Crab cakes are unique in how much we expect from them yet how often what we’re served falls short. Enough with the quarter-sizes, please! And let’s not get started with the filler-binder issue. We just want fresh, flavorful lumps of crab, tender in texture, and paired with something unusual (or fantastic), that allows this classic an unexplored potential. Here’s our list for the city’s top spots for crab cakes. By Anna Van Lenten.
Fabulous crab cakes are prepared à la Bretagne and feature lots of fresh lump meat and a cider sauce that will have you swooning au pommes. The chef de-glazes a shallot mixture with cider and adds a mere touch of cream to round it out. Superlative.
Praising these crab cakes is a bit of a cheat, since they aren’t purely crab—but the combination of lumps of succulent crabmeat with lobster, a whiff of dry mustard and red pepper, and a sweet corn salsa—amounts to a fearfully lovely thing.
Del Frisco’s Steakhouse
The talk of the town, these crab cakes really are to die for. An all-crab (no bready padding) round is surrounded by an aromatic lobster bisque. Together, the two multiply one another’s graces to the point where you’ll lose yours and be reduced to licking the plate.
Fabio Piccolo Fiore
These crab cakes give lie to the word cake. A loose magic of shallot-lemon-sweet red pepper holds together a generous portion of sweetly yielding, fresh lump crabmeat (Fabio loses $1 for every one he sells). Chopped pineapple, parsley and red pepper garnish make it sublime.
The Peekytoe crab cake here veers far away from your standard breaded hockey puck. At times served with scallions and a sesame crust, at times with fresh pear & spicy mustard sauce, or with melon juice—all versions will send your senses afloat.
Knickerbocker Bar & Grill
These rich-tasting crab cakes are classically awesome. A jumbo-sized cake of lump crabmeat is seasoned with Old Bay, sautéed, and served with saffron aioli and radicchio. The result is simple and satisfyingly great.
Provencal crab cakes are outstanding and thus an ever-popular menu item. They contain nearly 100% crabmeat, are flavored with selected herbs, and no breadcrumbs. Melt in your mouth stellar-ness.
The Maryland crab cakes, a Friday night special, are seriously wonderful. Served with roasted red pepper sauce and fennel slaw, they win points for their lack of filler—just beautifully seasoned crabmeat encased in a delicate, crispy coating.
The Four Seasons
The stuff of legends, these Maryland Crabmeat Cakes contain premium lump meat mixed with a small dice of pickles and shallots, mayo and salt and pepper. A mustard sauce finished with cream brings the cake to its gorgeous, platonic ideal.