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Best food (especially crabs) a short drive from DC?

m
MattR Nov 2, 2011 01:38 PM

Hi,
I will be in DC in a couple of weeks. I rented a car and would love to hit some towns in the area to sample some crab claws and other East Coast delicacies?
Any suggestion is welcome!
Thanks
m

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East Coast Cafe
44 Calvert St, Annapolis, MD 21401

  1. r
    Regymos Nov 16, 2011 10:22 AM

    LP Steamers in Baltimore near the harbor but if you want authentic Baltimore urban corner crab house; this was very good. super nice steamed seafood....Cantler's does have a nice water view.....there is the Maine Avenue fish market that is a good place for tourists...I checked out Baltimore Magazine for best crab house -- that's how I found LP Steamers -- very good crab cake, too

    1. kukubura Nov 13, 2011 06:48 PM

      Not East Coast specific, but you may have a hard time finding better food than is being made at Grace Garden within driving distance of this area.

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      Grace Garden
      1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD

      2 Replies
      1. re: kukubura
        d
        dining with doc Nov 14, 2011 09:33 AM

        going back to GG this saturday nite. party of 12....already have (over) ordered. agree, although the menu is daunting and to really experience this crummy but fantastic restaurant you need a large group so you can experience a lot of the dishes. in addition, some of the dishes require a 3 day in advance notice

        1. re: kukubura
          d
          dracisk Nov 15, 2011 11:29 AM

          Just went to Grace Garden for the first time last weekend thanks to this board -- excellent! I live in Dupont Circle, but my boyfriend lives in Crofton, so I was glad to find an interesting, quality restaurant within a short drive of his place.

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          Grace Garden
          1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD

        2. c
          cb1 Nov 4, 2011 04:58 PM

          What is a short drive? If you have time, as others have said I would suggest going across the bay bridge to get the Maryland experience. Local crabs are all but done here, although most people can't tell local from La crabs anyways if they are steamed and use Old Bay or JO spice. This time of year in Md I think of Oysters and Rockfish. You may enjoy this place....

          http://www.kentmorr.com/

          http://www.hometownannapolis.com/news...

          2 Replies
          1. re: cb1
            m
            MattR Nov 5, 2011 07:02 AM

            ok thanks. Maybe it's a stupid question, but does it mean that if I drive further south (of DC) it will still be crab season? Or that's just not crab-land?

            1. re: MattR
              n
              NaptownRugger Nov 6, 2011 08:17 AM

              Demand for crabs in the area generally drops off after Labor Day (mostly because crabs are a summer thing). If you were to drive south of DC, you really wouldn't find many crabs, (just not that close to the water) and as was said previously, local crab season drops off after Labor Day. If you're really jonesing for them, any one of the previously recommended places would be a good bet for either crabs or crabcakes.

          2. m
            MattR Nov 4, 2011 08:59 AM

            Thanks everyone for comments again. I will also drive to see Fallingwater in PA. Any place worth eating at on the way there? m

            3 Replies
            1. re: MattR
              h
              helmswoman Nov 13, 2011 11:24 AM

              We visited Fallingwater recently and found good food difficult to find in the area. Nemacolin resort in Farmington PA (about 15? miles from Fallingwater) has a very good restaurant. Probably need a reservation. If you are looking for something quick and casual, the visitor center at Fallingwater has some things that looked interesting. There may be some good food in the town of Ohiopyle (in between Fallingwater and Nemacolin), although we didn't eat there.

              1. re: MattR
                ktmoomau Nov 14, 2011 11:44 AM

                Gleasons Diner near Fallingwater is a good greasy spoon, and there are some small gems in Ohiopyle. If you want something nicer the River's Edge in Confluence or Nemacolin aren't far either.

                Charlottesville is a great diversion about 2-2.5 hours from DC with excellent food. And there is Frederick, MD which has some fun places. The Narrows at Kent Island is a good stop too.

                In Virginia the Eden Center is awesome for Vietnamese food. A drive out to Trummer's on Main in Clifton is nice too.

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                Eden Center
                Falls Church, VA, USA, Falls Church, VA

                1. re: MattR
                  chowser Nov 15, 2011 12:48 PM

                  If you can get in, Volt in Frederick, if you're going up 270/70. That might be more than you want, though. They have an express lunch at the bar that looks good.

                  http://www.voltrestaurant.com/pdf/exp...

