Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Closer Look: Jerry's Seafood

Where do you go when your taste buds are craving delicious blue crabs, oysters and fresh fish? If you are anywhere along the Eastern shore, point your GPS towards Lanham in the great state of Maryland. Tucked in the corner of a small strip plaza along Lanham-Severn Road is where you will find Jerry’s Seafood, a deceptively unassuming little place that will slap your senses silly with the alluring flavors of their incredible seafood.

One point to consider when plans go awry is, good or bad, there is usually a consolation prize. Jerry’s was a last minute replacement after an unnamed establishment botched up royally on a dinner reservation for our group of 10 hungry diners. Second choice does not have to mean second best. Jerry’s was, in a word, fabulous.

To walk in the front door, gaze around the dining room, survey the sparse surroundings and perhaps take a peek at the menu, your first thought could very well be “Well it can’t be all that good.” Oh, ye of little faith. I’ll just start by saying that Jerry’s served one of the top three crab cakes that I have ever had in life outside of my mom’s kitchen. Yes, it was that good.

Let there be no argument: I am a crab lover… in all forms. And on that unseasonably warm Saturday night as I sat surrounded by my family in an unpretentious restaurant just outside of D.C., all I could focus on was the cup of Cream of Crab Soup appetizer that was making its way to the table.

This was the start of a beautiful courtship.

The soup was extraordinarily delicious and creamy with a hint of spice (which I guessed to be Old Bay Seasoning). Not only was it bursting with luscious flavors, it was topped with large chunks of jumbo lump crab meat—not imitation crab, but the real deal. This should be the benchmark and textbook version on how cream of crab soup should look, taste, smell and feel going down. It was a dish that should never have ended, and when it did, I was near despondent. I will repeat, for those who were not listening the first time: It was that good.

Considering that other Homemade Soup & Appetizer selections included such goodies as Crab Bisque with a hint of sherry, Crab Balls with homemade stone crab sauce, Beer Battered Shrimp and Fresh Crab Dip, I doubt I could have gone wrong in whatever I chose.

Not to be outdone, the Dinner entrées had something to prove. From the Fresh Oysters, the Fresh Scallops, a Mariner’s Platter with “a tasty array of seafood treats” and even the 10 oz. Filet Mignon Certified Angus Beef, Jerry’s was making my decision tough. However, once I took one look at the Dinner Specialties menu and saw The Crab Bomb™, stars filled the sky, the angels sang and all was right with the world.

[For a whimsical twist, click HERE to watch CrabBomb TV where Jerry’s shows you how they make their famous Crab Bomb™.]

After the starter, there was no doubt that the entrées would be beyond spectacular. Jerry’s did not disappoint.

Imagine ten ounces of pure jumbo lump crab formed into a gigantic ball, lightly seasoned with Old Bay and baked to a beautiful golden hue that implores you “Eat me, eat me.” Now imagine not an ounce of breading in the entire concoction. Yes, you heard right. Whatever their secret is, I want it. And I wanted that crab bomb. The first taste made my head spin like Linda Blair. Ten minutes later, when the entire bomb was safely ensconced in my stomach, I wanted another one. Temptation was strong, but I did not cave in.

And since two side items of your choice accompany all entrées, I could not very well display piggish behavior. For the record, the Stewed Tomatoes were yet another in a long line of enticing items at Jerry’s. Plump, sweet and soft—and apparently a creation of Grandma Gainey—the tomatoes swam in a sea of juices that was pleasant enough to drink.

The Filet of Haddock from the dinner entrées menu that my husband had was a huge helping of fish. Lightly fried golden brown, the white fish was tender and juicy and broke away with a fork in large flaky chunks. It was so delectable that it didn’t need the tartar sauce, but boy, what a complementary condiment it was.

Yet another of Grandma Gainey’s recipes, the Coleslaw, along with Wedge Cut Fries, rounded out his meal. If the absence of food on his plate at the end of the meal was any indication, this combination of dishes was another winner.

Jumbo Fried Shrimp put a definite smile on my mother-in-law’s face. Butterflied and battered ever so lightly, the shrimp were plump and robust in that distinctive flavor that makes this one of America’s favorite seafood dishes.

Out of the ten people in our party, there was very little in the way of variety. With so many crab lovers in the family, the Crab Bomb was the hands-down favorite. I would like to think that on my next visit to Jerry’s Seafood, I will break from my usual creature-of-habit routine and order something other than crab. They serve Fresh Hand Filet Atlantic Salmon that can be prepared any number of ways, there’s a Fried Oyster Sandwich and Shrimp Stuffed with Crab Imperial, among other dishes. But who am I kidding? The Crab Bomb has taken hold of my mind, body and soul. There is nothing left to be said.

Visit Jerry’s Seafood. If necessary, make a special trip to Lanham. Take a detour from I-95, I-495 or 295. Go by car, motorcycle, skateboard or donkey. Do whatever you have to do to get there. Just go.

* * * * * *
While Jerry’s is unassuming with a rather sparse dining room, the prices run the gamut between budget-friendly and moderate-to-expensive for everyday dining. However, for those special occasions (or, if you’re like me, whenever you are hungry…), a good splurge never hurt anyone. Homemade Soups and Appetizers range $8-$24 (for one pound of Large Spiced Shrimp); Sandwiches & Salads are $8-$15; Dinner Entrées are $23-$36, while the Dinner Specialties run $26-$34. Jerry’s Seafood is open Tuesday – Sunday; currently they are closed on Monday for renovations.

Jerry’s Seafood
9364 Lanham-Severn Road
Lanham, MD 20706


  1. You have successfully convinced me to visit Jerry's Seafood although, my other half is not as enticed with shellfish as I am.

    Trice :)
    &Jeff from Coyaba (7/12)

    1. Hiya Trice! Hope you and Jeff made it back to D.C. safely. Yes, try Jerry's Seafood. I caution you: It IS an unassuming place. And I have been there a couple of times since this writing. The price of the Crab Bomb has, um er uh, exploded; they've raised the price of it. Bummer. But it is a phenomenal hunk of seafood! :-D If you go, I hope you enjoy yourselves. And tell Jeff there's other things besides shellfish -- he can indulge in a steak, fish, etc. Just make sure you take a well-stocked wallet! Ha! ;-)

      Take care!