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Graze: Try The Crab Cakes

Graze: Try The Crab Cakes

On a quick trip to Staples in the Whole Foods Plaza in Mt. I peeked in to see a welcoming, contemporary restaurant with a fairly busy lunch crowd and decided to investigate a little more.

Reading the menu posted on the window interested me enough to come back and try the place for dinner.

Arriving at 6:00 p.m. on a rainy Thursday evening, the restaurant was somewhat empty but we were about to see that change rather quickly.

Upon entering Graze we were met by a very welcoming hostess who was going to seat us, but we decided to sit at the bar instead. The bar was empty, and Mike, the bartender was happy to see us.

A little bit about Mike… Many moons ago, too many to count, I was a bartender. One of the “non-negotiables” of the place that I worked at was that you had to introduce yourself to customers and find out their names. It was literally a terminable offense not to introduce yourself and we took it seriously.

Since vacationing here over the last 5-6 years we’ve eaten at many places and often at the bar. NO ONE has ever introduced themselves or asked us our names. I have often found that very odd as it opens dialog and provides the opportunity for suggestive “up” selling. But low and behold, Mike did.

To me, Mike seemed to be the ideal bartender and employee. He knew all about the start up of the restaurant (more to follow), all about the specifics of the menu (if he didn’t he ran to the kitchen to find out), was chatty, but not obnoxious and had a great personality to boot. They are lucky to have him.

Mike explained that the two chefs and General Manager that had worked together for six years at a local restaurant decided to go out on their own. They, along with Mike, and four or five servers (and a few new hires), opened Graze about eight weeks ago. The restaurant has chosen to do very little advertising and this “soft opening” has proven to be very successful. Mike mentioned that they were much busier than they imagined they would be this early in the game. But it is no secret why. Their food is unbelievable.

We started with a 3-Cheese Flight. It was moderately priced (as the entire menu is), and was served in what seemed like record time. It included a walnut/brown sugar mix, fresh honey, grapes, Dubliner cheese with a Stout infused rind, Cheddar with cranberries a local farm Goat cheese, apple slices and toasted bread. Mike described this to a “t”, and also brought us more toasted bread when requested. Rarely do I ask for a “to go” box for an appetizer like this, but the cheeses were so extraordinary that I couldn’t resist. Plus I wanted to save room for dinner.

Since our appetizer was served so quickly we waited a few minutes to order dinner. It was also served very quickly. Our selections, Korean Beef BBQ and a Crab cake seem pretty middle of the road, but this was not the case at Graze. The Korean Beef was served with brown rice and a nicely spiced kimchi. The twist is that it is also accompanied by 4”x4” pieces of black seaweed. Mike explained that the chef recommends eating it by adding the ingredients into the seaweed and rolling it up – (like a taco). I could barely get a taste of this, as my husband enjoyed it so much. A wonderful blend of spice, and the flank steak was so tender – just A plus!

After the Cheese Flight I had decided to “downsize” my dinner decision to a Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. They are often dubbed “Jumbo”, but rarely are they served in a portion size living up to the name. Not true for Graze. This was served over a piping hot sweet corn, whole wheat grain, butter bean succotash with apple wood smoked bacon combo. It was also accompanied by a fried green tomato and onion marmalade.

My “downsized” crab cake was the largest I have ever been served. Nice, fresh crab with a terrific texture and flavor it was served on the bean/grain mixture that was to die for. But alas, it was too much to eat, and another to-go container was required.

We met the General Manager and co-owner, Bradford Bobbitt and co-owner Derek Lathan, who along with Michael Karkut also serve as co-executive chefs. We actually met Bradford when he was trying to lean in as we were served our entrees to see if we liked them. He was so close that he scared the heck out of us as we turned and saw him leaning in behind us. He explained that this was his technique to see if customer’s liked their meals since you’d know after the first bite if you did… A humble gentleman who was visiting every table and bar customer in the restaurant (the restaurant was now quite busy).

