“How are the crab cakes?” we asked Lynda the waitress one evening at St. Mary’s Landing.
“They’re huge!” she replied. “Softballs! And very, very crabby.”
We love the enthusiasm with which food is served in this comfy St. Mary’s Country Roadhouse along Route 5 on the Western Shore. When we enquired about the local specialty, stuffed ham, we were treated to a veritable homily on the subject, including how to cook it (boil, then quickly refrigerate) and how to serve it (preferably, cool). It is a corned ham prepared with heaps of kale, cabbage, onions, and spice, served here for breakfast on a plate with delicious potato cakes or for supper as a main course.
Other than ham, the menu includes all kinds of the seafood that makes Chesapeake Bay dining such a pleasure. In addition to those crabby crabcakes, we enjoyed a big, snapping-firm spiced boiled shrimp on a half-and-half plate with barbecued ribs. The ribs were good, with a delicate crunch to their outermost edges and meat that slid right off the bone.
Like so many of the worthwhile restaurants in this part of the world, St. Mary’s Landing is a tavern as well as eatery. There’s a bar room in back; and the booths and tables out front all provide views of ceiling-mounted television sets that offer a continuous, minute-by-second countdown to the next keno game.