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Traditional Steamed Crabs in Baltimore & Maryland


Kim WB
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Hello. I am searching for a place similiar to Gablers, which is no longer in business. I'm looking for a very casual, "beer and crab joint" kind of place. In the Chesapeake area. Off the beaten track, not Obricki's or similiar. Well spiced crabs...oh, my mouth is watering just typing this.

Gabler's, in Perryman, was on the Black? Shark? Blackshark? river, looked like it was about to FALL IN the river, actually, hadn't seen a coat of paint in decades, newspaper over the tables, crabs in a bucket, call ahead to reserve your dozens.

Any suggestions appreciated, NJ couple experiencing crab withdrawl!!

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  • 7 months later...

Be extravagant. Use top quality lump crabmeat and no bread or mayonnaise

Purée four large scallops. Season with the chopped zest of 1-2 lemons, chopped scallions, curry powder and s&p to taste. Fold in the crabmeat (1 container = 14oz).

Shape and chill. Coat with flour, eggwash and panko just before sautéeing, preferably in curry oil.

I served these as an appetiser for so many dinners that I finally grew bored. I plated them with citrus gastrique and dotted the edge of the plate with either wasabi oil or wasabi tobiko. This looked beautiful and offset the richness of the crab.

Ruth Friedman

Ruth Friedman

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Moving beyond cakes, do you enjoy eating blue crabs whole, or is that more about the experience of whacking them to bits with a mallet?

If one's goal is to combine physical exercise with regional dining - to work those arms - then blue crabs are ideal. Otherwise way too much effort for way too little reward. Give me a Maine Lobster anytime.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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..... Otherwise way too much effort for way too little reward. .....

My father maintained that eating "blue claws" was a tasty something to do while drinking beer.

-- Jeff

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." -- Groucho Marx

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Can anyone in the Chesapeake area post when the local crab festival/festivals take place? Is it always the same weekend every year or do the dates move around? Is there one festival that shouldn't be missed? I would love to make a weekend roadtrip out of this from Philadelphia, but want to plan my visit around one of the food fests.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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It's a bit early for the 2003 festival schedule, but here is the 2002 schedule courtesy of the Maryland Dept of Agriculture.

The marquee event is the Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield (featured in an episode of "All-American Festivals" on the Food Network). That's always on Labor Day weekend. The Maryland Seafood Festival is usually held the following weekend (Annapolis area).

We had planned to attend the Crisfield festivities last August, but just didn't feel like driving quite that far for crabs. So we went to Cantler's and had our own crab festival.

I do miss living in northern California and eating Dungeness, but blue crab has a sweeter and more delicate taste. Blue crab is like dim sum - it's a social dining experience. Okay, I've eaten many crabs while alone and have gone out for dim sum alone, but that speaks more to my total addiction to both rather than to how normal people handle these culinary delights.

Dim sum and steamed blue crabs... :wub:

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  • 3 months later...

'We were, for many years, devotees of Gabler's in Perryman, MD for crabs..it closed. :angry::sad: We're looking for a wooden mallet, paper on the tables, Abita beers kinda place to replace it..waterfront nice but not required. Ramshackle is ok, Gablers always looked like it was ready to fall into the river, but had the best spiced crabs I've ever had.

I've read about Jimmy Cantler's. Any opinions? Suggestions for alternatives?

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We still totally enjoy going to Harris on Kent Narrows. My son used to work there and swears that they get the best crabs available at all times of the year. We love to sit outside on a cooler day, get a pitcher or two, an order or two of onion rings (a palate cleanser) and start picking. It is right on the water and very easy to find off route 50.

Man, I just finished dinner and my mouth is starting to water. We will stay away this weekend because of the crowds, but will probably go back next weekend for our first crabs of the year. Can't wait.

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I can't seem to find an address..what state is the town of Kent Narrows in? Also, is it a paper on t he tables kinda place? Thanks in advance for any help...

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Kent narrows is the area just across the bay bridge on the eastern shore. its in maryland.

i cant understand how people who live in this area fail to realise the abundance of fresh seafood available in their own backyard. 'oh, i go to xxx market-- they have nice dungeness crabs,' or 'i can get nice chilean sea bass from xyx market...' i go 100yds. behind my apt, throw a line in the water and catch something you'll pay $9/lb. if you dont live near water, drive 30mins 'till you find some.

this is the Chesapeake Bay fer chrissakes. take advantage of it!

