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Jan 7, 2012 05:14 PM

Need Current Info re: Best Crabcake

I was reading past discussions and didnt see anything current as I'd like. With the ever-depressing economy being what it is, restaurants often change their food quality so I hope folks don't mind me asking.....

I will be coming from NJ to attend the Horse World Expo in Timonium later this month. I'm willing to travel 30 minutes in the surrounding area for a great crabcake. I'd prefer jumbo lump, large cakes, but am open to all reccomendations. Can anyone help? Thank you!

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  1. I think the one at Carlyle in Shirlington is pretty darn good, but it's likely there will be many favorites here. Hank's are good as well.

    2 Replies
    1. re: biscuit

      Neither Shirlington nor Hank's is anywhere close to Timonium. I'd recommend heading into Baltimore to Faidley's. It's pushing your time limit, but well worth it.

      1. re: JonParker

        Thanks for the heads up. I'm originally from the West Coast, so don't know the area as well as I should.

        And second Faidley's. It's a solid option.

    2. We used to live in Baltimore and were just back in town visiting relatives over the Christmas holidays. The crabcake topic came up once and someone mentioned Michael's Cafe on York Road in Lutherville/Timonium as having very good crabcakes. Come to think of it, I remember eating at Michael's some years ago and the crab soup was excellent. Recent online reviews also suggest that many people consider Michael's crabcakes among the best in the region.

      It's close by to you, probably no more than 5-10 minutes from the Timonium fairgrounds.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Roland Parker

        I wouldn't recommend Michael's to anyone -- in fact I recently posted about it in the Worst Meal Ever thread. I will say this: it was horrible enough to be memorable.

        1. re: JonParker

          Michael's is your best bet. It's directly across the street from the Fair Grounds where the Horse Wold Expo is. The key is to eat in the bar area and stick to the basics (soup, salad, crab cakes, sandwiches). Their crab cakes are very good; its a hang out for the horse crowd.

          Jon Parker, you can't slam a place just because you ordered a veal dish that no crabcake/ raw bar joint could legitimately pull off. If you get away from crab cakes and the basics you get the same old Sysco offerings of the diner down the street.

          1. re: BroadBrush

            I've had the crabcake there a couple of times. It was flavorless imported crab meat. Unfortunately I've been dragged there several times by coworkers.

            1. re: JonParker

              To clarify, the one on York Rd., not the Michael's on Eastern Ave?

              1. re: chowsearch

                Yeah. I've never been to the Eastern Ave. joint.

                1. re: JonParker

                  My advice is don't bother with the Eastern Ave Michael's. (Oh, and thanks for the compliment, btw.)

              2. re: JonParker

                The universal truth of chowhound is that for every poster who loves restaurant X, there's another poster who hates it.

                The OP's received several solid recommendations for crabcakes. It's up to him/her to try one or more of these places and hopefully report back with their impressions.

                1. re: Roland Parker

                  In some circumstances I would agree with you. However, here we're talking about a regional specialty. The question is being asked by someone who is not from this area. As a Baltimorean, I've gone all over the area trying crabcakes. While I admit to room for disagreement, I also think that people wanting to try a Baltimore specialty should be directed to the best representation of it.

                  I know that some people don't like Lexington Market. To them I'd say go to Prime Rib at twice the cost. I used to tout Angelina's on Harford road, but its been shuttered for years now.

                  1. re: JonParker

                    Another truth about Chowhound is long-time posters develop a track record, like Steve regarding DC ethnic spots. I had been wondering why Michael's York Rd. was always crowded, thinking maybe their food got better since a boring crabcake awhile ago, but reports from posters I think have a handle on it save me a trip, and maybe we can save the OP a trip.

                    1. re: chowsearch

                      I'll take that as a compliment. :)

                      You do have a point though. In my early CH days I learned quickly that if hon or baltoellen said it was good, it was good.

                      1. re: JonParker

                        Or Crackers, Discoverer Of Grace Garden.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. we just took our out of town guests to Koco's this past Friday night because they requested crabcakes. Our guests proclaimed them "the best crabcakes they ever had!" $25 for crabcake, onion rings, and salad is not cheap but the crabcake is HUGE! and full of lump crab meet. Koco's is on Harford Road in the Hamilton/Lauraville neighborhood about 20 minutes from the fairgrounds.

            8 Replies
            1. re: amaebi

              Koco's admits to using imported. "Huge" usually makes me suspicious.

              1. re: chowsearch

                Would it be helpful if there is agreement that the advice that must be given to the poster relates to who has the best "restaurant pile of east coast jumbo lump placed in a broiler and seldom cooked through" rather than referring to this creation as a crabcake. I agree "huge" makes me suspicious.

                Unfortunately I have a difficult time recommending a restaurant crabcake and maintain that what the poster should do is beg anyone on the street to take them home and prepare a pan fried crabcake using as close to local fresh jumbo lump as possible using the recipe on the "Old Bay" can or any of the numerous variations we have all concocted with substitutions... of binders, spices, etc.

                Why can't this be done in a restaurant?

                1. re: baltimorejim

                  That's a great question. I wouldn't even limit it to the east coast -- blue crabs from LA or TX are just fine. I think part of the answer to your question comes from the love of huge crabcakes -- making them both huge and out of domestic crab makes them very expensive.

              2. re: amaebi

                anyone I've ever taken to Koco's has love them...

                1. re: tapas gal

                  Same with people I've taken to Pappas in Parkville, but they're imported too.

                  1. re: kukubura

                    I have had the Pappas crab cake 3 times now and don't think it's anything to write home about.

                    1. re: hon

                      I've been to Pappas with my in-laws a few times, and while I think the crabcake is good, the rest of the food is very meh. Not expected when the target diner is 75.

                      If I just want a crabcake in Balto, I go to Faidley's.

                      Have you been to Pierpoint recently? That was such a hot restaurant back in the 90s, and I was surprised to read last year that it's not only still open, but still good. They always had a smoked crabcake that was a nice twist on the usual.

                      1. re: Bob W

                        I was just at Pierpoint this fall, and thought the crabcakes there rated right up there with those at The Narrows. I felt that both of them were a good notch above Obrycki's. On a previous crabcake crawl, I had compared Obrycki's, Duda's, and Faidley's -- as for the latter, I'm not going there anymore, neither literally nor figuratively. At the time (I was kind of new to real crabcakes then) , I thought Duda's was the best of the three, but after my most recent visit, they paled in comparison to Pierpoint and The Narrows, and also came in well behind Obrycki's. Of course, like BBQ, these things may vary between visits.

              3. I'm not sure if it's worth a special trip, but I usually go to Pig Pickers/Sea King for crab cakes. It's on US-40 in Ellicott City just over your 30 minute limit if you can avoid traffic. This might be more of a local option when you're in E.C. or Columbia.

                It's a simple, basic crabcake in a no-frills environment (takeout counter with a few tables). But I like its clean flavor. I usually get it as a sandwich on a potato roll with a side of Maryland Crab soup (which is good but a little salty).

                Prices range from $6 for Backfin to $13 for Colossal Lump Crab, and you can get other seafood and barbecue too. Platters come with 2 cakes and sides, and double the price.