Both branches of Exit 26 seem to lead, eventually, to the same place. If you don't wind up on York Road in Lutherville, you will wind up smack-dab in the middle of Towson (see Exit 27, if I've put it up by the time you read this). In this stretch of York Road there are a few strip malls, McDonald's, chain stores (CompUSA just closed down forever today), and a few places to eat. Even though I live around here, I hardly know this stretch of York Road. So it's good that I try getting to know it a little better. All I know of it is the Towson Diner (map), where I have enjoyed the occasional hamburger. Not a big fan of their fountain drinks, or any fountain drink you can get from a diner (it's not so much them as it is any diner). I do put theirs above the Double T's at least. Apparently their breakfast is pretty good, though I'm not really the "big stack of pancakes" type.
I also got the crazy idea to submit something to the Washington Post Peeps photo contest (never got around to it, but I might still try to make one just, you know, for fun). So I headed to the Michaels by that big Borders and across from the Mars supermarket. Along the way I stopped in Ridgeley Plaza to find a cheap lunch. I saw pizza (Olympia Pizzeria, map) and Chinese (Panda King, map), but I wasn't in the mood for either. Again, places to look up later.
Heading back down York Road, towards Towson, I passed by a few places that have caught my eye before, mostly seafood places. One place that always hits me is the Nichi Bei Kai (map), which always seems to be closed when I pass by. Are they? And are they affiliated with the ones in Columbia? I don't know. I should try it out, though I have been reading both great and grating reviews of the place. I also passed by Tako Seafood (map), which seems to be a market that also has eats, including sushi.
My attention was drawn to the Ocean Pride crab house (map). Just the idea of steamed crabs at this time of the year seemed too enticing to pass up and I had to investigate. This place has a main bar and restaurant area (no more smoke - Yippee!). I went into the carry-out area instead. It had a nice fridge case with fresh, raw shrimp and urshters, freshly made (I think) cole slaw and other stuff. The counter had mallets galore for the buying (75 cents each), and a big shiny, fancy mallet in a box (price?).
I was also taken by surprise to see a wall of wine bottles. On a Sunday! I don't know how they get away with it; I just hope they continue to do so. (Should I be saying this? They won't get into trouble I hope.) Maybe it's because they have a bar.
So I glance over the menu that the guy behind the counter gives me (there's also a plastic letter menu above the fridge counter). Various things caught my attention, mostly of the "more than I want to spend" variety. Since it was crab I had my eye on, I gave up and splurged this time. I saw many different preparations of crab, but one I hadn't seen was the fascinating (fried or broiled - I got the latter) crab cake wrap, with Old Bay ($11). I also got the onion rings ($3), which I had no idea would be so large.
The onion rings were a little soggy after the 15 minute car ride. They may have been crispier and better otherwise. The flavor was good - had they not gotten soggy I would've liked them better. But they were very very greasy. I brought some for lunch the next day, and it took several paper towels, soaked to translucence, to remove half of it. I didn't finish them. I did finish the pickle wedge. I love pickles.
The wrap didn't smack too much of Old Bay, but I am pleased by many a crab cake, and this is an original and convenient way to serve one. I probably would get it again, but definitely not the onion rings. Too much grease. I will have to stop by to try the crabs.
Places I visited
Ocean Pride (crabs / Chesapeake / seafood) - 1534 York Road, Lutherville, MD 21093; Phone: (410) 321-7744
- Would I eat there again? Yes
- Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Maybe.
- Would I eat there again? Yes
- Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Mmmmmaybe.
Nichi Bei Kai (Japanese / sushi) - 1524 York Rd, Lutherville, MD 21093; Phone: (410) 321-7090
Olympia Pizzeria (pizza) - 1764 York Rd, Lutherville, MD 21093; Phone: (410) 252-4740
Panda King (Chinese) - 1770 York Rd, Lutherville, MD 21093; Phone: (410) 561-5888
Tako Seafood (market - seafood / sushi) -1540 York Rd, Lutherville, MD 21093; Phone: (410) 339-7966