My son-in-law, Michael Boyd, alerted me to this one. Michael travels a lot at odd times between Washington and Calvert County, and often stops to grab a quick bite to eat. He recently stopped for a sandwich at Calvert Crab and Seafood in Prince Frederick, where we’d bought steamed crabs on Father’s Day last year. Michael’s not one to forget a promising place. He returned recently with tales of a great soft shell crab sub, featuring two whole soft shell crabs.
It may have taken two days for Nancy and me to get to Calvert Crabs. I ordered the May Special soft shell crab sub, which was special in that the two whole crabs came dressed with four slices of bacon, as well as lettuce and tomato, with some of their waffle chips on the side. Here it is after I’d picked off one claw and popped it into my mouth.
Nancy ordered a crab cake sandwich with potato salad instead of chips.
Note the grilled bun. The crab cake itself was big and thick, and very tasty. I had a little taste and I suppose that there are better crab cakes out there, but not many. The potato salad boasted properly cooked (not overcooked) potatoes, and it was not overdressed. It was seasoned with Old Bay. I tend to balk at the Maryland tendency to include Old Bay in everything, but it tasted good. Not as good as Nancy’s potato salad, but well worth a try.
Take another look at my sub. Now, it wasn’t easy to get my mouth around. I quickly decided to eat the crabs separately. The crabs were remarkably meaty, much thicker than the crabs that Marylanders allow to find their way up to DC, and the meat was oh so flavorful. It was fried with a light touch — with a dusting of breading and out of the oil quickly. Excellent.
That left the sub roll with bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Hmmm. Let me think. Now what could I …. Aha! How about a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich! I shifted all of the bacon to half of the roll, and enjoyed the sandwich.
You may be appalled that I ate all of that. I am. I mentioned a while back (here) that I was trying to work off a recent weight gain. One reason for the weight gain is here. This is the other reason. It really was a big meal — a big meal for two — and I don’t think I’ll try it again with the bacon. But the soft shell crab sub without bacon? You bet.
Calvert Crabs and Seafood is a nice place, with Maryland flag colors, and with
a shaker of Old Bay on each table instead of salt and pepper. People stream in with orders and then out with bags of steamed crabs or other delights. These are very nice people, including the delightful woman behind counter and the chef who kept coming out of the kitchen to make sure everyone was happy with their food. He was greeted with full-mouth grunts of satisfaction. The price: $12 for the crab cake and $18 for the sub. Try to get one soft-shell crab in DC for $18.
Calvert Crabs and Seafood is just off route 4 in a little shopping center up near the Outback. I finally looked at their website (linked above). They also have a food truck and daily specials during the week, and they do a lot of catering. They boast that everything is fresh and handmade and as local as possible, and the quality of the seafood certainly bears them out.
Some restaurants give you not only food but a true sense of place, of a community and culture. That’s true of a lot of barbecue places, especially older ones down South, and it’s true of Calvert Crabs and Seafood. It is pure Southern Maryland in the very best sense, the sort of place that makes you happy just to enter. And oh! are the seafood and the prices great! Give it a try.
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