By: Lynne O’Meara, Southern Maryland Resturants
One of the things I like to ask people is what restaurant has the best crab cake in Southern Maryland. One place that is mentioned most often is Jerry’s Place in Prince Frederick. It had been a while since I was there, so I decided I needed to check it out again.
Driving south of Prince Frederick, a few miles on the right, is Jerry’s Place. It’s at the southern end of the building, with a Mr. Tire store on the north end. When you enter the restaurant, the first thing you notice is the walls. They are covered with caricatures of family, friends, and regulars. It’s so interesting. The restaurant is cozy with about 18 two and four-top tables. Every time I’ve been there, it’s been busy! There’s are reasons for that…the food is fabulous!
Jerry has an interesting story. He started selling oysters out of his car in 1968 in a shopping center in Seabrook, MD. From there he went to a pick-up truck and then a food truck (in a step van). He then added crabs, shrimp, clams and other fresh seafood. Eventually, he moved to a restaurant in that same shopping center where they operated for almost 30 years.
After “retiring” and moving to Calvert County, Jerry and his wife decided to open a new restaurant in Prince Frederick. That was almost 12 years ago and Jerry, who is now 80 years old, is still at the door greeting diners. It’s definitely a family business! In addition to Jerry, you can find his son Jerry, Jr., his granddaughter (Roddy), his niece (Dawn), and a few other family members working at the restaurant. Everyone is welcoming and we had great service. Jerry works the room, making sure everything is running smoothly and every one his happy. He and Jerry Jr. stopped by frequently to check on us and chat. It was so nice!
When we sat down, we were greeted right away. Dawn, our server, was attentive and friendly. We were immediately served a plate with two cooked shrimp, a plate with a couple of pieces of fried haddock, a small bowl of cooked tomatoes and a small bowl of kale. Everything was so good! The fried haddock is brought to every table as a “treat” to let people sample this popular menu item.
According to Roddy (Jerry’s granddaughter), “We want everyone to try it.” It’s mild and perfect for people who don’t want a “fishy” fish. It has a very light batter and is cooked perfectly. The tomatoes and kale are both side items they brought out as samples. Both are amazing. I never liked cooked tomatoes until I got them at Jerry’s. They have butter and sugar in them. Hello…I said butter and sugar. You can’t go wrong with that! They are sweet and so good! The kale was great too with just enough red pepper flakes to give it a bit of a kick (but not too much).
Before we ordered our entrees, Jerry brought out a sample of a few of their daily specials for us to try. First was a Stuffed Shrimp and a Fried Softshell Crab. The shrimp was large and full of delicious crab. The softshell crab came with a delicious General Tso’s sauce and it was the best I’ve ever had. I wasn’t a fan of softshell crabs, but I am now! Well, I am if they are from Jerry’s!
Jerry told me, “No one cleans a softshell as we do”. Next, we had a Beer-battered Lobster Tail with a Stone Crab Sauce. Have you ever had a fried lobster tail? The batter was light and didn’t cover the wonderful lobster taste. It’s like a tempura batter, but lighter. And then Jerry brought out his favorite…Fried Perch. It was tender, tasty and melted in my mouth. Jerry says the key to frying delicious food is using fresh oil. Roddy told me, “Everything is prepared simple because we want you to taste the food”.
For our entrees, we ordered the Crab Cake (of course I had to order it) and the Marinated Blackened Scallops. The crab cake is all crab meat, no filler. I was told the way to make sure the crab cake doesn’t fall apart during cooking is to use a little bit of mayonnaise and dry crabmeat. It really is remarkable! The crab cakes are baked not fried, so you really get to taste the delicious crab! The scallops were great too! The marinade was Asian and came with wasabi, ginger, and a honey-mustard sauce. The scallops were perfectly cooked.
As if that wasn’t enough food…I had to try a dessert. Their desserts are made local. The night we were there they had Key Lime Pie, Bread Pudding, Lemon Cheesecake, and Peanut Butter Pie. We had the Peanut Butter Pie. It was creamy, sweet (of course), and peanut buttery! Sometimes they have Banana Cream Pie. I’m going back to try the Banana Cream Pie soon!
A few final comments…everything is fresh and homemade, the batter compliments the seafood and doesn’t overpower it, there is Old Bay on the table for those who like it, they don’t take reservations (it’s worth the wait), and you really do get the family feel of the restaurant!
Jerry’s Place is located at 1541 Solomon’s Island Road S., Prince Frederick, MD. Their hours are Thursday 12pm-8pm, Friday 12pm-8pm, Saturday 12pm-10pm, and Sunday 1pm-7pm.
Rating (out of 5):
- Food: 4.9
- Service: 4.8
- Ambiance: 4.7