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Four Stars: Crab Meet – US Food Trends

13 August 2008

Beginning with the same sweet shellfish foundation, operators tweak crab cakes' size, seasonings and surroundings to shake up the classic starter.

This article first appeared in the 1 August 2008 issue of Restaurants & Institutions (R&I).

R&I is the USA's leading source of food and business-trend information and exclusive research on operators and restaurant patrons. Editorial coverage spans the entire foodservice industry, including chains, independent restaurants, hotels and institutions. Visit the R&I website to find out more about the magazine or to search its recipe database.

By Allison Perlik, Senior Editor

Gran Queso Crab Cakes (pictured above)
La Boca, Santa Fe, N.M.
A Spanish-style cheese made in Wisconsin and similar in taste and texture to manchego mingles with lump crabmeat at this Mediterranean-accented tapas spot. Red peppers, green onions and cayenne add crunch and heat to Executive Chef James Campbell Caruso's cakes, which are garnished with charred-red-pepper-basil aïoli.

Crab Cake Sliders

Crab Cake Sliders
Crab Cake Sliders

Salty's on the Columbia River, Portland, Ore.
Paired with house-made seafood chowder, Executive Chef Dana Cress' mini sandwiches make an intriguing yet approachable lunch. Thinly shredded phyllo dough adds a crisp finish to the Pacific-crab cakes, which are tucked in sourdough buns with a tangy topping of arugula, red onion, shaved celery and lemon-thyme aïoli.

University Club Crab Cakes

University Club Crab Cakes
University Club Crab Cakes

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass.
At the University Club & Restaurant, special and claw crabmeat are seasoned with cumin, coriander, green onions and red peppers and sparked with lemon juice, hot-pepper oil and Worcestershire sauce in Chef Jane Leary's recipe. The panko-crusted cakes are fried and then finished in the oven.

Risotto Crab Cakes

Risotto Crab Cakes
Risotto Crab Cakes

Deleece, Chicago.
Truffle aïoli adds a luxurious touch to Chef Josh Hansen's rendition of crab cakes, in which 2-ounce patties are formed with a mixture of claw meat, cooled risotto and chopped parsley, rolled in rice flour, and seared in a cast-iron skillet. Hansen finishes the dish with a seasonal salad dressed with lemon juice for added acidity.

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