We wish them all the best and will definitely return. The service and food were excellent and the ambiance was great. The menu is priced very reasonably, will be changing seasonally and offers quite a varied selection.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Graze.

Homemade Maryland Crab Cakes Recipe

This delicious classic recipe for homemade Maryland-style crab cakes is the perfect appetizer to serve up to your guests.

I am a seafood lover like no other. I want to eat it every single day, especially if I’m on vacation somewhere near an ocean. If you want to try a few new seafood recipes then definitely make my Gravlax Recipe or Grilled Scallops.

Best Type of Crab Meat to Use for Crab Cakes

Did you know there is more than just one type of crab meat? Like any recipe, the key to a great meal starts with the best ingredients.

Here are the 4 different types of crab meat and which ones you should choose to make the very best crab cakes!

  • First up is jumbo lump crab meat. It has an off-white shade and is harvested from the crab&rsquos swimmer fin muscles. Since crabs only have two fin muscles, it requires a LOT of crabs to form one serving of this crab meat. So, don&rsquot be surprised when you see how expensive this meat is! They&rsquore astoundingly delicious, though, and may be eaten on their own or as a salad topping.
  • Next is lump crab meat. It has the same shade as jumbo lump, albeit a tad bit smaller. It&rsquos packed with flavor, comes from the body of a crab, and makes for an excellent crab cake! This is one of the most popular options.
  • Third on the list is backfin, or flake crab meat. It&rsquos also harvested from the crab&rsquos body, but also includes some shreds of lump meat. As for its consistency, it&rsquos a bit flakier than jumbo lump. Combine a few portions of backfin with lump meat, and you&rsquoll have the best combination of crab meat for your crab cake.
  • Last is claw meat. It has a darker shade than the rest on the list. The claw isn&rsquot as sweet, but definitely more flavorful. It&rsquos the most affordable out of all the crab meats and is perfect for stews and soups.

As for the crab variety, many argue that blue crabs make the best crab cakes. They have this irresistible buttery flavor that no other crab possesses.

However, some prefer the gigantic Dungeness crabs of the west coast. But at the end of the day, it&rsquos not the crab variety as much as the freshness that matters most.

So, always ask your grocer where you can find the freshest crab meat in their store.

Out-of-the-shell crab meat is usually sold cooked and ready to eat.

You&rsquoll rarely find stores that offer them raw.

Some sell them canned, while others sell them frozen, and none of the two is ideal for crab cakes. Your best bet is fresh refrigerated crab meat.

Also, be sure to get the ones labeled &ldquofresh-picked&rdquo or &ldquohand-picked.&rdquo This means the crab meat is (almost always) free from shells and cartilage.

Crab Cakes Recipe – How to Make Crab Cakes

Crab cakes are a classic entertaining idea when you feel like splurging a little! Visit to get the ingredients, and watch over 300 free video recipes. Leave me a comment there. If you have questions, ask on the website. Thanks!!


I use canned crab for crab cakes and they are amazing.

To add another dimension to this dish, you can form the crab cakes beforehand and freeze them for 20 minutes. Take out 3 pans/plates. Put flour in 1, put whisked eggs in the 2nd, and put panko bread crumbs in the 3rd. Take out the crab cakes and dip them in flour, followed by the egg wash, and finally the panko bread crumbs before hitting the oil. You'll get the delicious crust of a croquette to compliment the creamy crab cake filling.

I need to make these for my GCSE Food technology.

you did it again. thumbs way up!

Chef is right, DO NOT make these with canned, or crappy crab meat. 

is Worcestershire sauce necessary? I don't have any, is there an alternative I can use

is satines a must or can I use another cracker?

My favorite seafood, so delicate and delicious.

I really like crab cakes and will try this recipe, but, being single, I need to know if I could wrap the extra cakes in plastic wrap prior the breading step and freeze them for a future meal. Thanks for any advice.

