When you think of Little Italy, your thoughts drift immediately to visions of spaghetti, meatballs, garlic bread, and gelato (mmmm....Vaccaro's). If you had to think Italian seafood, then you would probably just imagine calamari, and maybe a nice bronzini. But certainly not crab cakes. But that is where Pacific Coast is different. Located amongst the Italian eateries lies this new establishment to Baltimore's restaurant scene, which opened in April 2011. The idea is a California grill using fresh, natural ingredients, which is something that a seafood town like Baltimore can appreciate. So how does West Coast fare do on the East Coast? Continue on and find out!
Jumbo Crab Cake entree is a 10 oz. crab cake topped with a Dijon remoulade sauce, served with potatoes and the vegetable of the day. Steak and Cake is also available, which uses a 6 oz. crab cake. Crab cakes are also available for lunch with a crab cake sandwich (served on a toasted English muffin with tomato, lettuce and a sweet Dijon remoulade sauce, using a 6 oz. crab cake), as well as a crab cake entree (same as dinner entree, but $4 less (at the time of this writing) and a smaller 6 oz. crab cake). The dinner entree was not served with cocktail, tartar or lemon (nor was any offered).
A 10 oz. crab cake is pretty big. When it was brought out, I immediately thought that it looked just like a G&M crab cake. Yes, it was certainly jumbo lump. But, just like the G&M cake, the large lumps of crab lack that signature flavor of the Maryland blue crab. (I would venture to guess that blue swimmer crab was used, but this is unconfirmed and just going by experience.)
The filler really didn't have much of a flavor at all, which is a good thing with any crab cake, but especially a jumbo lump one. The texture was light and fluffy like scrambled eggs, but with a bready texture. The lack of flavor allowed the crab flavor to lead the dance, supporting those large morsels of white, flaky crab meat, holding them together yet at the same time laying low and keeping out of the way. But, sadly, the crab flavor just doesn't deliver. Without much of any spicing in the mix, there isn't a whole lot of flavor from any thing.
Except for the Dijon remoulade. The Dijon was sharp, pungent and flavorful. With a sausage, it would be perfect. But this is a crab cake, and the Dijon takes over and overpowers so that is the only thing you taste. I struggled to find a happy medium, but even the smallest traces of the Dijon were too powerful when combined with the large lumps of crab.
The sides were a bit off as well -- salty wilted spinach and potatoes where I struggled to figure out the flavor (citrus? rosemary? olive oil?). But the one thing that gets huge points was their healthy pour of wine. Two thumbs up in the value department there!
Have you experienced Pacific Coast Dining Company's jumbo crab cake? Let us know in the comments!
- Restaurant Name: Pacific Coast Dining Company
- Address: 413 S High St Baltimore, MD 21202
- Neighborhood: Little Italy
- Restaurant Type: Local
- Website: http://www.paccoastdining.com
- Review Date: 06/08/2011 7:01pm
- Atmosphere: Not Busy
- Item(s) Ordered: Jumbo Crab Cake
- Cooking Style: Broiled
- Other Styles Available: Yes
- Price: 19.00
- Order Type: Single Platter
- Crab Content: Jumbo Lump
- Filler: Average
- Spice: Minimal
- Overall Impression: Average
Rating (out of 5 crabs):