Southern Maryland-This is Living presents Southern Maryland’s Best Crab Cake Competition

Southern Maryland-This is Living presents Southern Maryland’s Best Crab Cake Competition

<em>Photography by Ed Mann</em>

Is there anything that says “Southern Maryland” more than the crab cake? It’s the absolute favorite summer food for so many Southern Marylanders. While we all enjoy picking hard shell crabs with a pitcher of beer and our best buddies, it’s the crab cake sandwich that truly satisfies our crabmeat craving. Whether you like it with tartar sauce or cocktail sauce, fried or broiled, with a bun or without … there is a crab cake out there calling your name! After all, Southern Maryland is Crab Cake Country!

All you crab cake lovers are going to adore this issue. Instead of reviewing a specific restaurant, we decided to host our first annual Southern Maryland’s Best Crab Cake Competition. After inviting all locally-owned restaurants that serve crab cakes to take part, 22 restaurants participated. Special thanks to all the restaurants that put their crab cakes to our test, and to our wonderful judges. The judges weren’t aware of which crab cake came from which restaurant. They judged the carry-out crab cakes on quality of crabmeat, flavor and texture. It was definitely not an easy decision; all the crab cakes were truly unique and special in their own way. But after much discussion, they picked one grand champion and three runners-up. Congratulations to Ruddy Duck, Jerry’s Place, Captain John’s and Clarke’s Landing.

Listed below are the restaurants that participated, along with information they provided about their crab cake offerings and a few special recipes.

Calvert County
Boomerang’s Original Ribs, Solomons
410-326-6050; www.loveribs.com
Owner/Manager: Bill Wells
Years in Business: 19  Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled or fried
Sandwich: $14.95; served with two sides
Platter: $25; served with two sides
Other Specialties: ribs, hand-breaded seafood and homemade desserts
The crab cakes at Boomerang’s are freshly made at the restaurant every day.

Captain’s Table, Solomons
410-326-2772; www.captainstableinsolomons.com
Owner/Manager: Robert and Jeannie Massaro
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled, fried or sautéed
Sandwich: $14; served with fries
Platter: $15; served with two sides
Other Specialties: jumbo stuffed shrimp, stuffed rockfish and snow crab legs
At Captain’s Table, the crab cakes are made with jumbo lump crabmeat, but their other ingredients are a secret.


Dream Weaver, Prince Frederick
410-535-4355; www.dreamweavercatering.com
Owner/Manager: Trish Weaver
Years in Business: 2+  Hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled, fried or pan seared
Sandwich: $10.50; served with choice of salads, fries or onion rings
Platter: $10.50; served with coleslaw, cocktail/tartar sauce and one side
Other Specialties: crab panini; local produce, meats and fish
Dream Weaver’s crabmeat comes from local sources and its crab cakes are “very traditional,” with lump crabmeat and little filler.

2nd Place: Jerry’s Place, Prince Frederick
410-535-3242
Owner/Manager: Deborah Nelson
Years in Business: 3.5
Hours: Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled
Sandwich: $15.95; served with chips and pickle
Platter: $19.95; served with choice of two sides
Other Specialties: crab cake combo (with choice of beer-battered haddock, shrimp, scallops, oysters or soft shell crab) and fresh fish topped with lemon crab
Jerry’s all-meat crab cakes (available in various sizes) are prepared with Hellman’s mayonnaise, Old Bay seasoning, crushed black pepper and cayenne pepper.

1st Place: Ruddy Duck Brewery & Grill, Dowell
410-394-3825; www.ruddyduckbrewery.com
Owner/Manager: Michael Kelley and Carlos Yanez
Years in Business:Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 4-10 p.m., Fri. 4-11 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: baked
Sandwich: market price; served with fries, coleslaw or sautéed vegetables
Platter: market price; served with fries and coleslaw
Other Specialties: duck quesadillas and braised short ribs with chimichurri sauce
Ruddy Duck’s crab cakes are always made with fresh jumbo lump crabmeat that’s never pasteurized. Special ingredients include Old Bay seasoning and Hellman’s mayonnaise.

