Harris Crab House & Seafood Restaurant
Dec 08, 2010 08:28PM ● Published by Anonymous
The location, which is familiar to most Eastern Shore residents (as well as folks throughout the Chesapeake Bay region), is on the east side of Kent Narrows just off Route 50/301 at Exit 42.
The dining room has the rustic look of a classic crab house: beer signs, oyster tongs, gallon-size oyster cans arranged on shelves along the walls, and sheets of brown paper and rolls of paper towels topping each table. Our server, Barbara, welcomed us and took our drink orders before explaining the night’s specials. We had already noticed mounds of crab legs and steamed crabs on some of the tables around us, so we opted for a pitcher of Yuengling Lager ($9.75), figuring it would go well with crabs or shrimp. The crab house has a selection of draft beers available by the glass or pitcher, a variety of bottled domestic and imported beers, several wines available by the glass, and a full bar with anything a diner might want.
We perused the menu and selected a few appetizers, which range from the standard (crab dip, $11.50) to the exotic (alligator on a stick, $12.50). Doug selected the alligator on a stick and Christine ordered a half pound of steamed shrimp ($11).
Harris’ menu is an extensive survey of traditional Chesapeake fare that includes oysters, steamed mussels, cherrystone clams, steamed crabs, crab cakes, scallops, shrimp, and rockfish. There’s also a selection of grilled steaks, barbecued pork ribs, chicken dishes, and out-of-region seafood options such as Maine lobster platters, king crab legs, and allyou- can-eat snow crab.
For our entrées, Doug chose the all-youcan- eat snow crab feast ($29.95) with onion rings and a house salad, and he also ordered another half pound of steamed shrimp. Christine selected broiled stuffed rockfish ($25) with steamed broccoli and hush puppies. Our appetizers arrived steaming hot, with the shrimp covered in Harris’ special seafood seasoning and accompanied by a bowl of cocktail sauce. The alligator was served on bamboo skewers with a side of creamy chipotle dipping sauce. The shrimp were large, tender, and cooked just right; the soft, white alligator meat reflected the tang of its garlic vinaigrette marinade.
While enjoying our appetizers, we talked about the oyster cans ringing the room. We later found out these came from a seafood processing house that used to operate next door. We also admired the oyster tongs tucked in the ceiling—that iconic symbol of the waterman. Seeing their size in person puts in perspective the incredible skill that it must take in order to reach 20 feet under the surface of the bay and pull up enough oysters to fill a bushel basket.
Christine’s rockfish came stuffed with a massive amount of crab imperial. It was perfectly seasoned and cooked to perfection. The broccoli was bright green and fresh, and the hush puppies were hot and crispy. Doug was served a basket of hot snow crab clusters. The meat in the large crab legs was sweet and firm, just right for dipping in the accompanying bowl of melted butter. Undeniably, the all-you-can-eat snow crab was a great value.
Barbara brought us a dessert menu, but we’d had more than enough to eat with the ample portions of our entrées. Christine thought it would be nice to take home one of Harris’ homemade Nutty Buddies ($5.25) for our son, after noticing several other guests with them. This dessert is something to behold—there must have been five or six inches of soft-serve ice cream swirled on top of a sugar cone, and then it was dipped in chocolate and rolled in peanuts. Barbara brought it to us as were getting ready to leave, which worked out perfectly. It survived the 15-minute drive home, and our son loved it.
Doug O’Connor has 20+ years of experience as both an executive chef and a food and beverage director, and he’s also involved with the Chesapeake Chefs Association. He graduated from Johnson and Wales University with degrees in culinary arts and food service management. Christine graduated from Johnson and Wales with a degree in hospitality management. They currently reside in the Annapolis community of Cape St.Claire, along with their two children.
Harris Crab House &
433 Kent Narrows Way
|When to Enjoy: Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
Expect to Pay: Appetizers: $4-13, Light fare/Sandwiches: $8-15,
Dinner Entrées: $23 (average), Desserts: $5 (average)
Owner: Karen Oertel
Chef: Mike Roberts