The Crabcake and Fried Green Tomatoes
at Reedville's Crazy Crab is a
Marriage Made in Heaven.
Text and photo by Jody Argo Schroath, May 2010
I'd eaten at the Crazy Crab restaurant in Reedville, Va., before--perhaps half-a-dozen times over the past five years. After all, its location on Cockrell Creek is pretty irresistible to anyone who likes to watch boats coming and going while tucking into a cold beer and a platter of fresh seafood--which would certainly be me. But now I'm thinking that I never really appreciated the Crazy Crab properly until my friend Hal and I landed there one turbulent afternoon last summer. For two days, we had been trying to leave the Great Wicomico River and cross the Bay. But each time we ventured out of our cozy anchorage on Mill Creek, we got whacked by another storm thundering up the Bay that piled up the waves, giving us a beam sea to wake the dead. The first time we'd retreated back to Mill Creek, but this time we took cover in Cockrell Creek and Reedville Marina. We wanted showers, an unspecified number of cold beers and a very big dinner. With only 16 slips and a long, deep bulkhead, Reedville Marina exists in large part to accommodate transient boaters who want to visit this jewel box of a town, tour its Fishermen's Museum and eat seafood--and I certainly wanted to eat seafood. (Hal, though a wizard sailor, is a philistine who would rather eat steak.) We bounced to a landing (it was even choppy inside) and headed for a pre-dinner shower.
Ah, dinner. Hal and I pondered our order as we sipped our first beer. We both decided to forgo the appetizers and get right to the main course before we both nodded off. It had been a long couple of days. (From experience, however, I particularly recommend the she-crab soup--just the right balance of crab and spices!) Looking down the menu, I got as far as the crabcake over fried green tomatoes and came to a screeching halt. Hal went straight for the hand-cut Delmonico steak. When our food arrived with the second beer, Hal applied himself to the work at hand. I know he enjoyed it since there was soon nothing left but a potato skin. Of course, he couldn't have gotten a word in anyway, since I was raving nonstop about the felicitous combination of a perfectly concocted crabcake with lightly browned fried green tomatoes and remoulade. "This is marvelous!" I exclaimed. "This is wonderful!" I enthused. And so on. The remoulade was New Orleans style, rosy and light and full of flavor. Just enough spice but not enough to overpower the crab."It's all about the quality of the crab and not adding anything that would take away from it," Crazy Crab's owner Charles Williams said later. "Maryland people have very strong ideas about crabcakes, so when they come here, they're happy."
Williams and his wife Olivia built the Crazy Crab and Reedville Marina just over 10 years ago after Williams retired from the menhaden industry--no surprise for a Reedville resident. After a stint in the Navy, he flew a menhaden spotter plane then worked as general manager at one of the processing plants. When they retired, the Williamses didn't want to leave Reedville so they decided that a restaurant and small marina would be just the thing. A decade later, they still think so. And some of their employees clearly do too, since they are still with them.
This winter the restaurant underwent a little renovation and refitting, but was set to reopen this month with everything much the same--the main dining room and big covered deck overlooking the marina and Cockrell Creek, the food still delicious.
Speaking of delicious, did I mention dessert? Hal quietly but competently took care of a small hillock of apple dumpling, while I devoured a creme brulee--too busy, happy and full to say a word.
The Crazy Crab is located on Cockrell Creek off the Great Wicomico River, or at the tail end of U.S. Route 360 in Reedville, Va. It is open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. $11-$20. 804-453-6789.