As I packed up my apartment a few weeks ago, preparing for my move to D.C., I struggled with how to say goodbye to Baltimore. Finally, it hit me – crab cakes. It’s what this city does best, so why not?
Faidley’s at Lexington Market and G &M Restaurant have long since held reputations for having the best crab cake in Baltimore. Last year, Baltimore magazine voted Faidley’s over G&M for the best crab cake in the city, but for the most part, the two restaurants have passed the award back and forth each year.
My task? To find the truth out for myself.
My first stop on this crab cake quest was Faidley’s. This was my first visit to Lexington Market as well. Faidley’s is in its own space, separated from the rest of the indoor market. Lexington Market, with its produce, fish and meat stands, bakeries, delis and random knick-knack stands is quintessentially Baltimore. The Berger cookie, a local favorite, even has its own stand.
I ordered my crab cake at Faidley’s, which also sells fresh seafood, taking in my surroundings. A large sign reading, “Baltimore’s Best Crab Cake” hung over the cashier. With tables for standing scattered about, tourists and locals enjoyed their crab cakes.
Crab cakes are never an inexpensive meal, so I was not fazed by the $12 I paid for my cake. This crab cake was a beautiful golden brown with copious lumps of meat. The presentation was fitting – the crab cake placed a Styrofoam plate and garnished with lettuce, tomato and saltine crackers.
Instantly the rich, buttery flavor of the lump crab screamed out to me. There was barely any filler, just whatever necessary to hold the cake together. Combined with a Natty Bo, this was Baltimore’s finest.
G&M was last, but certainly not least. Located in Linthicum Heights, the restaurant is a bit out of the city. As opposed to Faidley’s stand-up experience, G&M is more of a traditional sit-down restaurant. With a spacious, open dining room, it is also more of a family environment than Faidley’s.
Crab cakes at G&M are offered as a platter ($16.95 for a single cake, $24.50 for a double), which includes two sides and a small house salad. I ordered the single, choosing green beans and a baked potato as my sides.
My first thought when I saw G&M’s crabcake – thank god I didn’t order two of these! This cake was absolutely enormous, larger than Faidleys’. It was so large that it even had its own plate.
G&M’s crab cake was more lightly fried than the golden brown cake at Faidley’s. In addition, the incredible amount of lump meat in this cake made it more of a crab “blob.” In terms of the amount of meat, G&M takes the prize. In terms of presentation of the actual cake, I’d say Faidley’s was more aesthetically pleasing.
G&M’s crab cake packed more flavor than Faidley’s, which in my opinion was maybe broiled a tad too long. This cake was mouth-wateringly buttery and moist. Like Faidleys, there was very little filler.
The sides were also perfect complements, something I had missed at Faidley’s. The French fries I had ordered on the side (I didn’t mention them because they were so unremarkable) were unfortunately soggy and limp.
All in all, there were pros and cons with both crab cakes, but if I had to choose, I’d go with G&M. Combined with the restaurant’s atmosphere, the tasty sides and the perfectly broiled lump meat, this place takes the “crab” cake.