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Best Atlanta crab cakes and a recipe

courtesy of Legal Sea Foods

courtesy of Legal Sea Foods

Did you vote for your favorite crab cakes last week for Best of the Big A? If so, check out the results. Your favorite are at  Chequer’s Seafood Grill and mine are at Legal Sea Foods.

If you’ve never tried the crab cakes at Legal Sea Foods, you should. This cake features the crab prominently. With a minimum of breading and binding, a mound of jumbo lump crab awaits.

I often ask my top picks for Best of the Big A to share their recipe and Legal Sea Foods obliged (well, sort of). I was told that they can’t divulge the restaurant’s proprietary recipe but they could share the version from their cookbook.

I’ll definitely try this recipe. Although, at first glance, I do see differences. I’m quite sure the restaurant version uses Saltine crackers instead of Ritz and likely contain mayonnaise, mustard and maybe some Tabasco.

Crab Cakes from “The New Legal Sea Foods Cookbook”

by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer

Serves 4


  • One 4 oz package of Ritz crackers
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions, both white and green parts
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2-3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp dry white wine
  • 1/8 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 oz backfin crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • salt
  • freshly milled black pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten


Place the crackers in a plastic bag and crumble with your hands or with a rolling pin. Put them in a large mixing bowl, and set aside. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and cook the scallions, celery, and garlic for 5 minutes, or until cooked through but still slightly translucent. Toss with the crackers.

Stir in the wine, Old Bay Seasoning, lemon juice, parsley, and crabmeat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the egg.

Form into cakes, dust with flour, and saute in olive oil or butter until cooked through.

Jenny Turknett, Southern and Neighborhood Fare

Jenny Turknett, Southern and Neighborhood Fare

–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog

– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team. She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.

15 comments Add your comment


July 19th, 2011
8:05 am

Crab cakes are one of those things where I rarely order them out, rarely make them at home, but I love them. And until I see a recipe that looks tasty, I forget how much I love them.

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July 20th, 2011
11:40 am

Ritz crackers? Um….I have a hard time with any recipe that uses brand name foods, like “add a can of mushroom soup”, etc.


July 20th, 2011
2:10 pm

I’m sure it will work JUST as well with your crackers from Aldi.


July 20th, 2011
2:14 pm

I personally think that the Oceanaire in midtown has the best crabcakes in Atlanta. They don’t use backfin crab and use jumbo lump crab instead. They are yummy!


July 23rd, 2011
3:50 pm

finally a crab cake recipe that doesn’t require mayonaise

Senior Citizen Kane

July 23rd, 2011
4:50 pm

Regardless of the brand, that sounds like WAY too much cracker crumbs for 8 oz. of crab.


July 23rd, 2011
5:21 pm

Agreed Kane – The best crab cakes should NOT have 1/3 filler (crackers) and 2/3 crab.


July 23rd, 2011
6:25 pm

I dunno how a chain restaurant can be the best of ANYTHING…….. Some chef “makes” a recipe and then Jose’ cooks it at the particular location you happen to stumble in.


July 23rd, 2011
6:46 pm

How about a gluten free recipe???


July 23rd, 2011
8:23 pm

I am from Baltimore Md and grew up with crab cakes and live here in ATL. Make crab cakes all the time and told that they are the best. That recipe above is not how to make a Marland Crab Cake

Try this and you will love the finished product.
1 lb Lump Crab Meat
2 tbsp Mayonnaise
2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
2 tsp Parsley Flakes
1/2 tsp of Prepared Yellow Mustard
1 Egg Beaten
Very Little Bread Crumbs Just Enough to give a little texture

MIX Mayo, Mustard, Old Bay, Parsley
Gently stir in crab meat and a little bread crumbs
Mold into a crab cake and fry golden brown.


July 23rd, 2011
9:07 pm

Thank you, Mike! Those are the crab cakes I’m used to making and eating. Very little bread and absolutely no crackers….plus you use lump crab. If you notice, the mayo used isn’t much at all. You want crab held together with very little filler at all, just enough to season a bit and allow the taste of that wonderful crab to come through. I actually use this recipe with minced shrimp.


July 23rd, 2011
9:10 pm

Also, I’ve eaten at Legal Seafood and wasn’t impressed. But growing up in Maryland and Florida, seafood was fresh….not what we get here in Atlanta.

Road Scholar

July 24th, 2011
7:22 am

BalmerMike: Tell it like it is! I still haven’t had a crab cake here in Ga that rivals Md crabcakes. The simpler, the better. Small mount of breadcrumbs or fine grated saltines as a binder .


July 25th, 2011
8:07 am

Allyanaz………you are really missing alot of great food if you shy away from commercial ingredients. There are very few folk, including chefs, that could cook the way you suggest. Who has time and the money to make their own Worchershire sause, Dijon mustard and cream of chicken soup, for example? I have yet to run across any.