La Plata, Maryland is one of the few places where diners can find blue crabs on the menu at numerous restaurants.
The reason? The waters around La Plata are full of blue crabs, which are known for their sweet, succulent meat. Crabs are a delicacy, and a Maryland tradition, and are known for their high quality and good taste.
Blue crabs are typically served steamed, although some restaurants also offer a soft-shell version that is fried. Many customers who order steamed crabs like to dip them in vinegar and Old Bay seasoning, or melted butter. Diners enjoy blue crabs because they are somewhat sweet and have more flavor than Alaskan snow crab legs.
The crab season in Southern Maryland runs from April through October, with the prime months being August, September and October. Crabbers catch the crustaceans using a square wire device called a crab pot, which they bait and drop down into the water.Crab is always served fresh in restaurants because it is delivered as a live product.
A key dining spot near La Plata for blue crab, Alaskan snow crab and steamed shrimp entrees is along Popes Creek Road in Newburg, which is home to several crab houses. Those restaurants include Robertson’s Crab House, Gilligan’s Pier Seafood & Steakhouse and Captain Billy’s Seafood Restaurant.
Captain Billy’s is located in a 60-year-old building and offers outdoor dining on its waterfront deck. Its seafood platter dinner combination consists of a crab cake, flounder, oysters, scallops and shrimp – all fried. The same platter can be served broiled, without the oysters.
Why Are Blue Crabs Blue?
And finally – a quick science lesson. Blue crabs are blue because their shell contain two pigments that interact to form a greenish-blue color. When the crab is cooked, one of the pigments breaks down, which turns the crab to a red-orange color that diners are accustomed to seeing.