Crab Cakes at The Press Gang Restaurant in Halifax
I have previously posted good reviews of some dishes served to me at the Press Gang Restaurant in Halifax, most notably their excellent Grilled Scallop Appetizer. Unfortunately, I cannot be quite as effusive about the pretty, but poorly executed dish pictured above, as this is the second time I have had Crab Cakes in a very upscale restaurant where the quality was singularly disappointing.
This particular dish appeared on the Press Gang appetizer menu as ‘Pancetta Crab Cakes’ and were described as being served with Mango-Chili Sauce, Watercress and an Arugula Purée. As you can see, it was plated prettily enough in a simple, uncluttered sort of way, but, unfortunately, the good qualities of this particular offering ended there.
The Mango-Chili Sauce was pleasant enough all by itself, but it wasn’t something I would have chosen for Crab Cakes, nor really for any sort of Crab preparation. It was sweet, but the tropical fruitiness just seemed a little jarring in this context and the chili component, which might have improved it a little, was noticeably absent.
The Arugula Purée was nicely made, and was a very attractive and vibrant bright green, but, like the watercress on top of the Crab Cakes, it really only added visual appeal as a garnish, and not much else. It struck me, though, that had there been a little more of it, the faintly bitter notes could have replaced the overly sweet Mango preparation as a more interesting accompaniment for Crab.
As for the Crab Cakes themselves, these were not very good at all. They were breaded and had been fried so as to make a nice, golden crispy coating, but the filling was very disappointing.
In the first place, these little disks were far to thin and meager to even properly be called cakes, and the texture inside was unpleasantly paste-like from having been minced too finely. The flavor, while vaguely sea-food like, could really have been just about anything and suggested neither Crab, nor Pancetta. Indeed, I couldn’t see, or detect, anything like the latter ingredient in the mix and I rather think there wasn’t any at all despite the menu description. Really, the Crab Cakes at The Press Gang had all the charm of supermarket Fish Fingers and were a singular failure for this restaurant.