Thanks for another excellent video. You absolutely rock in your presentations. Your knowledge and passion comes. Some people freak out if you add mayo to a receipe…cause they are scared about getting fat. Eating one tasty crab cake will not make a person fat. Thanks Chef John….you have been inspiring me to make awesome appetizers. 

made them as he did. perfecto. didn't even miss any sauce to go with it. yum

GREAT BASIC RECIPE….Add some finely chopped onion, celery & garlic and coat with Panko….MMMMMMMMMMMMM

Bobby Chez’s Famous Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Recipe

– ¼ cup Green Bell Pepper (chopped)
– ¼ cup Yellow Onion (chopped)
– 2 TBSP Butter
– ½ TBSP Lea & Perron’s Worcester Sauce
– 1 Shake Tabasco Hot Sauce
– 1 TBSP Grey Poupon Mustard
– 2 TBSP All Purpose Flour
– ½ cup Milk
– Jumbo lump crabmeat
Sautee green pepper & onion in pan w/ butter.
Cook until tender.
Add: flour, worcester sauce, tabasco, & mustard.
Mix well.
Then add Milk to form your Roux.
When Roux bubbles, take off stove and transfer to a small pan to cool in refrigerator.
When chilled, spread out roux, add jumbo lump crab meat.
Gently fold crabmeat into the roux.
The idea is to keep the jumbo lump as large as possible when mixing.
Form crab mixture into ball.
Roll in flour. Dip in egg & milk wash. Roll in PANKO Breadcrumbs.
Flash fry in Canola oil @ 375 degrees until golden brown.
Drain crabcake on paper towel to get rid of excess oil.
Bake in oven @ 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

Looks more like a seafood rissole to me.

I'm from Maryland. I know Crabcakes. These are EXACTLY how we make them in the big MD. SanFrancisco? Who knew?

Looks so good. Love the 97% crab mixture. I had some crab cakes with too much cake before or the crab was too chopped up. Making your own chunky crab cakes is the only was to go I see.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Many years ago, I was introduced to crab cakes by a waiter who insisted that they were better than what I would find in Maryland. To the contrary, what I received was more “cake” than “crab,” a dense patty that tasted like Italian seasoned sawdust with no noticeable crab meat in sight. Since then, I have been apprehensive about ordering crab cakes while dining out, preferring instead to make them at home, where I can ensure that the crab is truly the star of the show.

It all begins with high quality crab meat. Just like steak, you get what you pay for, so be prepared to spend a little more for premium jumbo lump crab meat. After that, keep the additional ingredients (i.e. filler) to a minimum. The goal is to gently flavor the crab while adding just enough bread crumbs and egg to hold them together during the cooking process.

Next, when blending the ingredients, it’s important not to overwork the crab meat. Instead, I gently fold these precious jewels into the other ingredients so that they remain as whole as possible. Finally, when cooking the crab cakes, the secret is to brown the exterior while gently warming the interior. For this, I utilize one of our favorite techniques – griddle grilling. Round them out with a flavorful rosemary aioli and you’ll have no need to ever roll the dice on restaurant crab cakes again!

Recipe Summary

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • ⅜ cup olive oil
  • 1 (16 ounce) can canned crabmeat, drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 8 ounces buttery round crackers, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning TM
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or regular dry bread crumbs

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over high heat. Saute green onions briefly until tender cool slightly.

Combine crabmeat, sauteed green onions, egg, mayonnaise, dry mustard, crushed crackers, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, Old Bay seasoning, salt and pepper. Form into 1/2 inch thick patties. Coat the patties with bread crumbs.

Heat 1/2 cup oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook cakes until golden brown on each side. Drain briefly on paper towels and serve hot.

Quick Cook: Baked Crab Cakes

These simple crab cakes are easy to make and luxurious to eat. Serve them as appetizers or alongside a big, crisp salad and some garlic bread for a meal that feels celebratory.

This recipe is all about highlighting the star ingredient, with just enough supporting ingredients to let the seafood really shine through. We love the technique of baking, rather than frying the crab cakes, which allows you to achieve a pleasingly crisp exterior without the mess of frying or the risk of greasiness.

