I never have noticed this before, but it seems as if there are just more steamed crab houses, shops and shacks on the east side of the Beltway than the west (which makes sense, since the west side is a little farther from the Bay). Every exit I get off of at this point seems to have at least one very prominent restaurant or seafood place selling steamed crabs. Parkville and Carney are certainly no exception, with Don's, Conrad's, Jerry D's, Crabby Cousins, Pete's and off this exit, The Barn Crabhouse and Saloon (map). This one is a large family-style crab house and bar (the best kind of crab house). Happy hour starts early, at 11, and goes to 7 PM. As of this writing (May), they are serving crabs! Their website says Carney but Google places them in Parkville. Now, I could eat crabs until I turn, well, blue. (Sorry, I really could not help myself with that one.) But since I don't have tons of money or time to spend on Callinectes sapidus right now - it's more of a special occasion thing for me - I had to go looking for other options.
Among the others I found along Harford Road, on the way to Joppa, were the more sit-downish looking Bowman Restaurant & Pub (map), which is apparently as old as I am. Every section of the county has its own "special place" that's been around for decades, and this is Parkville's. Or Carney's. To be honest, I'm not sure what part of town I'm in. It's like Lansdowne-Arbutus-Baltimore Highlands. All the locals know them as Lansdowne, Arbutus and Baltimore Highlands, but the post office lumps them all together into one big Halethorpe category. Is it the same in this area, which gets tagged as Parkville, Carney and even Fullerton?
New Jersey-based Pats Pizza Family Restaurant (map) is somewhat firmly in the "Parkville" camp. Pats is a sizeable regional chain with 54 locations in the greater Mid-Atlantic area. That includes nine in northeastern Maryland and the Eastern Shore. Among those is the Harford Road franchise, which like the others (I assume) sells not just pizzas and strombolis, but buffalo wings, turkey burgers, steaks and both wraps and "rustic" sandwiches. I'm not exactly sure what this last category entails, but I will have to investigate.
Passing by the library, the Wendy's (now part of the Arbyverse) and the Forthuber's Florist, I headed into the Mars shopping center. Apart from the supermarket are the China Delight (map) and Hikari Sushi. China Delight was recommended to me by the cashier at Mars, who said that their sesame chicken is okay, and that it's a popular place for Mars employees to eat. And it just dawned on me why - it's probably the closest place to eat. They serve the standard greasy-wok fare, but also sell a variety of other dishes, including Peking Duck, and various Japanese and Southeast Asian dishes. Included are a variety of sushi and rolls, and a selection of Thai dishes. I can try those later. As for Hikari, I have to question the logic of any place, Chinese or otherwise, selling sushi and rolls when there is an actual Japanese restaurant next door (to mix it up, they also serve Korean barbecue). That'd be since China Delight has the exact same mailing address as Hikari Sushi (hence, no map). Are they one and the same, owned and operated by the same people? Beats me, but I am curious. (UPDATE - Now I know why - the two are two different suites in the larger complex at address 9613 Harford Road. Again, duh on me.)
On the cashier's recommendation, I ordered the orange chicken ($4.50 for the lunch special, one of many that are less than $5, with your choice of steamed or fried rice, and soup or egg roll). Getting it home fifteen minutes later (and nuking it because I get ill every single time I eat room temperature fried rice), I have to say it's pretty standard. That is, it's not bad, but not earth-shattering. The orange was strong and the chicken tangy, though a little fatty, as all processed chicken used in Chinese cooking tends to be. The rice is also good but again, not earth-shattering. The one thing that did stand out was the egg roll, simply for its pretty good flavor but not-so-great, hard-as-a-shell exterior. Order the soup if you head to China Delight. I'd get it again, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.
Places I visited:
China Delight (Chinese / Thai / sushi) - 9613 Harford Road, Parkville, MD 21234; Phone: (410) 661-3388
- Would I eat there again? Yes.
- Would I go out of my way to eat there again? Well, no
The Barn Crabhouse and Saloon (crabs / bar) - 9257 Harford Road, Carney, MD, 21234; Phone: (410) 882-6182
The Bowman Restaurant & Pub (American / seafood / pub) - 9306 Harford Road, Parkville, MD 21234; Phone: (410) 665-8600
Hikari Sushi (Japanese / sushi / Korean) - 9613 Harford Road, Parkville, MD 21234; Phone: (410) 882-5554
Pat's Pizzeria Family Restaurant (pizza / Italian / American - with 54 locations from New Jersey to Maryland and nine locations in our own state) - 9400 Harford Road, Parkville, MD 21234; Phone:(410) 663-3393