Mid-Atlantic Seafood Dives

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Seafood Dives

Jean Allsopp

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NEW JERSEY

Allen's Clam Bar, 56 50 U.S. Highway 9, New Gretna, NJ; 609/296-4106. No frills, no alcohol (bring your own), no credit cards, but good, inexpensive fried seafood. (2001)

Harpoon Henry's, 91 Beach Dr., North Cape May, NJ; 609/886-5529. When the frozen-drink menu dwarfs the food menu, you get a pretty good idea that people have fun here. We recommend the clam chowder and the glorious sunsets over Delaware Bay. (2005)

Klein's Waterside Cafe, 708 River Rd., Belmar, NJ; 732/6681-1177 or kleinsfish.com . Sit on the patio overlooking the Shark River and enjoy steamed lobsters, the clambake, or the shrimp or flounder Français. (1998)

Oyster Creek Inn, 41 Oyster Creek Dock, Leeds Point, NJ; 609/652-8565. At the end of the road on Great Bay. Delicious snapper (snapping turtle) soup, broiled scallops, broiled shrimp, and applesauce. (2002)

Spike's Fish Market Restaurant, 415 Broadway, Point Pleasant, NJ; 732/295-9400. Nothing fried and everything fresh; it's a seafood market as well as a restaurant. (1998)

DELAWARE

Ed's Chicken & Crabs, Highway 1 and Swedes Street, Dewey Beach, DE; 302/227-9484. "Chicken Ed's" enjoys a cult following for its fresh, steamed blue crabs dusted with Old Bay seasoning; BYOB. Ed's operates from April until the end of crab season, around November. (2006)

The Fenwick Crab House Restaurant, 100 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island, DE; 302/539-2500 or beach-net.com/ficrabhouse . The meaty backfin crab cakes get extra points for savory seasoning. Other interesting options include vegetable crab soup (a tomato-based crab-veggie chowder) and crunchy homemade potato chips. (2007)

MARYLAND

Bertha's, 734 S. Broadway, Baltimore, MD; 410/327-5795 or berthas.com . Justly famous for steamed mussels. (1998)

Cantler's Riverside Inn, 458 Forest Beach Rd., Annapolis, MD; 410/757-1311 or cantlers.com . Boats unload fresh crabs right at the Cantler's dock; try the stuffed rockfish, too. (1999)

Davis' Pub, 400 Chester Ave., Annapolis, MD; 410/268-7432. Fantastic crab cakes, made with crackers instead of breadcrumbs. (1997)

Magothy Seafood Crab Deck & Tiki Bar, 700 Mill Creek Rd., Arnold, MD; 410/647-5793. At this marinaside tent without walls, local crabbers pull right up to drop off their catches, which get turned into heavenly crab cake sandwiches. (2003)

Price's Seafood, 654 Water St., Havre de Grace, MD; 410/939-2782. Dig into a pile of steamed crabs dumped onto your butcher paper-covered table. But don't neglect the steamed shrimp, the lump crab cake, or Dad's Crab Chowder. (Cash only.) (2005)

Red Roost, 2670 Clara Rd., Whitehaven, MD; 410/546-5443. The red-painted building began life as a chicken house. These days, steamed crab rules the Roost. Prefer not to dig out that armor-protected meat? Go for the broiled seafood platter, which includes a terrific crab cake. (2004)

Robertson's Crab House, 11455 Popes Creek Rd., Popes Creek, MD; 301/934-3300 or robertsonscrabhouse.com . Wooden booths and tables covered with butcher paper, wonderful views of the Potomoc River, and terrific crabs. (2001)

Sneaky Pete's, 12913 Ocean Gateway, Ocean City, MD; 410/213-1771 or hooperscrabhouse.com . Sitting in an open-wall bar, perched on pilings above Assawoman Bay, you're tearing into an all-you-can-eat serving of boiled blue crabs. Summer on Maryland's Eastern Shore couldn't get more perfect. (2005)

Town Dock Restaurant, 125 Mulberry St., St. Michaels, MD; 410/745-5577 or town-dock.com . At Sunday brunch, you'll want to savor every spoonful of the rich crab bisque before your shellfish-laden eggs St. Michaels arrives. We also love the chunky hash browns with red and green bell peppers. (2006)

Waterman's Crab House, 21055 Sharp Street Wharf, Rock Hall, MD; 410/639-2261 or watermanscrabhouse.com . A classic Chesapeake Bay crab house on Maryland's Eastern Shore, recently renovated but still unpretentious. (2002)

The Wharf Rat, 801 S. Ann St., Baltimore, MD; 410/276-9034 or thewharfrat.com . With great fish-and-chips, excellent craft beers, nautical decor, and an air of elegance gone to seed, this cozy place in Baltimore's funky Fells Point neighborhood has it all. (2007)

Woody's Crab House, 29 S. Main St., North East, MD; 410/287-3541 or woodyscrabhouse.com . Any kind of crab is great, including the crab cake sandwich. (2000)

VIRGINIA

Chick's Oyster Bar, 2143 Vista Circle, Virginia Beach, VA; 757/481-5757. Great steamed shrimp, clams, oysters, mussels, and, in season, soft-shell crabs. (2000)

Cockrell's Creek Seafood Deli, 567 Seaboard Rd., Reedville, VA; 804/453-6326 or www.smithpointseafood.com . Mostly a seafood market, with a tiny dining room and a few picnic tables outside along the water. No frills, no ambience, but great crab cakes. (2004)

Crab Shack, 7601 River Rd., Newport News, VA; 757/245-2722 or crabshackonthejames.com . From May's first full moon until late summer, feast on soft-shell crab. Any time, dig into the zesty coleslaw with shredded red and green cabbage and spicy mayo―and enjoy the sunsets. (2006)

Fairport Marina, 252 Polly Cove Rd., Reedville, VA; 804/453-5002. Locals know it as Roy's Place, a beer joint that serves soft-shell crabs year-round. (1999)

The Galley Restaurant, 16236 General Puller Highway, Deltaville, VA; 804/776-6040. Excellent crab cakes, fried seafood, and seafood cakes (crawfish, shrimp, scallops, crab). (2003)

Harpoon Larry's Oyster Bar, 2000 N. Armistead Ave., Hampton, VA; 757/827-0600. The clam chowder's clear both belies its strong, salty flavor. Also try the steamed seafood. (2003)

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