or not I would strongly suggest trying the cream of crab soup at The Narrows. Their's is also made with heavy whipping cream. Years ago, dating to the late '70's and early '80's, the "original" Steamboat Landing (100 yards out on a pier in Galesville, MD) was featured in Southern Living for their cream of crab soup. It was very similar (read: near identical!) to The Narrows. I use to make this but over time, lost the recipe. The Narrows tastes the same. Famous last words: trust me.

                          By the way, Steamboat Landing today is on, I believe, it's fourth or fifth set of owners. When it opened the original could challenge for the title of Maryland's best seafood restaurant. Certainly one of the most romantic with candles and the light off of the river. But we're talking more than 25 years ago....

                          I was young then...

                          1. re: Joe H

                            I can vouch for the she crab soup at Soby's in Greenville....the soup is amazing, my entire table of about 15 people all had the soup and everyone thought it was amazing.

                            I had my college graduation party at Soby's in '02 and eat there everytime I visit Greenville.

                      2. re: Hue

                        "Sponge crabs" are illegal to take in MD. Females are legal with limits. Sponge crabs are those with the orange roe sacks attached. It is almost a moot point as MD female crabs migrate south to saltier waters before becoming sponge crabs and carrying on the species.

                        So few sponge crabs are ever caught in MD waters. That however is a different story in VA waters and point south, especially where they dredge for crabs late in the fall and ito the winter.

                        Most Marylanders generally have no idea what real she-crab soup is all about . Here in MD (Annapolis) we have instead cream of crab, but most of us refer to red - vegetable crab simply --- "crab soup"

                    2. Thanks all. Next time I am crossing the Bay Bridge, I will stop at the Narrows. Will try your other suggestions too!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: maoj

                        If you are ever in the Annapolis area, there is a family style restaurant in Edgewater MD called appropriately enough the Edgewater restaurant. (Route 2 Solomons Island Road to Mayo Road). The cream of crab is decadence in a bowl, with plenty of lump, cream, and butter. The stock is so infused with crab essence, that you never forget what you are eating spoonful by spoonful.

                        The good news too, is that the rest of their offerings are extremely fresh and flavorful. They hand bread their seafood and know how to use a fryer. The result is crisp and tasty oysters, shrimp, calamari, clams, scallops and flounder. They have non fried food as well, and people drive for miles for their jumbo lump crabcakes. If you can't decide, order the platter where you get to sample every thing on one plate.

                        1. re: BontheC

                          I had the jumbo lump crabcakes at the Edgewater restaurant today. Maybe it is the time of year, but they were not as good as I hoped they would be. Lots of good lumps of crab, some filler, but not a lot of taste. My point of comparison remains the crabcakes sold at the Annapolis Seafood Market.

                          1. re: Denise

                            Up here in Baltimore it's becoming increasingly difficult to get crabcakes with actual crab flavor, as more and more restaurants are using the cheaper but bland-tasting Asian crab meat. It's quite sad.

                      2. I know I'm late to the party here, but was reading this thread and suprised to see that no one mention RT's Restaurant in Alexandria. Theirs is terrific!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: cookie44

                          I *think* that the recipe/soup is the same at all of the locations--The Wharf and The Warehouse. It's so delicious, and I order it every time I go there!

                          1. I had a fantastic cream of crab in the most unexpected place: Lista's Tex-Mex restaurant on Mountain Road in Glen Burnie/Pasadena. They were out of the MD crab, and he recommended the cream of crab.

                            Loved it---thick, rich, and creamy, but made with cream and butter, not thickened with cornstarch. Nice chunks of crab, and the sherry was very evident.

                            They can make it spicy, but I had it plain. I think some heat would overpower the delicate, sweet taste of the crab.

                            Most unexpected find.

                            1. Market Inn in SE. They are known for it...not the most elegant place in the world, but the soup is dead on good.

                              4 Replies
                                1. re: theoneontheleft

                                  the "institution" is gone? when?
                                  what will happen in that space? i'm assuming the place would be razed.....

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    Market Inn closed a few months ago. They had an auction for the interior goodies last month.


                                    Market Inn definitely had a good crab soup, but I didn't much care for anything else on the menu. The crab cake was a little too bready for my taste.