Best trick of all? You can form the crab cakes ahead of time and refrigerate them — for 30 minutes or up to several hours — before baking. The resting period helps them firm up and lets the flavors meld.

Baked Crab Cakes


1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (plus more for greasing the pan)

3 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (or your favorite homemade or packaged breadcrumbs)

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

3 to 4 tablespoons mayonnaise

Optional garnishes: lemon wedges, sea salt or chile flakes, finely chopped chives and tartar sauce, remoulade or cocktail sauce

Our Favorite Maryland Crab Cakes

Spending much of our childhood and young adult life in and around Maryland, we like to think we know a little when it comes to a great crab cake. We’ve enjoyed countless crab cakes and have come to the realization that our favorite is this one — it’s simple with few ingredients, little filler and tastes of sweet crab.

When we’re out at our favorite restaurants, we usually get three options for how the crab cake is cooked: fried, pan-seared and broiled. We hardly ever choose fried, but often go for pan-seared or broiled. We have shared our method for both options below.

The World’s Best Crab Cakes

I have no qualms about calling these the world’s best crab cakes. Here’s my evidence: 1. The crab is freshly caught Dungeness crab 2. That crab is cooked in sea water 3. The crab cake itself is composed mostly of that crab and 4. The man who makes them has the following sign in his kitchen.

In case you haven’t been following along on Instagram, Craig and I went on a massive road trip: L.A. to Carmel, Carmel to Ashland, Oregon, and then Ashland to Bellingham where we set sail for Eliza Island, in the San Juans, where Craig’s parents share a cabin with their friends. (I’ve told you about it before.)

We helped Craig’s dad carry his boat to the beach, set up a motor, and then he pulled up the crab traps that he dropped the day before with turkey legs to lure in the highly prized Dungeness crabs. Back on shore, we boiled the crabs in sea water and then picked them apart at a table while drinking rosé.

The hardest part of that task was not eating each piece of crab meat as we pulled them out. Finally, Steve invited me into his kitchen to show me how he makes the world’s best crab cakes.

The recipe comes from The San Juan Island Cookbook, but like most recipes, it’s less about how closely you follow the directions and more about the motions that you make while doing so. As you can see, this is a well-loved recipe.

The family forgoes the celery because of an aversion, but every other ingredient remains the same. I had the honor of chopping the red onion when I suggested adding lemon zest from the lemon, it was meant with skepticism. Some recipes aren’t to be trifled with.

The most important step in the process is the shaping of the patties. Steve works the filling together with his hands, just enough to bind everything, but not so much that all of the crab falls apart. Once combined, he rolls the filling into balls, shapes into discs, that he then coats in Panko. Then he reforms them once again on a cookie sheet, really packing it all together.

The final step is to cook the crab cakes in hot oil. Steve recommends cooking on high heat on the first side, then lowering the heat a bit for the second side so they don’t burn. As you can see, they look kind of dreamy in the pan.

To serve, Steve whips up a quick aioli using mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon juice. It’s the better way to go than making the aioli from scratch because then nothing distracts from those crispy, crabby wonders you’re about to put into your mouth. Except the salad, which balances things out nicely.

So if you find yourself with fresh Dungeness crab, or fresh crab of any kind, really, or even if you’re trapped at home with a can of crab and want to imagine you’re on vacation, whip up Steve’s crab cake recipe. They’re the best in the world, even if he’s wary of saying so.

This crab cake’s a real winner. Here’s why.

Executive chef Matt Adler's winning crab cake with garlic aioli and celery root-ramp slaw. (Osteria Morini/Osteria Morini)

Crab season’s well underway around these parts, and when you’re not up for picking at a few dozen and getting Old Bay Seasoning under your fingernails, picking up a pound of cooked, Maryland jumbo-lump will satisfy.

