Friday, August 17, 2007

Cantler's Riverside Inn - Annapolis, Md.

It's a rite of passage, a tradition and a tourist's delight. Although crabs are mainly associated with Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay, the entire D.C. and Northern Virginia region revel in summertime's blue crabs.
This is the time of year when most good crab houses serve local blue crabs. A good crab is heavy for it's size and contains sweet white meat. At Cantler's Riverside Inn they come with a liberal dusting of Old Bay seasoning, a knife, a mallet and brown paper for the table. Now, I'm not originally from this area, and any Marylander could pick me under the table with their skills, but I did manage to give myself a primer on crab picking before I went. Mainly I think, the give away that one is new to the blue crab is the use of the mallet to crack the shells. From what I gather, the mallet is used to smack the knife, which is over the area of the shell you want to crack.
Using my novice picking skills, I managed to pull out a nice amount of meat from my crabs. It
wasn't pretty, but I managed to get a few nice chunks dunked into the clarified butter provided and placed into my longing mouth.
We also ordered the crab dip and steamed shrimp. The crab dip had a lot of chunky meat, and was made with mayonnaise and a dash of paprika. It came with a Pillsbury-like roll which should be dashed for some nice crackers. With the generous portion given, you don't need the cheap bread for bulk.
The Old Bay seasoned shrimp were large and served right out of the steamer. This alone could make a nice lunch along with perhaps, a cup of soup. Yesterday's soup of the day was cream of artichoke with crab. Sounded good, but there was the blue crabs calling my name.
I couldn't resist.

Cantler's Riverside Inn
458 Forest Beach Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Phone: 410-757-1311

Note: Cantler's has indoor and outdoor dining areas. Outside the community picnic tables overlook the river and docks. They are very popular and get busy on the weekends especially. There is one small access road to get into Cantler's parking lot, and it gets backed up. I'd advise that someone get out of the car and put your name on the list ahead of time, so by the time you park, your wait won't be too long.

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