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Looking for great crab cakes

Where in Atlanta can you get really good crab cakes? By "really good" I mean mostly crab meat, with very little (if any!) filler, possibly just enough to bind the cake together. I spent many summers in Maryland, so I am pretty spoiled on this.

I was disappointed yet again after ordering crab cakes in Atlanta. The latest offender was Sage Woodfire at Perimeter. $10 for one nice-sized appetizer crab cake, served with a small amount of arugula and some type of slightly spicy aioli. I'd say it was more than 50% filler. I could barely eat 2 bites.

I have found that if you start trying to get servers to tell you whether their crab cakes are great or crap, either they don't know the difference or they're going to lie and tell you that they are awesome, when they are not. I have tried asking about how much filler goes in, etc, but servers are rarely able to make that distinction. I've also tried asking if they are made in house; servers say of course. This type of interrogations is kind of rude and embarrassing for my tablemates. So I end up ordering and paying for crab cakes I do not eat.

The one restaurant group in town where I have found crab cakes just as good as those found in high-end places in MD is the Sedgwick Group (Aspen's, VG Bistro, etc.) Theirs are amazing, but I'm looking for other options as well.


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  1. I think Baccanalia has the best crab cake in the city. 2nd prize for me would go to the creole mustard crab tart at Rathbun's--not a crab cake but one of my favorite options there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ebennettatl

      @ebennettatl......... I like your choices! BUT...they both have "filler."

    2. hope youre sending thjem back if they dont meet your needs--thats the only way theylllearn

      1 Reply
      1. re: bobstripower

        I have no problem sending something back that's improperly cooked, such as an undercooked shrimp or overcooked steak. However, I don't send crab cakes back because their recipe is actually flawed or they are purchasing poor pre-made product. There's a reasonable chance that people who haven't had good crab cakes have no idea that these are bad. I like to think that the fact that a $10-15 appetizer going virtually uneaten would be a message, but I know that's probably not the case. If a manager is working the room and asks how things are going, I'll usually say something though. You do have a good point ;)

      2. Can't say any really good ones pop to mind for me, but I did a brief stint as a waitress at Atlanta Fish Market about 8 years ago and we were told to say the crab cakes were 90% lump crab with just enough filler to hold them together. They were made in-house. I didn't have the knowledge back then to judge whether that was accurate, but that little factoid popped to mind when I read your post. But I can't say I remember any crab cake experience in Atlanta dining that really compared to Maryland.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jboeke

          Jboeke, you have both a good point (asking about the % crab content) and an illustration of the problem: servers will just tell you what they're told to tell you. I don't really blame them. It sounds like AFM's crab cakes are probably pretty nice! I suppose I should just develop my own recipe and make them at home. Too bad I don't speak to my ex-mother-in-law; she has an excellent recipe!

        2. This got my interest up so just took my wife to Buckhead diner tor lunch and got crabcakes. They were incredible. The only breading they use is on the outside. Inside is 100% crab!

          1 Reply
          1. re: bobstripower

            How is that possible? What was binding it together? ;-) -mJ

          2. Ted's! Unexpectedly amazing crab cakes.

            1. The crab cakes at The Brickery in Sandy Springs are very good - by my meager standards. Has anyone else made any judgements regarding The Brickery?

              1. Always thought the Segwick Group was okay, but nothing special. I've actually been surprised at how good the crabcakes are at Stony River--little if any filler.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Clarence Odbody

                  Went to Stony River yesterday for business lunch. They are doing "seafood week" or something and they offered a crab cake app, so I got it for my lunch entree. That plus some of their delicious rolls was plenty for me. I thought it was really pretty good, mostly nice fresh crab meat with some panko on the outside. They DID have some finely chopped redd pepper and shallots mixed in with the meat. The manager came around and I complimented him on it and told him I had read about it here. He said that they had just altered the recipe about 3 weeks ago. He said formerly, there was nothing mixed with the crab, which I would have much preferred. But, coming from a really picky crab cake eater, it passed the test, although with points off for the pepper and shallot. :) Thanks for the recco. I hope to try some of the others on the list. Or maybe just get myself up to MD during the season.

                2. Aqua Blue made me a perfect pair of crab cakes a week ago. I wasn't sure how they stayed together. I couldn't detect any filler. Very tasty.

                  1. My family is from Gwynn's Island on the Chesapeake. I don't get why people seek crab cakes in restaurants in Atlanta. I'll post my family recipe and you can quit bothering servers with 20 questions about crabcakes which they'll probably incorrectly answer anyhow. :) You know you're doing it right when it takes longer to make the remoulade than the cakes.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: AnyaTika

                      Does your family use Coleman's English Mustard Flour or Old Bay Seasoning? Eastern Shore expat here.

                      1. re: Strawguy

                        The crabs are steamed with lots of Old Bay, which of course gets in the meat when you pick them. Other than that, we really didn't season the cakes much, except for a little salt and pepper to taste (usually not even needed due to adequate seasoning from the Old Bay). There was never any mention of Coleman's :)

                        Weird use for Old Bay: put a (very!) little in chili while it's simmering. A friend told me to do this and it adds crazy depth - and nobody can guess what it was you added

                      2. I like the crab cakes at Ruth's Chris. I'm not really an aficionado, do those of you that are, and have tried them, think they suck?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kengk

                          I had the crab cake app at Ruth Chris the other night as I am staying right here at Embassy Suites. While they don't use jumbo lump, they are still pretty damn decent and tasty. No idea what percentage of filler is in there, but there is definitely more than I like to put in mine.

                          Living in the DC area during the week now I am very spoiled with so many places with great crab cakes right in town. -mJ

                        2. "The answer to your inquiry is... there is NO fresh crab meat served continuously & consistently in Atlanta.

                          Atlanta is a "Land Locked" city ...Savannah has a river that leads into the Ocean..

                          My Suggestion is.....Chart House in Savannah, GA ...The Crab cake is all knuckle (lump) & NO FILLER!!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: EpicuriousChivalry

                            we get fresh fish delivered every day in Atl--and that includes crabs and Lobster--you can even get live crabs to cook yourself--in the age of planes im not sure "land locked" means much

                            1. re: bobstripower

                              Plane? It's what, a five hour drive from Atlanta to Savannah? Catch them today, put on a truck this afternoon and deliver in the morning.

                              1. re: kengk

                                Cmon i was talking generally, we do get seafood from other places,like Boston,Seattle,Chili--but you support the fact that we do get fresh seafood here--

                                1. re: bobstripower

                                  Yes, I was agreeing with you but also pointing out how close Atlanta is to good seafood even though it is not on the coast.

                                  Ate oysters in Columbus GA this weekend as good as any I've ever had in Apalachicola.