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May 4, 2011 04:31 PM

Blue crabs anywhere in the Wilmington, Delaware general area?

Hey Hounds,

Going to a friend's wedding and staying at my brother's place near Wilmington (Hockessin, actually.) I live in Massachusetts now and whenever I get this close to Maryland I start to think longingly of pickin' blue crab. Is there anyplace within a half an hour of the area that has blue crabs? Not interested in king crab or dungeness crab...I need those blue claws for my fix. Soft shell crab is an acceptable alternative, but not too upscale, please.

If it doesn't exist...I guess I'll have to buy some crab meat at the grocery store and make myself some crab cakes instead.

Thanks for your help!

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    1. re: chefj

      Are you looking to eat there or take out? There is Captain's Catch on Kirkwood Hwy in Newark (20 mins away) that would have them or you could try George's Seafood market in Hockessin. Both are just seafood markets though...

    2. I will lead off with the caveat that it is not crab season at all (assuming you are coming to town soon). What crabs you will get will not be local, even Chesapeake Bay local, but flown here from places like Louisiana.

      That said: if you are in Hockessin, get on Rte. 41 (Lancaster Pike) and drive about 15 minutes northwest to Hilltop Crab House in Toughkenamon, PA: It's a crab house, it's close by, and they do the whole thing with the brown paper, the mallets, etc. Full disclosure, I have not actually eaten crabs there, but I've eaten other things and been very happy. It is NOT fine dining, but basically a biker bar that serves some good food. Drink a Yuengling and enjoy!

      If you end up cooking your own crab cakes, buy some at Henretty's (locally famous), right in Hockessin at 7460 Lancaster Pike.

      4 Replies
      1. re: travelmad478

        I'm not sure you ever get "local" blue crabs anymore. I was in Bethany Beach at the height of the summer season a couple of years ago and the server said that their crabs always come from Louisiana...but maybe they're just heretics.

        And I'll try the Hilltop...thanks!

        1. re: Altaira

          In New Castle Couty, they will never be truly local, but in the mid/late summer you can at least get MD crabs around here. If it were summertime I'd send you to Delaware City (Kathy's or Crabby Dick's) and if you really wanted to drive I'd send you to Sambo's in Leipsic. But you want nice summer weather for any of those.

          Crabby Dick's
          30 Clinton St, Delaware City, DE 19706

          1. re: travelmad478

            I have been to Sambo's many times (when I actually lived in Delaware) and that is truly crab heaven. Mickey's in Bethany is pretty good also, but both those too long a drive. Hilltop it will be. Thanks!

        2. re: travelmad478

          Hilltop is what you are looking for. Its 5 minutes from Hockessin on Rt 41. I'm not sure that they are open every day.

        3. Or you might try Feby's Fishery which I believe has a Wilmington address but is close by Hockessin, and is a restaurant and fishmonger as well. But travelmad is correct - no local product yet but you might score some from Virginia if their weather has been better than ours. Suggest calling ahead.

          Feby's Fishery
          3701 Lancaster Pike, Wilmington, DE 19805

          1 Reply
          1. re: danbee1

            Feby's is in Wilmington (it is east of 141 on Lancaster Ave.) and as far as I am aware, they don't serve blue crabs.

          2. Kelly's in Port Penn, have really good crabs, it's a bar but the crabs are always good..

            1. Well, the best laid we were coming over the Del Memorial Bridge, spouse and I discussed the crab issue--he is indifferent but not hostile to picking crabs, I the one who longs for the cerulean crustacean. He was not keen on Toughkenamon for some reason, and pointed out that we were pretty close to New Castle right then.

              Of course I did not remember the names of any of the crab places in New Castle, and am too poor to pay the monthly service for a smartphone, but I figured that NC is not such a big town--surely there would be signs, perhaps billboards, for the aid of the crab famished.

              Well, no. But stopping at a bar and asking provided directions to Lestardos. It was a small, genuine beer-after-work bar with a larger room with all the signs...paper covered tables, mallets, paper towels. Empty but for one couple--who were picking crabs. We sat, ordered the last seven large (all males...I dimly remember thinking that the interior arrangements of the females make them easier to pick, but perhaps that was a dream) and a mixed fry for spouse. I did let him have one crab. The mixed fry was ok, but the fries! I don't even like french fries much, but these were the real magilla: peel left on, just the right thickness, hot and yummy. Total tab, including two draft Yuengling and a cup of crab bisque (thick with crab meat and cream, not over seasoned) $59.34. Service was very friendly and attentive (the first couple hugged the waitress when they left, but I believe they knew her) and the waitress followed us out to thank us for the $12 tip.

              Hot crabs. Hot damn. First night of the trip. I gave it 3 stars, just because I would reserve 4 for fine dining, and 5? Not so far in this hounds life.

              Thanks for all the input, one and all.

              Lestardo's Crab House
              Prangs Ln, New Castle, DE 19720

              3 Replies
                1. re: Altaira

                  Thanks for the report! I've driven by Lestardo's but never eaten there.

                  There are other Hockessin threads on this board if you need non-crab-related suggestions during your stay. Enjoy!

                  1. re: Altaira

                    I'm under the impression that when blue crabs are served in restaurants, they're almost always males. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the ones I've picked have all had that "Washington Monument" underside configuration, and not the "Capitol Dome."