Stoney’s Kingfishers, Solomons
410-535-1888; www.stoneysseafoodhouse.com
Owner/Manager: Jeannie Stone
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled or fried
Sandwich: $16.50/$19.50; served with potato salad, coleslaw or chips
Platter: $28.50; served with two sides
Other Specialties: rockfish gyro, Stoney’s Steamer and Neptune’s Platter
Stoney’s Kingfishers uses crabmeat from Maryland and Louisiana – and no filler – in its crab cakes. The sandwich can be ordered with a 5-ounce or 8-ounce cake.

Vera’s Beach Club, Lusby
410-586-1182; www.verasbeachclub.com
Owner/Manager: Lisa Del Ricco/Casey St. John
Years in Business: 5
Hours: Thurs.-Sun. open at 11:30 a.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled or fried
Sandwich: $19; served with chips
Platter: $30; served with side salad and two sides
Other Specialties: steamed crabs, baked stuffed shrimp and daily specials
The crab cakes at Vera’s feature jumbo lump crabmeat with no filler. The sandwich is made with one 6-ounce crab cake, while the platter includes two 5-ounce cakes.

Charles County
3rd Place: Captain John’s Crab House, Newburg
301-259-2315; www.cjcrab.com
Owner/Manager: Warren Yates
Years in Business: 48  Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled
Sandwich: $13.99; served with chips and pickle
Platter: $27.99; served with two sides
Other Specialties: steamed crabs and the fried original crab cake
The premium crab cakes at Captain John’s are made in small batches using jumbo and colossal lump crabmeat. The platter includes two of the restaurant’s 5-ounce premium cakes.

Gilligan’s Pier, Newburg
301-259-4514; www.gilliganspier.com
Owner/Manager: Art Jolliffe/Doreen Harris
Years in Business:Hours: open at 11 a.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled, fried or blackened
Sandwich: $13.99; served with choice of side
Platter: $24.99; served with choice of two sides
Other Specialties: all-you-can-eat specials
The crab cakes at Gilligan’s Pier are “very big and very good.”  Sour cream and Yorkshire sauce add a special flavor.

Lefty’s Barbecue, Waldorf
301-870-8998; www.leftysbarbecue.com
Owner/Manager: Walter and Margaret Nash
Years in Business: 22  Hours: Wed.-Thurs. and Sun.
11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: fried
Sandwich/Platter: $18.99; served with choice of side
Other Specialties: North Carolina-style pork barbecue, ribs, coleslaw, collards, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato soufflé and many other “homestyle” dishes
The crab cakes at Lefty’s are made without bread, but with “a whole lot of love and tenderness.”

Marie’s Diner, La Plata
301-932-6884; www.maries-diner.com
Owner/Manager: Bobby Cooper
Years in Business: 25  Hours: 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled or fried
Sandwich: $12.99; served with chips and coleslaw
Platter: served with two sides
Other Specialties: fried pork chops and hot turkey meatloaf
Marie’s Diner makes crab cakes with jumbo lump crabmeat and a special blend of seasonings. The platter features two crab cakes.

St. Mary’s County
Big T’s Crab Shack, Mechanicsville
301-884-4495; www.bigtscrabshack.com
Owner/Manager: Lois Light  Hours: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sandwich: $13.95; served with fries
Platter: $21.95; served with sides and a roll
Other Specialties: carry-out seafood market
Big T’s crab cakes are made with jumbo lump crabmeat and are from an old family recipe.


Blue Wind Gourmet, California, Md.
301-737-2714; www.bluewindgourmet.com
Owner/Manager: Rob Plant
Years in Business: 6.5  Hours: 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: baked
Sandwich: $12.95; served with chips, salad or side of the day
Other Specialties: catfish, rockfish, Cuban and “Garbage” sandwiches
Blue Wind’s crab cakes are made without filler and baked in a convection oven.

4th Place: Clarke’s Landing, Hollywood, Md.
301-373-8468; www.clrestaurant.com
Owner/Manager: Rusty and Nick Shriver
Years in Business: 13  Hours: Tues.-Thurs. and Sun. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled or fried
Sandwich: $15; served with homemade crab chips
Platter: $17; served with choice of two sides
Other Specialties: crab imperial and crab dip
There’s no filler in the crab cakes at Clarke’s Landing, but the restaurant won’t disclose its secret recipe.

