The Obrycki's bib, wooden mallet and house lager
Being in Baltimore to cover the National Pork Board’s Taste of Elegance chef event, you’d think a paper bib would come in handy for consuming a never-ending parade of competing pork dishes (from loin to belly) that were dolled out all weekend for us to try. But a bib and a wooden mallet actually came into play at Obrycki’s
, a legendary crab and seafood joint we tried one non-pork night. The historic Fell’s Point restaurant has been around since 1944, and specializes in seafood, especially Maryland blue crabs, from small to large (depending on what’s delivered to the restaurant that day) smothered in a kicky array of seasonings and peppery mustard sauce. After about half an hour, the dork factor begins to rise as you sit there staring at each other in your bibs, but it’s all worth it as a steaming pile of bright orange, spicy crabs are literally dumped from a tray onto the center of your butcher-paper lined table, and you find yourself reaching around to make sure it’s on good and tight.
Hot crabs fresh are literally dropped onto the center of the table
Once the spillage occurs, the table stares at the Jenga-pile of crabs as everyone figures out where to begin, and by begin I mean grab a mallet and start cracking. “To eat crab you must work, which makes you appreciate him more,” is stated on the front of the menu and the phrase couldn’t be closer to the truth. We fumbled with the legs, painstakingly cracked the shell until the lovely, tender, mustard and seasoning smothered meat could be retrieved. Paired with the light, house lager, it was a messy, delicious feast I won’t forget.
Hot steamed crab on a plate
After successfully cracking the shells of the dozen or so crabs, we were happy to easily bite right into Chesapeake Bay soft shells, the freshest I’ve ever had, fried to a soft golden brown and served with green beans and a baked potato. Throw in the crab dip and deviled crab balls (fried crab cakes with cocktail sauce) and that mail order option on the Web site is looking pretty perfect right about now. Obrycki’s 1727 E. Pratt St., 410.732.6399
Soft shell crab
Loved the old-school sign out front the historic building