It has been such a long time since we've enjoyed the excitement of a pennant race that the search for Baltimore's top crab cake has replaced baseball as my favorite pastime.
My quest focused on three well-known contenders: Faidley Seafood in the Lexington Market, G&M; restaurant in Linthicum and Koco's Pub and Grill on Harford Road in Northeast Baltimore. On a recent afternoon I visited them all, brought their cooked crab cakes home, weighed them on my kitchen scale, then devoured them.
This was crustacean competition at its highest level. Each cake was loaded with lump meat, and instead of inconsequential filler, held together by little more than willpower.
The Koco's crab cake was enormous, weighing slightly more than a half-pound. G&M;'s was almost as large. Both provided enough lump delight for two meals.
My favorite, the Faidley All-Lump Crab Cake, was smaller than the other contenders, more baseball than softball size. But it had magnificent moisture and a tangy mustard spice that complemented its high-caliber crab meat.
Next year the standings could change. Competition is keen in the city of superior crab cakes.
Faidley Seafood --in Lexington Market, 203 N. Paca St., Baltimore, 410-727-4898. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday--Wednesday; 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. The All-Lump Crab Cake, $12.95 for 6 ounces, was a fried, sumptuous blend of moist crab meat and tangy spice, well worth the 17-minute wait in line.
Koco's Pub and Grill --4301 Harford Road, Baltimore, 410-426-3519. Hours: Noon-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. This Boog Powell of crab cakes, $21.95 for 9-plus ounces, was an enormous, broiled beauty, with giant lumps and subtle spice. The wait: 14 minutes.
G&M; Restaurant & Lounge --804 Hammonds Ferry Road, Linthicum Heights, 410-636--1777. Hours: 10 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. This broiled cake, $12.25 for 7-plus ounces, was a tad dry, but nevertheless was a savory bargain, delivered in a mere 7 minutes.
Know of a good carryout place? Let us hear about it. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.