When people think about Maryland, they often think of crabs. This month, we checked out two restaurants that you, the readers, voted as your favorites during the last Best of Severna Park contest. Those favorites are Hellas Restaurant and Lounge in Millersville and Sullivan's Cove in Severna Park (The Point Crab House and Grill was the top vote-getter, but the restaurant is not currently serving crab cakes).
Marylanders are passionate about their crab cake preferences. Some people want their cakes to be basically all crabmeat with just barely enough filler to hold it together, giving them the experience of picking crabs without all the work. Others enjoy the texture more filler provides (make no mistake, though - no self-respecting Marylander would want more filler than crab meat).
Hellas and Sullivan's Cove are good examples of each type.
Customer service matched the quality at both restaurants for my carry-out orders. The Hellas bartender smiled and greeted me warmly, as did the young hostess at Sullivan's Cove. Little extras like that go a long way, don't they?
I purchased both crab cakes the same afternoon. Both were jumbo-sized and steamy hot, and the incredible aroma made it hard for me to get them home before taking a bite.
Hellas’ crab cakes are legendary. Jam-packed with lump crabmeat, they deliver an experience that felt nothing short of decadent. I was amazed at the size - a huge serving. The crab cakes are broiled until slightly golden on the outside, leaving the inside tender. There's hardly any filler and minimal seasoning, allowing the meat to be the star.
My husband said the best word to describe these crab cakes is "rich." I agree. Hellas has some kind of magic ingredient infusing these tasty treats with that deep, rich taste. The French fries I chose as a side were hot, classic and no-frills, but delicious.
The Sullivan's Cove crab cakes were fried to slightly crispy perfection. Jumbo, but not as big as Hellas, and they boasted more of an expected Maryland crab cake taste. With light filler, this classic had the traditional local style seasonings but not enough to overwhelm the flavor of the crab, rather elevating it. Each bite was a burst of flavor to savor, and the texture was satisfying. Once again, I ordered fries, and they too were classic, no-frills, but hit the spot.
They were both delicious crab cakes. I like a little bit more filling and spice to the bare crab experience, but my hubby was more of a purist and preferred the hint of seasoning and no filler. It's all a matter of preference.
Due to the current crab shortage, crab cakes will hit your wallet harder than last season, but at least at these two restaurants, you won't mind too much.
The cost for a Hellas platter, with one crab cake and two sides of choice, was about $32.
Sullivan's Cove charges $33 for a platter with two crab cakes and includes fingerling potatoes, roasted corn and roasted tomato. But once again, Sullivan's Cove crab cakes are smaller.
The price evens out, and you can't go wrong with either of these offerings.
Both restaurants, however, are listing "market price" for their crab cakes, so verify the prices on the day you choose to place your orders.
While I didn't dine in on these occasions, focusing mainly on the food itself, both restaurants looked appealing for a night out. Hellas offers Mediterranean and mid-Atlantic cuisines, in a relaxed, casual neighborhood bar and grill atmosphere. Sullivan's is comfortable too, but with modern decor and a chic vibe. The staff prides themselves on “modern comfort food.”
It's fun to have so many choices in both food and venue in Anne Arundel County.