The Food section rated this restaurant's crab cake for a July 2009 story about the area's best.
Nearly every table at this bare-bones joint is occupied by folks pounding and picking their way through heaps of steamed crabs, so you immediately suspect that crab cakes are an afterthought here. Suspicion confirmed: The bland, smallish pieces of local crab are rendered even more flavorless by the onslaught of too much breading, overpowering spice and the hot oil in which they're deep-fried. The sides are equally unremarkable.
The best steamed crab available in Virginia. Do not go looking for great seafood, selection or service. (Though their raw and fried oysters are always reliable and the fried oysters are well prepared.) Go and indulge in the largest crabs being offered that day for an unforgettable dining experience.
I visited Captain Pells after reading about it in the Post as a good local place for crabs. The environment is definitely casual with brown paper on the tables and paper/plastic for serving. We were a group of 4 and contemplated the all you can eat option but being our first time there the server recommended we order by the pound. We ended up taking that route and were full after 2-3 crabs each. The crabs were tasty and the amount of Old Bay seasoning on them was perfect. We asked for drawn butter and never even used it! The best side for the crab were definitely the hush puppies. We loved them so much we ordered an additional basket. The only negative I have was for the calamari. Definitely seemed frozen to us.
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