One of the only two reasons I went to Baltimore was to eat crab at Obyricki’s. It was a fancy restaurant for which we actually had to make reservations. When we arrived we felt mildly under-dressed for the dimly lit fancy restaurant. As soon as we were seated all of our worries faded away. All around us there were people wearing bibs, it was quite amusing. We ordered 10 medium sized crabs. When the food arrived it was not what you would expect. Basically the waiter dumped an entire tray of crabs onto our craft-paper covered table. He then walked away. We looked at the pile, looked at each other and the unease returned. We did a quick glance around the restaurant and saw that people were just smashing them with hammers.
It was a lot of fun to just sit there smashing one crab after another. We very quickly gave up on the use of forks and we resorted to using the knives to just pry as much meat out of the mess as possible. There were bits of crab meat and shell flying every which way. It was hilarious and delicious.
The next day we had lunch at a seafood restaurant in St. Michael’s, Maryland. Brent ordered the soft shell crab sandwich, which consisted of a crab between two slices of Dempster’s white bread. There was even a claw sticking out. I ordered the crab cakes. We were too tired from the night before to smash any more crabs. Too bad, because the restaurant featured some very informative place mats. The place mats had step by step illustrated instructions on how to eat baked crabs. We looked it over, glanced at each other and just burst out laughing. We had gone about it the wrong way. You are supposed to smash the underside and then you can easily pry it right off, giving you ready access to the succulent meat. We had been smashing their hard shells and eating bits that according to the place mat, we were not supposed to have eaten. Only in Baltimore.
Needless to say, neither of us will ever forget how it is done.