In New York, we are blessed with a wonderful selection of oysters. For other types of seafood, it’s just a quick drive away. If your heart desires lobsters, you drive up the coast. To find delicious blue crabs, it’s a quick drive down to the Chesapeake Bay.
Despite spending my middle school years in Potomac region, I am still dumbfounded by the fact that my parents never took us to a restaurant that served Maryland blue crab. So despite my familiarity with the region, this trip was all about new experiences.
Heading south to Baltimore, the first stop was Obrycki’s, an icon in Baltimore’s food culture. Located in a rather unremarkable grey building in the north eastern part of town, you literally smell the restaurant’s entrance before you see it.
Obrycki’s has served countless celebrities and dignitaries through the years, and in recent years a conceptual take on the restaurant has become quite a success at many airports. Despite the ongoing fanfare and spin-off success, the original restaurant is slated to close this fall, so if you haven’t tried this place yet, perhaps it’s time to schedule a weekend trip down south.
While most of the Maryland crab houses rely on old bay, Obrycki’s features its own unique salt and pepper like spice rub. When your order arrives, it’s immediately poured onto your table without much warning. So while the environment looks like a nice sit down restaurant, once the crab arrives, get ready to get messy with the mullet.
Last weekend during Sunday Night Football, the NBC camera crews arrived to shoot a short clip in the kitchen of Obrycki’s. If it really closes in November, it will be missed.
Now for a more rural, casual crab feast, Cantler’s Riverside Inn is a great place to visit. Located a few minutes north of Annapolis, you drive through a residential neighborhood until you arrive at the water. The drive is certainly strange, and doesn’t look like one with a restaurant at the end of the pavement. Luckily there’re usually a stream of cars heading the same direction. On weekends, arrive early for meal time.
With seating indoors and on the porch, the menu is simple casual seafood fare, but with an emphasis on crabs. Sizes available are listed on the wall, and updated throughout the day. The blue crabs are steamed by the bushel and topped with old bay seasoning, very much the traditional style. Prices are very reasonable for fresh, delicious crabs.
When I spent 2 years near D.C. as a teenager, I never went for fresh steamed blue crabs. Now that I live 5 hours away, I think it’ll become part of an annual ritual.
Obrycki’s Crab House
1727 E Pratt St
Baltimore, MD 21231
Cantler’s Riverside Inn
458 Forest Beach Rd
Annapolis, MD 21401