Recently we watched an episode of “Road Tasted with the Neelys”. It seems Food Network is truly scraping the bottom of the food world barrel; not that Pat & Gina aren’t wonderful, but to re-use them twice on two new shows is odd—to me. And the real trouble is that they were sent to Baltimore, MD for one of their first episodes. Baltimore is really not a food city and finding good food there isn’t easy. How do I know that? Because this holiday season, we took a road trip down to Maryland to see family. I figured since we were close (about an hour) outside of Baltimore, it was worth the drive to check out the food scene. It wasn’t exciting, but we did find some bright spots.

Faidleys - Making Crab Cakes Faidleys - Cooked Cakes 2

First place we went was to Lexington Market Lexington Market to try out the Neely’s recommendation for Faidley’s Seafood’s Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. We circled the block once noticing that it was basically semi-ghetto (sorry area), filled with pawn shops, check cashing shops, and other run-down retail fronts. Even the market’s website is semi-ghetto. Inside the market, the scene was equally sad, filled with food places that hocked various food that had been deep fried, heated under heat lamps, and then re-deep fried. There was a rockin’ band performing in the middle of the market, which kept the Friday afternoon atmosphere light. There were barbecue stands, Chinese fast-food stands, hot dog stands, as well as raw meat and fish shops. One of those fish shops was Faidley’s.

Faidleys - Crab Cake 2

Faidley’s is not a restaurant. The part closer to the center of the market is a raw seafood market, selling lobster and fish at what seemed like high prices; at least equivalent to New York City prices ($16.95 per pound for lobster). The part closer to the street was a prepared food area with standing bar tables for chowing down. And in the center is a raw bar where you can stand around the chef and eat. We first sped through the line of hot food and got two Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, which for $12.95 (plus tax) each, include frozen tomatoes, a piece of lettuce, and a cup of tartar sauce. The cakes are literally the size of a baseball, filled with huge pieces of crab, perfectly un-broken. They use saltines as filler, but there isn’t too much of them. And the outside is crispy from being deep fried. There is no real additional flavor; it just tastes of good crab and saltines, which is good and bad. It’s not so much a crab cake as a pile of crab. I enjoyed it and Jessica thought it was fine, but not worth the price. The atmosphere was not appetizing and we agreed that neither of us would want to go back, even if we lived there.

Faidleys - Shucking 2

However, since we were there, we kept eating. We walked over to the raw bar and ordered a plate of six raw, fresh shucked (while we watched) “prime” oysters (as opposed to medium), which were $8.40 (including tax). The young man skillfully cleaned, shucked, and flipped our huge oysters; and impressed us by discarding one oyster that didn’t look quite right. It turns out he was the grandson of Faidley’s founder (or some similar relation). We added a bit of fresh lemon juice and cocktail sauce and slurped each oyster down. They were fantastic! Huge, fresh, and each had at least half an ounce of liquor.

Faidleys - Oysters 3

We decided to check out the rest of Lexington Market. We stopped by another stand that sold various chicken parts, deep fried. Jessica’s dad wanted to try the Fried Gizzards, with salt and pepper. They were remarkably greasy and not worth discussing, other than to tell you that your doctor would advise you not to eat them. Although, if you like gizzards, it’s nice to know that you get a huge amount for about $3.

Lex Market - Chicken Gizzards 3

Nothing else in the market enticed us and we wanted to try Dangerously Delicious Pies, also recommended by the Neely’s. Sadly, we discovered they were closed, so we couldn’t try them. We headed over to the National Aquarium in Baltimore to see what some of the seafood looked like when it was alive.

All in all, the oysters made our afternoon worthwhile, but the rest was a let down. If you recall, I did mention that there is a gem in the rough in Baltimore, and in our next post we’ll tell you what it is. Oh boy is it worth waiting for.

posted by Lon at 07:45 AM Filed under Restaurants, Shopping, Take-out/Delivery, Travel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.