                2. m
                  MattR Nov 3, 2011 08:33 AM

                  Hi guys thanks for the extensive replies. Annapolis/Kent island sounds good for crabs then.
                  Anything in the opposite direction? I like the Falls Church suggestion. Anything else like that?
                  thanks again

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: MattR
                    agarnett100 Nov 3, 2011 09:51 AM

                    Quarterdeck in Arlington VA is the closest I can think of - never been I usually go to Harris Crab or steam my own

                    1. re: MattR
                      k
                      katecm Nov 3, 2011 10:10 AM

                      If you're going to head into the Virginia suburbs, aim for Korean or Vietnamese. And try Ethiopian right in the city, on 9th NW just south of U. My favorite is Etete.

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                      Etete
                      1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                      1. re: MattR
                        Dennis S Nov 3, 2011 02:13 PM

                        Or Captain Pell's in Fairfax.

                        1. re: MattR
                          d
                          dining with doc Nov 4, 2011 07:34 AM

                          like I said, both annapolis and kent island choices are a little bit of a drive but the places (Cantler's, Harris, Crab Deck) are the real deal for Maryland crab feist with quality food plus they are both waterfront (Kent Island further but more picturesque, Cantlers 10 min from downtown Annapolis which provides sightseeing opps)

                        2. d
                          dining with doc Nov 3, 2011 08:15 AM

                          crab feast usually involves paper covered tables, pitchers of beer, crab soup, crab cakes, steamed spiced shrimp, steamed clams, sliced tomato, french fries, cole slaw, and piles of steaming hot hardshell blue crabs. The crab then needs to be opened and the crab meat extracted and eaten. The back fin of the crab is where the most premium meat is and each leg is attached to a section with meat. The claws have meat but it is not as premium or good as the back fin. You should get someone there to show you how to open the crab. Otherwise you will be destroying some fairly expensive seafood!
                          Where to go for crabs from DC:
                          1. Cantlers: waterside crabhouse near annapolis (probably the best local crab house but about 45 min drive from DC
                          2. Gunnings: off I 95 near BWI
                          3. Bethesda crab house
                          4. Harris Crab House or The Crab Deck: on the water on Kent Island over the bay bridge. a little of a schlep but would be lovely if weather is good and memorable

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                          Harris Crab House
                          433 Kent Narrow Way N, Grasonville, MD 21638

                          1. m
                            Milocat1 Nov 3, 2011 05:42 AM

                            Capt. Billy's, a local crab house I visit in Maryland, stopped serving local crabs last week. We were told that local crabbers are putting away their crab pots for the season. So be sure to call anyplace you go to make sure they have local crabs available.

                            1. Terrie H. Nov 2, 2011 03:28 PM

                              Hi Matt - just a little info: crabs we eat here in this area are blue crabs and the aren't served as claws. You get the whole crab coated in a spicy, salty coating. It is the best experience to eat at a Maryland crab feast, and I'd reccommend Cantler's for a lovely view and good crabs - it is out near Annapolis.

                              If you want to give your location , we might be able to give you some more suggestions!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Terrie H.
                                s
                                Steve Nov 2, 2011 06:47 PM

                                just to add, crabs here are freshly steamed to order. For local color, I recommend Bill's Terrace Inn in Baltimore. Nothing quite like it. I suggest getting there when they open at 4pm to avoid a long wait.

                                Another Baltimore specialty is pit beef. Go to Pioneer Pit Beef, literally a shack under the highway. Get medium rare. Not open on Sunday.

                                Most small towns in Virgina have little in the way of interesting food save for the occasional ritzy inn.

                                In DC, Oohs and Ahhs serves Coastal Carolina Soul Food, maybe something you can't get where you're from? Grilled shrimp over grits is a favorite.

                                In the Virgina suburbs of DC, Bolivian food is quite big, again maybe something you don't normally have easy access to. Go to Luzmilla's in Falls Church on a Sunday afternoon for saltenas, mocochincho (spiced peach drink), sopa de mani, and a beefsteak borracha.

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                                Bill's Terrace Inn
                                200 Eastern Blvd, Essex, MD 21221

                                Pioneer Pit Beef
                                1602 N. Rolling Road, Woodlawn, MD 21244

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