On the way down to Rockville, MD, for my uncle’s 90th birthday party, I spent the night at a Motel 6 in Elkton, a town I picked as there were several inexpensive motels, the town wasn’t huge or hard to navigate, it was before hitting
slowways highways in/around Baltimore on a Friday night (ACK!), and there were several intriguing restaurants. As it was, it took me 7 hours to get there (Google Maps had predicted five and a half), so I was so happy finally to arrive in Elkton!
I almost went Korean, but I’m in MARYLAND. What’s Maryland famous for? Maryland crab. What can’t I find enough of up here in western Massachusetts? Decent seafood. So I picked the crab house restaurant.
It’s definitely set up for crab gnoshing – you get that thick disposable paper instead of tablecloths, and if you are willing you can order crabs by “all you can eat”, or by the dozen. Or individually, as I chose to do. They supply you with a mallet, and whatever dipping sauces (a bit extra) that you want. (Or you save aside the extra lemon and/or bistro dipping sauce from other items….)
I only ordered two whole crabs, medium sized. (The All You Can Eat only come small, 5 inch carapaces.) Simply because I wanted to try other things on the menu. For one, I wanted Maryland crab cakes too – I ended up instead with the 5 crab ball starter – smaller individual pieces than the crab cake itself, but 5 balls were cheaper than a crab cake main dish, and I was interested in tasting rather than gorging.
I did get four raw oysters – a better deal if I’d gotten a dozen, but to be frank, this was the only part of the meal that disappointed. The oysters were fresh, but gritty, and Rhode Island has tastier ones.
I also ordered a PEI mussel appetizer – they come as a dozen or as 3 dozen. Since I wasn’t sharing with a table (travelling down alone, as I’m the only New England relation), I simply ordered a dozen. They came in a garlic butter sauce, with the edges of the bowl dusted with crab boil powder (very much Old Bay).
Being as I missed something green, I also ordered a broccoli side – this came steamed with ground pepper. And because the drive down had been super aggrevating (an extra hour and half of driving due to jams starting prior to hitting the Tappenzee Bridge through much of Northern Jersey), a strawberry daquiri.
All the food arrives at once – so many choices for first bites!
The crabs were awesome, cooked in crab boil which was crusted on the upper surface of each crab. They take a while to eat – I like to get every morsel. I dipped them in garlic butter, or (when that started to congeal) in the leftover bistro sauce meant for the crab balls, or spritzed them with lemon. They’re messy, but that’s to be expected.
I loved the crab balls — the breading wasn’t overpowering, and the chunks of crab were of a decent size. And that dipping sauce! Spicy and a mayo base without taking over the experience.
The oysters, as mentioned – meh.
The mussels were good – but probably (although without the boil powder) similar to things I get back home. Still, I was glad to have had them, and if you are coming in from a part of the country where mussels are not common, by all means get them. They’ve been cooked right.
The broccoli was broccoli – cooked well – probably a little longer than I prefer, but certainly not mushy. (I realize most people cook this veggie slightly longer than I do. Knowing this, the broccoli was definitely fine by me.)
Other things on the menu, not sampled: Snow crab legs, Dungeness crab legs, and some apparently-recommended baby back ribs. (Maybe not everyone in your party does seafood. Or maybe you just want to mix things up a bit.) Various salads with seafood or chicken. Batter fried seafoods. Corn on the cob.
The daquiri was okay, not outstanding, but it was better than the chlorinated ice water, and I was happy to have earned that bit of rum. (I don’t review on the basis of drinkies as I’m usually simply ordering water, tea or coffee when I’m out. Well, occasionally a glass of wine.)
Service was great and attentive. I was at first mildly unhappy that all the food showed up at once, but y’know, this actually worked out for the best. I could try a little of everything then focus in on the items as I chose.
I’d recommend this place. A solid 4.25 points out of 5. If you are simply passing through Maryland, stoking up on the Maryland crab in whatever format or amount is highly desirable. They certainly do that well!
PS, apparently Motel 6 no longer supplies shampoo in the bathrooms. You have to hope there’s some left in their vending machine (there wasn’t).
The party for my Uncle was well-attended. All four of their children and spouses were in attendance, plus most of their grandchildren. I and my brother, his wife, my brother’s two daughters, and my little nearly-4 year old great nephew (and he is GREAT) were also in attendance. My uncle looks barely 80 years old, and is in excellent mental health. He and his wife still live in the home they raised their children in. Our dinner was catered, and excellent – but they’re going to be living off the ample leftovers for a few weeks!
Thank you to Noreen, for taking care of my Chicklets and the adult Layers while I was out of town. (Oh, and the Cats, but they’d have managed without help.)
Mick’s Crab House
902 East Pulaski Skyway (not that far off of I-95, but not an immediate off, either).
Elkton, MD, 21921