I am a crab cake snob of the first order. Growing up with access to the best blue claw crabs in the world in Southern Delaware and having a Grandmother and Mother that can cook the pants off of just about anyone out there has made me a snob. Our weekend ritual upon arrival at the Rehoboth house was to head out to empty the crab traps and get them on the stove. I could pick a crab like a pro when I was two years old. Having had crab in every form imaginable, I have a deep and abiding love for crab cakes. Leave off the filler and bread crumbs – if I can’t taste CRAB … REAL LUMP CRAB MEAT then you are wasting my time.
Visiting Southern Delaware for the first time in 20 years, rumor had it that a new (to me) place called Woody’s Bar and Grill had the best crab cakes going. AND they were featured on the travel channel for these incredible crab cakes. I was skeptical. Could they be that good? Could they stand up to MY crab cakes which I think are pretty darn good?
We arrived at Woody’s which has a typical beach bar and restaurant atmosphere and is located right on Route 1 in Dewey Beach, Delaware. We had a great server with a great smile and lots of enthusiasm (THANKS, JASON!) who made some great recommendations, like the fried pickles and Dewey Dunker.
Our appetizer was the aforementioned Fried Pickles which had a fantastic breading – crispy with hints of dill, but what really made the snack was the sauce which was a tangy ranch and spice flavor.
Of course, we ordered the crab cakes which can come with or without a bun. They are complemented (as are all the sandwiches) with a generous portion of real potato chips sprinkled with Old Bay Seasoning that are made in house and definitely taste like it in a good way. The crab cake lived up to the hype … it was full of lump crab meat, very little filler, and baked then seared to a golden crisp on top. The roll was incidental in my world, just give me the crab. The crab cake alone warrants another visit, no question.
The pleasant surprise was the quality and general yumminess of the other sandwiches that we ordered which alone could warrant another visit. The first was the Black and Blue Shrimp BLT, consisting of blackened shrimp, a generous portion of delicious blue cheese all stacked with bacon, lettuce and tomato. HELLO NIRVANA. I did not want to stop eating it. The blackening spices were just enough zing without burning and handily cooled down by the quality blue cheese. And bacon. Is there anything that isn’t better with bacon?
Our final munch was the Dewey Dunker. Allow me to preface this sandwich by explaining what Dewey Beach is known for: Partying. Hard-core sun, surf, sand, and partying. Parties in Dewey were all night benders that left you eating breakfast as intoxicated as the night before. Food that soaks up alcohol and allows you to head out for another night is VITAL. The Dewey Dunker is awesome for almost-teetotalers like me (but who remember the “good old days”) and for the folks still indulging in the lifestyle of Dewey Beach. Picture shaved top round BEEF … lots of it served on a hardy house-made roll that is resting in a bed of savory au jus. A fork and knife was required for some measure of decorum on my part but this is SUSTENANCE. And had a rich flavor enhanced with those house-made chips. The challah-like roll was the perfect delivery for the au jus and could happily be eaten separately. The leftovers were just as good on day two.
Congrats to Woody’s Bar and Grill for creating a tasty experience – they were featured on Travel Channel and now I know why. My next visit to Dewey Beach will include a stop at Woody’s. We were there in what is technically the off-season so the atmosphere was mellow and mostly local. Prices are reasonable and service was quick and the food hot. I can’t wait to go back.