The sad demise of the Maryland crab cake
OK, that may be a slight exaggeration, but I found myself looking forward to an Artscape crab cake last night. And that's just sick.
Please understand. I love jumbo lump crab cakes, well seasoned and with a minimum of filler. I like them broiled. But when you order them in a restaurant, you have to give the owner your first born to pay for them, given the price of jumbo lump crab meat. ...
I also don't like the way these special occasion cakes have driven out the old-fashioned crab cake, which chw spoke so eloquently about under an earlier post.
In the same way that every Baltimore restaurateur believes his or her restaurant cannot survive without a crab cake on the menu, he or she now believes crab cakes have to be made with colossal jumbo lump and cannot possibly be messed with or deep fried.
I believe that's why crab imperial has mostly disappeared from menus -- it's too much like today's crab cakes, only with more mayonnaise.
Just a theory.
Anyway, last night I wanted an inexpensive crab cake, but a good one, with no lump crab meat and therefore maybe a shell or two (not a requirement). Well seasoned, with some but not too much binder. And fried to a golden crunchiness.
The restaurants I review don't feature that style of crab cake anymore. I have to wait until the flower mart or Artscape to get one.
Later note: I hope this doesn't sound like I blame the restaurateurs here. They are as much a victim of the It HAS to Be Lump and Broiled Syndrome as the consumers are. I'm just saying there is room for both. EL
(Tasha Treadwell/Sun photographer)