You can toss it into David Hagedorn’s terrific wedge salad with deviled-egg dressing stir it into a quick linguine in an Eastern Shore-style soup top a pretty, no-cook appetizer or fill quesadillas. I’m partial to crab cakes, and bow in the direction of those who continue to raise the bar with ways that highlight the main ingredient’s simple, natural sweetness.

So here’s to Matt Adler, executive chef at Osteria Morini on the waterfront in Southeast Washington, who took home top honors at Sunday’s 11th annual crab cake competition held at The Source downtown. He had participated a few years back, turning in a deep-fried cake with lardo that did not make the cut. This time around, he did “a little research” on what constitutes Maryland-style crab cakes — mayonnaise and mustard being key components — and swapped in a garlic aioli and a whole-grain mustard. For something bright, he added a touch of orange zest.

The result is all about the crab, and seems just right for a summer weekend’s breakfast (with poached eggs), lunch (with a salad) or dinner (as a starter or main course). His recipe below makes a lot more aioli than you’ll need to form the crab cakes, but I’m betting you can find ways to use it or share it with the neighbors within a week’s time.

With a list like this — featuring the recipes with the most readers’ online views — we predict lots of sales at the farmers market:

1. Spaghetti With Shrimp and Pesto. Green-light go on this healthful rendition, from Ellie Krieger.

2. Peach and Brown Sugar Muffins. Sour-cream smooth, and not too sweet.

3. Raw Beet, Carrot and Apple Salad With Ginger-Lime Dressing. This quick dish will stand out on any summer buffet.

4. Eggplant Steaks With Salsa Verde. From #WeeknightVegetarian and “vegetable butcher” Carla Mangini, with tips for enhancing flavor.

Exhibit A: Maryland blue crab. (Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)

7 servings (makes fourteen 2 1/2-ounce cakes)

Using a kitchen scale to weigh each cake as you shape them helps keep them the same size, which, in turn, helps them cook more evenly.

Make Ahead: The oil for the aioli is garlic-infused it needs an overnight (at room temperature). The crab cake mixture needs to rest, covered, in the refrigerator for 1 hour before using. You’ll have a lot of leftover aioli, which can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, plastic wrap placed directly on the surface, in a sealed container. (Think of it this way: You’ll be able to make more crab cakes.)

1 tablespoon good-quality red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Pinch ground cayenne pepper

1 pound jumbo-lump Maryland crabmeat, picked over to remove cartilage (preferably not pasteurized)

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

Finely grated orange zest (2 swipes with a Microplane zester)

3 / 4 cup plain panko (breadcrumbs), plus 1 / 2 cup for coating

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For the aioli: Smash the garlic cloves and place them in a glass bowl add the oil, cover and let sit for 8 hours or up to overnight at room temperature.

Combine the egg yolks, 4 tablespoons of the water, the vinegar, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper in a food processor puree until smooth and well blended.

Discard the garlic in the oil with the motor running, gradually stream in the oil to form a thick aioli. Add some or all of the remaining water to achieve the desired consistency. The yield is 42 / 3 cups. You’ll need 2 / 3 cup to make the crab cakes transfer the rest to a container, place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the aioli, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use (and up to 1 week).

For the crab cakes: Gently combine the crabmeat and the 2 / 3 cup of aioli in a mixing bowl. Add the mustard, orange zest and panko, then season lightly with salt. Stir gently, then cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Form the crab cake mixture into 14 cakes of equal size. Place a baking sheet in a 200-degree oven.

Heat the canola oil and butter in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of panko on a plate.

Meanwhile, uncover the crab cakes. Working in batches, dust the crab cakes’ tops and bottoms with the panko, pressing just so the crumbs adhere, then place them in the skillet. Fry for a few minutes on each side, just until crispy brown on the exterior and warmed through. Transfer to the baking sheet in the oven and repeat to fry the remaining crab cakes.

Serve warm, with extra dollops of aioli.

NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS Per serving | 290 calories, 13g protein, 24g fat, 3g saturated fat, 8g carbohydrates, 70mg cholesterol, 370mg sodium, 0g fiber, 0g sugar