One of the big to-do items when visiting Baltimore is to try the crab cake. The city is famous for them, after all. More than likely, you'll be in the Inner Harbor area at some point, either for your daytime activities, and/or for your lodging. And that area is definitely not without its crab cake options. But do you venture down to the harbor, where names like the Rusty Scupper, Phillips and McCormick & Schmick's entices you? Or do you eat at the hotel restaurant where you are staying?
17 Light is located at the Residence Inn, which is one of the more family-friendly locations around the Inner Harbor. Suites are typically more spacious, allow for more privacy, and have kitchens where you can make traveling a bit more affordable. And upon looking upon the menu, you may notice that they have a crab cake. Brilliant! The Baltimore Marriott Waterfront over in Harbor East had some delicious crab cakes. Will these follow suit? Or should you venture somewhere else (say, around the corner)? Read on to find out!
The Maryland Lump Crab Cakes are comprised of two cakes served with Old Bay butter compote, smashed red potatoes and seasonal vegetables (in our case, it was asparagus). Also available is their petite crab cakes appetizer, as well as a sandwich. The sandwich comes broiled and served on a kaiser roll with lettuce and tomato. Both are served with Old Bay tartar sauce. Only the sandwich indicates a cooking style. The platter appeared to be fried when served.
The lump crab meat was not as sweet as it could be, but gave off a little bit of flavor. The cake itself is definitely Maryland style, which is typically heavy on the breadcrumbs. But this one was overly bready. With as much crab is in the cake, the predominate texture and flavor is breadcrumbs. And while only there for texture and color, the parsley was overkill. The Old Bay butter compote was nice, although a tad bit heavy on the onion. (The term compote here is a bit confusing, as it is typically a fruit dessert. Maybe calling it an aioli is too passé?)
With the over-abundence of parsley and bread crumbs, the crab cakes were very dry. Not even the juice from the lemon was enough to rehydrate these cakes. Having the compote as the only source of moisture on the plate is off-putting and shouldn't be the source of flavor in a proper crab cake. The Old Bay flavor was a bit heavy in places, which was either from the way the crab cakes were mixed, or from trying to rehydrate the cakes through the compote. One cake was warm, but not overly hot. The other was a bit cold in the center. The dryness extended to the potatoes and vegetables -- not much moisture in the mashed potatoes, and the asparagus could have used some olive oil or butter.
Have you tried 17 Light's Maryland Lump Crab Cakes? Let us know in the comments!
- Restaurant Name: 17 Light
- Address: 17 Light St Baltimore, MD 21202
- Neighborhood: Inner Harbor
- Restaurant Type: Local
- Website: http://www.17-light.com
- Review Date: 07/13/2011 5:28pm
- Atmosphere: Not Busy
- Item(s) Ordered: Maryland Lump Crab Cakes
- Cooking Style: Fried
- Other Styles Available: Yes
- Available by mail order?: No
- Price: 26.00
- Order Type: Double Platter
- Crab Content: Lump
- Filler: Average
- Spice: Average
- Overall Impression: Mediocre
Rating (out of 5 crabs):