Wednesday, November 4, 2009

we have a winner!

Bruce and I have reviewed our notes on the crab cakes we had on the sail up Chesapeake Bay. We found ourselves it complete agreement. Here are the results.......

First Place

Ruke's Seafood Deck in Ewell on Smith Island had, by far, the best crab cakes. Ewell was the first stop on our trip, so these were the first crab cakes we sampled. We knew right away that they would be hard to beat.

The kindly ladies at Ruke's stayed open a little late - restaurants on Smith Island close at 4 pm when the tourist boats leave - to fix our dinner. The crab cakes were made of nice fresh lump crab meat, no filler, broiled to perfection.
You want to get the best, go to the source. Smith Island (and neighboring Tangier Island) make their living off of blue crabs. There are good crab cakes elsewhere on the bay, but if you want the best this is where you go.

(All I can say is that when we were in St Michaels at the Small Craft Festival, no one was surprised that Ruke's was number one. I was surprised that anyone would even know the name Ruke's, let alone know the wonder of their crab cakes. It made us feel our quest was righteous and that the final decision of the impartial and intelligent judges was impeccable.)

Second Place

Harris Crab House on Kent Island finished a very strong second. Nice crab cake patty, lightly seasoned and served with excellent french fries. Friendly service and a nice view of the Narrows as we ate lunch. This is an old family place and they have kept the family tradition alive.

(I agree, great views of Kent Narrows. This place must rock during the summer. Steve is right, the staff was very friendly and efficient. We didn't have any beer with these crab cakes because we were still going to be sailing on to Rock Hall, where we made up for it later that night.)

Third Place

Waterman's Crab House in Rock Hall came in with a very good third place crab cake. Atmosphere was great, view - of the Rock Hall Harbor - was fantastic. These were good crab cakes. What I have heard since is that the crab cakes are good, the hard shell crabs are GREAT! Those will definitely be on the menu the next time we sail through.

(These were good. I had them two nights in a row, and I didn't mind a little BBQ sauce from my ribs mixing in. I know, I'm not a purest, but I didn't use any thing else like tarter sauce either.)

Fourth Place

And bringing up the rear were the crab cakes at Harrison's Chesapeake House on Tilghman Island.

(What a great setting. It was a neat restaurant and they had a fabulous buffet set up that I would have loved to try, but we were going to have dinner at the Tilghman Inn, which turned out to be a great dinning experience, so we chose wisely.)

These were "ok" crab cakes. A little too much of what seemed like mayo, deep fried. But hey, when eaten out on the patio by the little beach with a cold beer in hand, blue skies above and an old Skipjack sailing by on the way to Dogwood Harbor, they are pretty darned good. I don't recall hearing any gripes from any of the judges on that beautiful afternoon. Sometimes it is about the food, sometimes it is about the place, and sometimes it is both, combined with the fact you are sitting there with a good friend talking about being in the middle of a great adventure. Yes, those were pretty good crab cakes, too.

(These crab cakes were ordered as appetizers, however, they were billed as tasting just like the ones off the regular menu. So, we felt it a fair comparison by Harrison's own description. I think the second round of beers really added to the rating. It is hard to compare a fried thing to a broiled thing, and all the other crab cakes were broiled. I don't think we got a choice at Harrison's. We also had the fried broccoli, which mysteriously had a similar taste ???)


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