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Feb 26, 2009 09:30 AM

Is it possible to have good crabs in the Winter?

I have a crab craving; I don't know if I can make it to the summer! So, I'm curious to see if anyone has had crabs recently and if they are worth a try (or just terrible). I'm in Towson, by the way, but willing to go a half hour in any direction. Any thoughts?

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  1. I just had great carry-out crabs this past Saturday night from Conrads Crabs on Joppa Road:
    For sit down, I would go to the Ocean Pride in Lutherville (was in there a couple of weeks ago and while I didn't have the crabs, the ones I saw looked big), or Bill's Terrace Inn in Essex, Bill's uses the same Texas crabs year round and they are good. Yes, I prefer local crabs but hey!

    1. Canton Dockside has great crabs year round.

      1. Ocean Pride has great crabs right now.

        1. I disagree with Ocean Pride at ANY time. I've had crabs there twice and both times received water-logged, fishy smelling but premium priced crabs. If you really want to satisfy your crab craving, just make the trek out to Bill's Terrace Inn.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ILoveBacon

            Am I the only one who finds it difficult to support a place that imports crabs from Texas YEAR-ROUND?

            1. re: gregb

              To keep a consistant supply they have to, the local supply fluctuates too wildly, they have to suppliment it somehow and if you are a crab house and thats how you make your money, from sellng crabs, they you have to do something.
              I am pretty sure Costas is open 'year round too.

              1. re: hon

                I understand and respect the business model. I'm glad crab houses can operate and provide a service all year, but couldn't you say the same for when crabs are in season? They support a local population with crabs, so why can't they support local fisherman who supply local crab when it is in season?

                If the "best crab houses in Maryland" don't provide Maryland crab when available then how can people who are all about Baltimore and this region get behind that place? You wouldn't go to the JFX Market and buy produce from someone who gets their apples from Washington, their tomatoes from New Jersey, and their peaches from Georgia!

                Or, I guess the other alternative is that the Texas product is better than the local product even at the highest point of the season, which I think would cause an uproar on this board.

              2. re: gregb


                Is your issue that they're coming from out of the area, or specifically from Texas?

                So long as the Chesapeake crab population remains at historic lows--even in season--establishments providing out-of-town blues are among the "good guys" in the long-range effort to save our local crabs.

                And, so long as a blue is cooked live, you should find no discernible difference between a blue caught locally vs. one imported from the South..

                1. re: tubman

                  I can definately taste the difference between local crabs and ones from the gulf, local crabs have sweeter meat - I would prefer to have local crabs but since that can't always or usually happen, I'll take out of state crabs when I need a fix!

              1. re: masonuc

                Why when good blue crabs can be had this time of year and thats what the poster wants.

                1. re: hon

                  It was mostly a joke. And anyway stone crabs are very hard to find around DC, maybe impossible. But Florida is a short flight away and stone crabs are 100 times better than blue crabs (which I also love).

                  1. re: masonuc

                    I, too, love Florida stone crabs. but, you can't compare those with Maryland (Texas) blue crab. I also love Dungeness crab and peeky-toe. They each have their distinct characteristics. It's as though one would be comparing Granny Smith apples to Golden Delicious.

                    I agree that Maryland needs to support it's local suppliers, but we are at a time in history when certain foods, which would normally not be available at specific times of the year, are imported and available nearly year round. The public doesn't seem to object to dining on those products at any given time.

                    It's the same situation with fresh oysters. I was brought up to believe that they were only available locally during months that contained the letter "r." Yet, Mama's on the Half Shell (and other dining establishments), seem to offer the delicacy year round. (As an aside--I haven't as yet been to Mama's. Is it worthwhile to keep on my "go to" list?).

                    But, since this thread is about blue crab availability, where can I get some in the Catonsville area so that I don't have to travel out to Towson? I want to carry-out and eat them at home, so it doesn't have to be a dine-in restaurant. Just good quality crab to go. FoiGras