The Pratt Street Ale House has a few varieites of crab cakes on the menu. For appetizers, they offer mini crab cakes coated in panko bread crumbs, fried crisp, and served over corn and black bean relish. The crab cake sandwich mixes lump crab meat with homemade imperial sauce and simple spices, broiled, and served with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce on a toasted brioche roll, accompanied with fries and a pickle. For an entree, they offer a double platter of jumbo lump crab cakes, broiled or fried, and served with rice and veggies. They also feature crab on other menu items as well, so look out for those.
For this review, we went with the Crab Cake Dinner. The crab cake consists of mostly broken crab pieces, bound together with mainly mayonnaise, and we suspect some spices. If breadcrumbs were used in the mix, we really coudn't detect it other than from the crust on the outside of the crab cake. While we ordered our cakes broiled, they came out pan fried, so if you're particular about the way your crab cakes are cooked, make sure the kitchen gets it right.
While the crab was mostly broken, there were a few medium-sized lumps in the mix. The crab itself had a nice, sweet flavor to it, but we also detected a faint taste of fishiness as well (possibly from padding the crab with blue swimmer meat). But if you describe your crab cake as jumbo lump, then you should take better care to keep those lumps intact as much as possible. The amount of sauce keeping all that crab together, while slightly more than usual, helps to keep the crab moist. We really couldn't detect much of any spices in the mix, with the predominant flavors being crab and mayonnaise.
What was put in front of us actually tasted pretty good. The crab flavor came through, the crust on the outside of the cake didn't impart any off flavors (despite looking a bit darker than usual), and the flavor of the binder didn't overpower the crab. But for what was put in front of us, there could have been a much better effort. They could have mixed in more spices to accentuate the crab and to tone down the binder flavor, possibly mix in some parsley for color. Otherwise, what you get served gets a little boring after a while.
As a side note, this is a brew pub, and they are known for their beers. There is a reason this is Baltimore's longest-running brewpub! So if you're unfamiliar with Oliver's beers, stop on by and give a few of them a try!
Have you tried the Pratt Street Ale House's Crab Cakes? Tell us about it in the comment!