[ed: wooden mallet?]

Edited by dave88 (log)
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i cant understand how people who live in this area fail to realise the abundance of fresh seafood available in their own backyard.  'oh, i go to xxx market-- they have nice dungeness crabs,' or 'i can get nice chilean sea bass from xyx market...'  i go 100yds. behind my apt, throw a line in the water and catch something you'll pay $9/lb. if you dont live near water, drive 30mins 'till you find some.

Uh, we don't have time to go fishing? Or if you're me, hate fishing? There's nothing wrong with buying what you don't want to procure for yourself, Dave. I live at least an hour from the Chesapeake.

[ed:  wooden mallet?]

Used for picking crabs, along with your fingers. :smile:

Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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i cant understand how people who live in this area fail to realise the abundance of fresh seafood available in their own backyard.  'oh, i go to xxx market-- they have nice dungeness crabs,' or 'i can get nice chilean sea bass from xyx market...'  i go 100yds. behind my apt, throw a line in the water and catch something you'll pay $9/lb. if you dont live near water, drive 30mins 'till you find some.

Uh, we don't have time to go fishing? Or if you're me, hate fishing? There's nothing wrong with buying what you don't want to procure for yourself, Dave. I live at least an hour from the Chesapeake.

[ed:  wooden mallet?]

Used for picking crabs, along with your fingers. :smile:

wooden mallets are for rookies. :cool:

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wooden mallets are for rookies.  :cool:

true... tho it is handy for getting that crab claw whack just right-- so you end up with one big piece of meat...

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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wooden mallets are for rookies. :cool:

true... tho it is handy for getting that crab claw whack just right-- so you end up with one big piece of meat...

everyone picks crabs differently --i use a butter knife for everything. the knife side to persuade the meat from the body and the handle to crack the claws.

i could even see using a beer bottle.

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wooden mallets are for rookies.   :cool:

I think if you read back about a year's worth of posts, you'll discover that hte officail e-hgullet terminology is TOURISTS, as in " Wooden Mallets are for Tourists" :laugh:

Anyway, I would be a tourist, coming down from NJ, so I need a mallet! IF there was ever a time when you were unable to walk out to your backyard to catch the crabs, DAve, is there ia restaurant that would fit my description that you would choose?

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Kim;

Geez, I'm sure you were not trying to start a symposium on wooden mallets. I have lived in MD for 35 years and have enjoyed eating crabs for 34 of them. I use a mallet occasionally, as do the great majority of my crab picking friends, four of them born and raised in Maryland. So there you go.

Harris Crab House, as mentioned, is just to the east of the Bay Bridge. It is visable from Route 50 looking to the North. It is near Annies and is quite easy to find. It is definitely a brown paper and mallet place. It is always much fun and I would hardily recommend it to you.

Here's to happy pickin.

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Near Harris Crab House is the Narrows Restaurants which, along with Angelina's, Stoney's and Jerry's arguably have Maryland's best crab cake. Stoney's Broome Island location (ONLY this one) is also a contender for Maryland's best overall crab house with ambience superior to Cantler's (i.e. a literal floating barge houses tables where crabs are cracked along with superior crab cakes, cream of crab soup, etc.-none of which Cantler's is very good at). A lot of people in Baltimore rave about Kelly's and there are fans of Pope's Creek with Robertson's Crab House.

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for crabs, I'm not convinced Harris is any better than Fisherman's Deck, which is on the other side of Kent Island, although both are far better than Cantler's. but I've got to second Joe H's recommendation for the crabcakes at the Narrows. I've spent years sailing around the Chesapeake (as an excuse to look for good seafood restaurants), and these may be the best on the Bay.

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Thank you all for your help. We have decided on staying at the Inn at Perry Cabin, in St. Michael's , and crabs Saturday early lunch at The Crab Claw. The CC doesn't take res on a Holiday lunch, so we're going to bring our patience ( along with our mallets!) and hope for the best.

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What are the commonly accepted pros and cons of boiling vs. steaming? Seems like its a real point of contention between folks in the ChesBay area.

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