Waterman’s Crab House
I independently came to the conclusion that Waterman's
is the closest real Chesapeake crab-eating experience to NYC, which was later
reinforced by the Road Food message board. You still have to drive nearly 200 miles for
the experience, though.
By real I don't even mean that the crabs are local;
most, maybe all, of the Maryland crab houses get their bounty from Louisiana
and Texas, at least part of the year. It's the Eastern Shore style, served
outdoors, on the water, at picnic tables (though the windowless bar room is
equally authentic, especially in Baltimore).
The crabs come crusted in salty,
piquant Old Bay with vinegar, extra Old Bay, and melted butter for dipping.
get to choose the size of your crabs, all the way from mediums to jumbos with
larges and extra larges in between, if they have them, and pay accordingly by
the dozen. NYC crabs are never larger than medium. Picking crab is fussy
business; you'll starve messing with mediums.
Hushpuppies are the starch of choice. Dip them in
Crab pretzels, cheesy crab dip baked onto pretzel
bread, came on the scene some time ago. Admittedly, it's kind of gross when it's
over 90 degrees and you're sweating. Crab dip served with saltines is more
A pitcher of beer is necessary. I'd never seen this
bag of ice trick before.
Then you can move onto Rum Runners, Jaeger bombs or
whatever special is advertised at the adjoining bar where 85% of the clientele
is at least 40, smokes and tanned to a beef jerky brown. My current bleached
blonde hair made me feel like I fit in a little big, but my skin's ghosty hue gave me away
as an intruder.
Waterman's Crab House * 21055 Sharp St., Rock Hall, Maryland