Does the name of this resto sound somewhat kitschy? Good...because kitsch is what "Captain James" has down to a science. Located in the Baltimore harbor, this landmark waterfront establishment has been around since the 1970's, which you will have no problem believing when you lay eyes on it.
The vintage nautical theme prevails throughout the restaurant's vast interior. I loved the retro vibe inside, but the food was bit hit and miss. Steamed clams were tender and tasty, but pretty gritty. A little lemon water for rinsing would've made a huge difference in the quality of this app.
Similarly, the Sautéed Shrimp and Garlic with toast points were standard issue and did little to thrill.
The Cream of Crab Soup was a bit thick for my personal taste, but no one was skimping on the crab chunks and it had a nice, sherry-infused flavor.
The true star of the appetizer menu appeared in the form of Crab Stuffed Mushrooms (mushrooms piled high with crab cake filling, baked, and adorned with the Captain's Imperial Topping (l don't know what was in the Imperial Topping, but I want some more of it). These were off the chain!
We Floridians were ultimately drawn to Captain James to experience bona fide Maryland Crab Cakes (not the "Maryland style" wannabees we get served in the south). This is where the Captain truly excelled. The biggest chunks of sweet crab meat I've ever put in my mouth were held together by the most minimalistic binder imaginable, lightly dusted with bread crumbs and pan-fried. Huge and incredibly rich, no one in our party could finish two. Since they were so amazing, I'll leash my inner bitch and say nothing about the mandatory dullish sides of frozen veggie mix and rice pilaf that came with the "dinner".
Feigning daintiness, I ordered the Crab Cake Sandwich (which came with some pretty respectable fries), ditched the bun and still couldn't finish it...and not because it wasn't decadence on the plate.
Overall, a fun and positive experience. Our server had all the enthusiasm of a garden slug, but she ultimately got 'er done...ever so slowly but surely. Go for the crab cakes if nothing else...they're simply amazing!
My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.