With its roots in a mid-century wholesale crab business by the water, The Crab Claw restaurant has evolved into one of the area’s most popular places to indulge in Maryland hot blue crabs and cold beer. Here you can enjoy what is known as a crab feast: heaps of cooked, spiced crabs get dumped onto your table and you go after their pearl white spiced meat armed with pick and mallet, piles of napkins, and pitchers of beer.
Perched high on a pier overlooking the Miles River, The Crab Claw clatters with the sounds of hammering, cracking and slurping that are a crab feast’s happy tune. Although instructions are provided telling exactly how to extract meat from a cooked hard-shelled crab, it can be hard work to get those big, silky hunks of sweet spiced meat that veteran crab feasters manage to extricate with aplomb. If it seems like too much work, forgo crab the crab feast and indulge in crab cakes, soft-shell crabs, crab claws, crab soup, or crab cocktail. At one point many years ago, we actually ordered (but failed to fully excavate) a deep-fried hard-shelled crab, which was the strangest-looking critter: a whole crab, in its shell, blanketed with batter and fried until golden brown, then served with a knife and a mallet. The idea was to pick some of the batter off the exterior, then crack the shell and retrieve the meat inside. It was an adventure!
Oysters, clams, shrimp, and scallops are also available, as are filet mignon and chicken for crustacean-frowners. You can buy crabs by the dozen, to go, for a picnic; and you can arrive by boat and tie up at the nearby dock.