Worth a Try: Crab Cakes

crab cakes

Dig into some seriously tasty crab cakes at these spots across the US.

Syrup, multiple locations in Denver, Colorado

After working in the bar industry lost its luster for Tim Doherty, he founded Syrup with a vision to serve home-style breakfast and lunch in an eclectic and cozy environment. The restaurant has been referred to as a “contemporary take on classic pancake house” and has a menu full of favorites including pancakes, waffles, corned beef hash, chili stew, and various handcrafted syrups. One of the most popular menu items is a Maryland-style crab cake served over smashed Tater Tots with two poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, and a side of arugula salad.

Purple Parrot Cafe, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

crab cakes at Purple Parrot Cafe
Photo courtesy of Purple Parrot Cafe/Darian Hill

For 28 years, Purple Parrot Cafe has been under the leadership of owner and executive chef Robert St. John. The fine-dining establishment is known for its top-notch service and cuisine. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, and brunch, and the menu includes many Southern favorites such as shrimp and grits, blackened gulf fish, seafood gumbo, and gumbo ya-ya. Purple Parrot Cafe uses fresh lump crabmeat for its Cajun-inspired crab cakes and serves them with a generous topping of house-made seafood rémoulade with Creole seasoning, coleslaw, and fresh fruit. 3810 Hardy Street 

Cantler’s Riverside Inn, Annapolis, Maryland

Jimmy and Linda Cantler opened Cantler’s Riverside Inn in 1974 with a mission to deliver fresh, locally sourced seafood in a family-friendly atmosphere. Four decades in, the restaurant is still a favorite among locals and visitors. Cantler’s menu includes Maryland blue crabs, clams, oysters, shrimp, lobster, and scallops, and people especially love their flavorsome crab cakes. Cantler’s serves a variety of crab cake dishes, including a fried crab cake sandwich topped with slaw, a broiled lump crab cake sandwich, and a crab cake platter with fries, slaw, and veggies. 458 Forest Beach Road

Acacia, Richmond, Virginia

Acacia owners Aline and Dale Reitzer first opened the restaurant in 1998 in a renovated Baptist church in the Carytown area of Richmond. Ten years later they moved the location and have since built a faithful following due to their commitment to providing fresh food, a warm ambience, and quality service. From the ever-changing menu, locally sourced ingredients, extensive wine and beer selections, and regional environmental efforts, no detail is overlooked. Acacia serves up handcrafted crab cakes made with lump crabmeat from Chesapeake Bay served with Cheddar cheese grits, French green beans, and grilled lemon–butter sauce. 2601 West Cary Street

Grub Brothers Eatery, Washington, North Carolina

crab cakes at Grub Brothers Eatery
Photo courtesy of Grub Brothers Eatery/Joan Cannon Meyland

Grub Brothers Eatery is known for serving Southern- and Cajun-inspired food in the center of historic downtown Washington. Their crab cakes are made with jumbo lump crabmeat, topped with their secret Come’on Back Sauce, and served with seasonal veggies. Grubs describes them as being “kissed with just the right combination of goodness that give it a sweet and succulent flavor.” The eatery offers full bar service, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In addition to stellar food and service, Grub Brothers frequently hosts beer and wine tastings. 156 W. Main Street

Fox Valley, Maylene, Alabama

Located in a small town next to a gas station, Fox Valley has been going strong for nearly 25 years. Despite its unsuspecting location, it’s earned a reputation for superb food and service. The restaurant is open only for dinner Wednesday through Saturday and stays packed with customers. The menu has everything from chargrilled shrimp to steak, and its crispy crab cakes are made from fresh Alabama Gulf blue crabs, which are served on a seafood platter with Nantucket scallops and garlic browned butter. The crab cakes are so popular that they’re available for purchase in local Alabama grocery stores. 6745 Highway 17

Huey’s on the River, Savannah, Georgia

Huey’s is a beloved Savannah restaurant located on picturesque River Street facing the city’s waterfront. It serves up delicious Cajun fare, Lowcountry dishes, and New Orleans-style beignets with praline sauce. Huey’s offers a crab cake benedict served with poached eggs and fried green tomatoes on a toasted English muffin with hollandaise sauce; pan-fried crab cakes; crab cakes served with rémoulade; and crab cake sandwiches made with pan-fried white lump crabmeat served on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, and Creole mayonnaise. 115 East River Street

Red Fish Grill, New Orleans, Louisiana

crab cakes at Red Fish Grill
Photo courtesy of Red Fish Grill

Since its opening under legendary Crescent City restaurateur Ralph Brennan, Red Fish Grill has developed a reputation for serving exceptional Cajun cuisine such as crispy catfish, alligator boudin balls, Creole marinated Gulf shrimp, and shrimp and jalapeño hush puppies. The restaurant makes its jumbo lump crab cakes with blue crab from the Gulf of Mexico that are infused with butter and a special blend of seasonings. It’s served with Creole mustard sauce, truffled potato sticks, and purple cabbage choucroute, a tasty mixture of cabbage, brown sugar, bacon, and red wine vinegar. 115 Bourbon Street

The Red Bar, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

The Red Bar is a popular South Walton County, Florida, dive located just a few minutes’ walk from the Grayton Beach waterfront. The restaurant is located in a renovated general store and is known for its mouthwatering seafood, refreshing cocktails, nightly live entertainment from its house jazz band, and funky interior. The menu is packed with enticing selections including fish and chips, panne chicken, baked eggplant, and blackened grouper. The signature crab cakes, served only Friday and Saturday nights, are covered with citrus butter sauce and served with mashed potatoes and salad. 70 Hotz Avenue

Fish City Grill, locations throughout the US

Fish City Grill crab cake
Photo courtesy of Fish City Grill

Fish City Grill opened in November 1995 in Snider Plaza in Dallas, Texas, under the moniker Shell’s Oyster Bar and Grill after it transitioned from Michele’s Coffee Bar and Café. This fateful change occurred after one of its regular breakfast customers made an offer to purchase the coffee shop to open a restaurant. Ultimately, the two parties joined forces. Today, the seafood grill has expanded to numerous locations throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Florida. The bustling neighborhood restaurant’s menu includes lots of shrimp, catfish, and oyster dishes, and its crab cakes with lemon aïoli are one of their the most popular selections.

This content was originally published in the May/June 2016 issue of Cooking with Paula Deen magazine. ©2016 Hoffman Media