With a name like The Harp, you instantly know that they are an Irish bar. Not just any Irish bar, but one of 2013 Baltimore's Best Restaurants according to Urbanspoon, and was named one of Baltimore's 25 Best Bars by Baltimore Magazine, as well as one of Restaurant.com's top rated restaurants in 2012. Now, Irish bars will generally serve your Irish menu regulars, such as Bangers & Mash, Fish & Chips, and a fresh pint of Guinness. While all of your favorites are there, but there are some items that aren't so Irish. Like, for instance, crab cakes! Read on and see if they lived up to The Harp's reputation!
Crab cakes are available as either a sandwich or as part of the Steak & Cake entree. The sandwich is just the crab cake served on a kaiser roll, alongside an order of homemade chips (or upgrade to the waffle fries); the entree pairs a 12oz. hand cut New York Strip with the jumbo lump crab cake, with your choice of two sides. This review is for the sandwich.
Breaking apart the crab cake, we see that it is super creamy on the inside, and the crab meat is a mixture of average-sized lumps and broken pieces. Clearly a mayonnaise-based binder with some spices mixed in. Broiled is the only cooking method, and by the looks of ours, it got a little too crisp on the bottom.
The crab meat has a nice, sweet flavor. And while the binder is really thin and loose, there is a good amount of flavor in it. While both try to compete for your attention, the flavors combined work really well together. Separately, the crab cake is quite nice. A good combination of creamy and crabby, despite there being too much char on the base of the cake.
As a sandwich, however, we're not sure this works out so well. The bun, which is already naturally firm, was toasted on the grill, which increased the firmness. Trying to eat a soft, saucy cake on an overly firm bun ends up with the crab cake trying to escape. The bun has a really good flavor, but paired with the flavors from the crab cake, there is just too many components fighting for center stage.
Sandwich aside, we thought this was a really good crab cake. Aside from not burning the bottoms of the cakes, we'd really love it if there was less sauce. This would lessen the spicing a bit, and let more of the sweet crab flavor come through. If you do happen to try the sandwich, we recommend you ditch the bun.
Have you tried The Harp's crab cakes? Tell us about in the comments!
- Restaurant Name: The Harp
- Address: 8706 Belair Road Nottingham, MD 21236
- Neighborhood: Nottingham/Perry Hall
- Restaurant Type: Local
- Website: http://www.theharprestaurant.com/
- Review Date: 01/11/2014 7:16pm
- Atmosphere: Busy
- Item(s) Ordered: Crab Cake Sandwich
- Cooking Style: Broiled
- Other Styles Available: No
- Available by mail order?: No
- Price: 17.99
- Order Type: Sandwich
- Crab Content: Jumbo Lump
- Filler: Average
- Spice: Average
- Overall Impression: Very Good
Rating (out of 5 crabs):