Crab Cakes at Vineyards
When I was a kid, I disliked Fish Cakes and Crab Cakes, even though I liked both those types of seafood prepared in other ways. When I got older, I tried Crab Cakes again and found I now enjoyed them (although I still don’t care for Fish Cakes all that much). I also began to get interested in the different styles and methods of making them, and I first began keeping notes on my experiences when I was served with the ones pictured above at Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro, one of my favorite restaurants in Ottawa’s Byward Market. These ones were not as good as many I have had since, in all honesty, but I still enjoyed them well enough.
The menu described the cakes as being herbed, but, while I could see green flecks in the center, I couldn’t actually pin-point any particular flavor other than, perhaps, parsley. The Garlic-Lemon Aioli that came on the side was actually quite tasty but it was bit too robust for the dish and tended to mask the delicate taste of the cakes. Just plain lemon juice might have been better.
As for the qualities of the cakes themselves, while somewhat tasty, the meat was ground much too finely, which gave them a rather texture-less, paste-like consistency. It also resulted them being way too dense, and lacking in the lightness that is the mark of well-made Crab Cakes.
There are many different approaches to making Crab Cakes, and afficionados argue over the best sort of binders and seasonings to use, whether a proper Crab Cake is Pan-fried, or Deep-fried, or even what type of Crab is best. One fundamental difference between various Crab Cakes is the way in which the meat is cut or chopped, and I have long been leaning towards the conclusion that the larger the pieces of meat in the cake, the better the taste and texture. Here, the fine grind had the usual effect of killing the lovely sweet taste of the flesh.