Heavy Seas Alehouse serves crab cakes as a small plate and a large plate, but both share the same description: Lump crab meat with fried green tomato, jalapeño bacon, pickle remoulade, and salad of fennel, endive, and radish. We suspect that the difference is between getting one crab cake or two. We went with the small plate, which was just as described in the single format.
The cake has lots of lumps of crab meat amongst some shreds, showing that some care was taken when mixing the ingredients. Definitely Maryland style with the binder being primarily egg and bread, to the point that one can describe it as 'homestyle'. Spices and peppers join the party to culminate in a decent sized 4 oz patty. The crab cake is fried, and sits sandwiched between a slice of breaded fried green tomato and half a strip of jalapeño bacon. The salad comes with a creamy dressing on top that, while hard to pick out the flavors, works quite well with the greens.
If by describing this crab cake as 'homestyle' takes you back to simpler times with friends and family during the summertime, causing a warm glow to surround you and a smile to cross your face, then you'd pretty much sum up our reaction. Typically we shy away from fried crab cakes, but it really works with this crab cake! The outer crust is crispy and flavorful, but not flavorful enough to mask the sweet taste of the crab meat inside. The spices want to share the main spotlight with the crab meat, but both compliment each other so well that it just works. We usually frown upon needing to add any other ingredients to a crab cake, such as peppers, but they add more color to the crab cake than flavor and are soft, not crunchy, so they don't distract.
We were a bit confused as to why the crab cake would need a strip of bacon or a fried green tomato. Eat a bite of the crab cake with the tomato, and it takes on a new dimension. Despite being fried, the tomato's flavor and texture adds a cooling sensation next to the warm crab cake, and is quite nice together. If anything could have been left out of the equation, it's the bacon. Don't get us wrong -- we LOVE bacon (check out our Recipes section for our bacon crab cake recipe!), but eaten as a whole, the bacon would overpower too much. Better to place it on the side and eat it last, as the jalapeño spiced bacon is really, really good.
Have you sailed the seas with Heavy Seas Alehouse's Lump Crab Cake? Share your experience with us in the comments!