Bethesda Crab House

Spread out some newspaper and grab a mallet.

From September 2003

Get back to basics with a heap of Maryland blue crabs. They're cayenne-crusted and served with drawn butter, mallets, and a massive empty bowl for the shells. The scene both outside and in is lively, sometimes even raucous. Reserve jumbos when they're available–wait till you get there and chances are you'll have to settle for large or medium. Be sure to ask about the all-you-can-eat Crab Feast–including crabs, corn, and cole slaw for $25–available most nights. Doing battle with your dinner not your thing? Crabcakes are first-rate, made with loads of lump crab and just a bit of binder. Peel-and-eat shrimp work as a good starter or a fine main event. Sides aren't the point here, though the slaw makes a fine foil for all the rest. Service can be crusty, but that's part of the charm, too.