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Quality Prevails at Harris Crab House

Mar 13, 2013 11:00PM ● By Anonymous

This mammoth seafood house is best known for its crabs, but it has a huge menu that overflows with other seafood options, as well. As a participant in the Maryland Oyster Recovery Partnership and the Maryland True Blue crab program, you can tell the folks at Harris Crab House believe in the long-term health of the local ecosystem and the importance of the Chesapeake Bay. It is clear their mission is greater than just serving food.

As you enter into the main dining room at the crab house, you’ll immediately be struck by the casual décor and the seafood theme that invades everything from the food to the tables to the walls. With old oyster cans lined up along the wall and huge windows that look out onto the water, the need for seafood looms over every decision you make. The tables are covered in brown paper—in case you’re craving a crab feast—which doubles as a notepad for the servers to write their name. It’s a handy notation, particularly if you plan to wash down your crabs with their growing selection of beer and wine. While additional craft beer options would have been ideal, it was nice to come across a few local breweries, including Dogfish Head, Fordham, and Old Dominion.

We started our meal with the crab dip ($12.50) and popcorn shrimp ($12.50), both of which came out quickly and piping hot. The crab dip was one of the more pleasant and unusual variations we have come across on the Eastern Shore, containing less cream cheese filler and more crab. It was served with a thinly sliced and toasted baguette that nicely complemented the warm dip. The popcorn shrimp were incredibly addictive, with the quality of the product shining through on every bite. These little shrimp—size 40/50—were steaming hot, lightly breaded, and tossed with lemon and a dipping sauce that we couldn’t resist.

For our entrées, we chose the crab imperial ($14.25) and the oyster po’ boy ($13.50). The crab imperial comes in a single lunch size or a double dinner size, along with two sides. I chose the single size, and it proved to be plenty for dinner. Served in a faux crab shell, the imperial was a mixture of delicious lump crab meat and rémoulade, combining for a sweet and savory crab salad. It was mainly crab meat with little filler, making it the highlight of the entire meal, which also included my choice of hush puppies and French fries as sides. The fries were hot and tasty, but the hush puppies left a little to be desired.

The oyster po’ boy was fantastic—a heaping portion of fresh and cooked-to-order oysters served on a rustic baguette and topped with tartar sauce, lettuce, and tomato. Fresh seafood was a theme that carried throughout our entire meal, and after everything we ate, we couldn’t help but observe that quality product is a priority at Harris Crab House.

The restaurant is family-friendly—kids’ meals come with a side, applesauce and a drink, all crowd favorites for the little ones. The hot dog ($5.25) we sampled appeased the kids at the table, and the applesauce was a nice touch.

As difficult as it may be, make sure to save room for dessert. The homemade Nutty Buddy ($5.25) is worth every calorie. It’s a classic dessert you’ll remember from childhood, made in-house and improved upon. Although the other desserts might entice you, resist the temptation and stick with the Nutty Buddy. You won’t be sorry.

I’d be remiss to speak only about the food at Harris Crab House when the service excels in so many ways. Our server was prompt, friendly, and helpful in our decision-making process. She was engaging with our table and didn’t miss a beat. It was clear this is a fun working environment, and she seemed genuinely pleased to help us. That type of service isn’t as prevalent as you often hope, and it was a nice addition to our meal.

Harris Crab House is an institution on the Eastern Shore for good reason. The quality of food, friendly service, and seafood-themed décor has survived the test of time and certainly will continue on for many years to come. Whether it’s family night, date night or just a break from the ordinary you’re seeking, Harris Crab House is your spot.