Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Return Trip to Michael's is Just as Good

I'm pretty sure my first visit to Michael's Steak & Lobster House was pre-THG blog existence. Pals of ours were in town for the Baltimore Boat Show and we ended up taking in dinner at this Baltimore institution, regularly lauded for their steaks and immense, tasty crabcakes. Hardly fancy, the restaurant is dark with lots of wood paneling and a nautical motif that reminds me of the Bridesburg, PA basements where my relatives entertained us back in the 70s.

Yesterday, those same friends were in town for the Orioles/Yankees game and wanted to meet for dinner. With Chris working the holiday Ryan and I jumped at the chance to get out for dinner and headed over to Eastern Ave.

Nothing much has changed at Michael's since the last time I was there, probably a good six-plus years ago. The same dark interior, nautical motif, menus... heck, I think we might have had the same waitress from my last visit, a Baltimore-area lifer who could have passed for my beloved Aunt Josie.

More than the decor and wait staff, the food at Michael's hasn't changed either. And coming on the heels of my friends' disappointing visit to Amicci's in Little Italy the night before, this was a good thing.

Generous bowls of Cream of Crab Soup are, as Bobby Hill might say, "All cream, no crab," but that's okay. It's a hearty bowl and when you do get some chunks of crab (which I'm never quite sure are real or imitation) it's a nice surprise. As a plus, Ryan really loved it, lunging for the spoon when I dared put it down out of her reach. A bread bowl filled with a Creamy Crab Dip is more the real deal, clumps of crab fighting with garlic and the Old Bay that inevitably gets doused on top.

Though I had previously made up my mind to get their signature crabcakes – a large platter filled with two oversized, zero filler hunks of Bawlmer goodness – my mind started wandering when I saw the menu and I decided to get a little adventurous. The Soft Shell Crab Stuffed with Crab Imperial turned out to be a great choice and I got the best of both worlds without feeling like a giant pig for eating two crabcakes. Which I could have easily done.

I suppose my only complaint with Michael's would have been the large, loud party that was seated in the same small room as us. Our party included three adults and three well-behaved kids. Their party included eight extremely loud adults all involved in individual conversations that forced them to scream over each other and everybody else.

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