The Front Porch, Leonardtown
301-997-1009; www.thefrontporchsomd.com
Owner/Manager: Brendan Cahill
Years in Business:Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: pan seared
Sandwich: $11.95; served with fries or salad
Platter: $22.95; served with vegetables and mashed potatoes
Other Specialties: rockfish, tuna and N.Y. strip
At The Front Porch, colossal crabmeat and a “passion for quality” are the special ingredients in the crab cakes. The restaurant uses local crabmeat when available.


Kevin’s Corner Kafe, Leonardtown
301-997-1260
Owner/Manager: Byron Kevin Thompson
Years in Business:Hours: Tues. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Wed.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 2-7 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled or fried
Sandwich: $9.99; served with chips and a pickle, salad bar, or choice of two sides
Platter: $12.99; served with salad bar or two sides
Other Specialties: fresh soft crab, crab dip, rockfish, oysters, shrimp and scallops
The Kafe’s crab cakes are prepared using local, fresh crabmeat that is handpicked at the restaurant. They’re made with jumbo lump crabmeat, mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay seasoning and black pepper.

Lenny’s Restaurant, California, Md.
301-737-0777; www.lennys.net
Owner/Manager: Daniel Rebarchick
Years in Business: 59
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: sautéed or grilled
Sandwich: $17.99; served with fries or coleslaw
Platter: $17.99; served with your choice of two sides
Other Specialties: prime rib and Dan’s jambalaya pasta
At Lenny’s, the crab cakes are made in the traditional style, with crabmeat from Maryland and Delaware. They’re not fried, so you get “less grease and more crab.”

Lexington Restaurant, Lexington Park
240-237-8096
Owner/Manager: Krissy and David Greer
Years in Business: 1.5  Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled, fried or grilled
Sandwich: $10.99; served with fries and coleslaw
Platter: $19.99; served with fries and coleslaw
Other Specialties: meatloaf and steamed shrimp
The Lexington’s crab cakes are made without filler and include green peppers for a unique twist. The platter features two cakes.

Morris Point Restaurant, Abell
301-769-2500; www.morris-point.com
Owner/Manager: Chris Soussanin
Years in Business: 13  Hours: Fri. 5-9 p.m., Sat. noon-9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled or fried
Sandwich: $11; served with fries and coleslaw
Platter: $18; served with two sides
Other Specialties: stuffed soft shell crab
Morris Point makes “an honest crab cake” with several special ingredients, including dry mustard, horseradish and butter. The crabmeat is sourced from St. Mary’s County.


Sea Breeze Restaurant, Mechanicsville
301-373-5217
Owner/Manager: Jeff and Elizabeth Quade
Years in Business: 17  Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled or fried
Sandwich: $8.99
Platter: $10.99; served with fries and coleslaw
Other Specialties: steamed crabs and cream of crab soup
Sea Breeze’s crab cakes are made from an old-fashioned family recipe with crabmeat from local sources.
 
Spinnakers Waterfront Restaurant, Point Lookout Marina, Ridge
301-872-5020
Owner/Manager: Steve and Cindy Bradburn
Years in Business: Hours: Wed. 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Thurs.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled or fried
Sandwich: $12.99; served with chips or fries
Platter: $23.99; served with two sides
Other Specialties: steamed crabs, rockfish and crab legs
Spinnakers’ platter includes two crab cakes, and you “won’t see any filler” in them.

Tides Restaurant, Lexington Park
301-862-5303; www.thetidesrestaurant.net
Owner/Manager: Dorothy Whitehead
Years in Business: 5+  Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
How Crab Cakes are Cooked: broiled
Sandwich: $13.50; served with choice of featured side
Platter: $25; served with choice of starch and vegetable, salad, and freshly made bread
Other Specialties: many, visit website to view
The crab cakes at The Tides are made with a unique blend of spices and served with Cajun tartar sauce. All crabmeat is pasteurized.   ✦

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