Philly’s Best Crabcakes

We love crabcakes. We also love the Inquirer for their shortlist of Philly crabcakes:


Had a big, meaty blob of a crabcake at Oceanaire on Washington Square not long ago. Hope it’s hanging in there (along with Susanna Foo’s singular One-Hundred-Corner Crabcake). A recheck of Striped Bass turned up a sweet, tender rendition, unbreaded shreds of Dungeness crabmeat packed in a ring mold, paired with julienned green apple and fennel frond. (Note to chef: Lose that feathery fennel; it’s like chewing wet fur.) So you try a few newcomers. At Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat, the retro-chic eatery in Northern Liberties, the crabcake is a mistake - a vile, inedible pancake. At Knock, the refitted, straight-friendly dining room at 12th and Locust, on the other hand, the baked crabcakes are hefty, tasty scoops, kicked up a notch with creole mustard. Which brings me to Sang Kee Asian Bistro, the busy Wynnewood duck house. Owner Michael Chow says crabcakes were an afterthought on the otherwise Asian menu. But they’ve turned out elegantly, two tall plugs (about the size and look of diver scallops) seared to a crispy edge on the top; sweet, creamy and crabby inside. They’re animated with tangy tangerine dipping sauce. Sang Kee’s cakes, like most locals, are made from canned pasteurized crabmeat from Indonesia. But that’s hardly the whole story: At Anastasi Seafood, the warm Italian Market fish house (where the hard-shells don’t make it into the cakes), the broiled crabcakes had a mildly metallic aftertaste. Not so at Devon Seafood Grill on Rittenhouse Square, which uses three parts super-jumbo-lump “premium, pasteurized” crabmeat to one of regular backfin in its pristine, virtually all-meat broiled cakes. Nor was there any chemical hint in the beautifully seasoned and presented (though disconcertingly under-heated) mini-crabcakes at Nineteen (XIX), the dining room atop the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue. Chef Marc Plessis says he looked to the Old Bay spicing and flavors of a Louisiana crab boil (with added garlic, peppers, onion) to season his cakes, using a shrimp mousse - reminiscent of the style of the Le Bec-Fin classics - as his binder. Dotted with sweet-tart tomato-pepper jam and on a dab of tarragon mayonnaise, they’re the most flavorful contenders I’ve had in the city.

So. Much. Seafood.

Whither crabcakes? [Inquirer]

[Image via Philadelphia Inquirer]

Philly’s Best Crabcakes