Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs – City Dock, Annapolis, MD
Finding a good place to eat when traveling is both a challenge and a gamble. Usually the biggest gamble comes on the first day. You haven’t had time to befriend a local and the hotel staff is hit or miss. I have gotten to the point where I don’t trust the concierge, because they just lie. They send you the last place they got fed for free. I have a routine of checking in and grabbing the “Local Life” or “Visit Insert City Name Here” magazine and head for the room to do some research before I am overcome by hunger.
On this trip to Annapolis, Maryland, the goal was crab, specifically crab cakes. My father was in tow and he fancys himself a crab cake expert. He was born in DC and raised in Maryland. My grandmother fed her family many crab cakes and this is my dad’s measuring stick. I struggled to find a restaurant, but I knew I wanted to go down to the City Dock so I chose Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs. Now the “and Ribs” should have been my first clue that this was going to be a so-so experience. Buddy’s sits on the corner of Main and Green on the second floor of a building providing a view of Annapolis Waterfront. The bi-level dining room is full of flat screen TV’s and windows so there is plenty to look at.
View from the City Dock
We arrived as the Father’s Day seafood buffet was ending, which made for a busy dining room. After a short wait a hostess told me that there was a two-top ready if we wanted it. I had taken a long figuring out where to eat so I was too hungry to be picky. We got our menus and my father zeroed in on the crab cake. If you are visiting Maryland for the first time know this – crab is pricey. Seafood entrees will run you 25 to 35 dollars. I wasn’t shocked, but I had to pay to be able to try several things. I went with the Crab Trio ($37) that contained three classic crab dishes – crab cake, crab imperial and soft shell crab. The server came quickly to take our drink orders, but it seemed that he always came back to the table in slow motion.
After I got my Buddy’s Amber Draft, which is a good mild hopped beer, we order our entrees and I added a Steamer Sampler at the last minute. We got our house salads and the appetizer at about the same time. I felt rushed. The salad was a simple iceberg lettuce salad with the house raspberry vinaigrette. It was forgettable. The Steamer Platter was beautiful, but I wish I would have had more time to enjoy it. The vessel was piled high with mussels, little neck clams, oysters, shrimp and crayfish. This was a great appetizer, but I could not understand why it had crayfish on it. If I want to eat mud bugs I’ll vacation in New Orleans. They tasted fine, but they were so much work to eat we left most of them on the plate.
Our entrees came with a second steamer platter, which some lucky table got. My father was disappointed with the crab cakes. The cakes were made with lump crab and green peppers then washed with egg and broiled. Apparently, proper crab cakes are made of lump crab and not much else. My favorite part of my trio was the sweet and creamy Crab Imperial. The Soft Shell Crab was deep fried and tasted more of the batter than the crab. The Big Buddy Crab Cake was fine by my standards and I didn’t mind the green pepper. Buddy’s also serves whole steamed blue crabs for you to disassemble at the table. This is the thing to do in Maryland and many of Buddy’s diners were enjoying their crab this way.
Our first meal in Annapolis was highlighted by good beer and a good steamer platter. It was marred by slow service, a plain salad, and adulterated crab cakes. If I were you, I would take more time and find a different restaurant at the City Dock to dine. Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs – TWO Forks.100 Main St # 2
Annapolis, MD 21401