Among the produce and food vendors at Baltimore's rambunctious Lexington Market, Faidley sells crab cakes so packed with subtly spiced crabmeat that you won't mind having to stand at counters to eat them. We can't decide between the lump and backfin versions, so we advise you try both.
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Cockrell's Creek Seafood Deli, Reedville, Virginia
Mostly a seafood market, Cockrell's has a tiny dining room and a few picnic tables outside along the water. No frills, no ambience, but great crab cakes. Enjoy these meaty specimens as they were intended--right out there on the water's edge; 804-453-6326.
It's tempting, of course, to think that the world of crab cakes is defined by the waterways of the Eastern Seaboard and its rivers and bays, but that wouldn't be fair to chefs like David LeFevre, who brought his childhood summer experiences on Virginia's Eastern Shore to the shores of Southern California. The result is a beautiful homage to the classic Maryland blue crab cake, with deft and delicious elevations.
Tom Douglas, founder of Etta's, the bright and delicious seafood restaurant that looks out on Seattle's Pike Place Market, is a genius. Because no one prior to him had thought to take the sweet and tender meat of the Dungeness crab and use it to make a crab cake. So he did, when he arrived in the city in 1977, and the rest is Pacific Northwest culinary history
A beloved culinary landmark in culinary-crazy Charleston, chef Michelle Weaver’s restaurant in the Belmond Charleston Place hotel is especially beloved for her crab cakes. Weaver’s been quoted saying that the small, perfect cakes are held together by “lump crab meat and love.” See if you don’t agree.
8 of 9Photo: Dorchester County Tourism/Jay Fleming
What started as a third-generation–run crab processing plant has grown into a trendy community gathering spot complete with an open-air crab-and-beer garden (a.k.a. heaven on earth). The crab cakes are among the kings of the menu—light on filling and heavy on crab meat: a Chesapeake classic.
Is there a Mecca for crab cakes? If so, this might be it: For more than four decades this Baltimore institution founded by Demetrios “Jimmy” Minadakis has been known as a crab cake lover’s pilgrimage. The recipe is homemade, passed down over generations, and every bit as good today as when Jimmy was first dreaming of feeding the masses.