Huge crab cakes at the right price

December 05, 1996|By Laura Rottenberg | Laura Rottenberg,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For a lot of people, the greatest restaurants are staffed by waitresses stooped from years of staggering under the weight of huge platters. These people like entrees that must be angled gingerly through doorways. Sheer girth is the stuff of legend in their world.

Their stories are made all the sweeter in the retelling if there is an inverse relationship between a dish's price and size. We're talking Alonso's burgers, a slice of pizza at Angelo's, the eclair at Gunning's -- and, now, the crab cake platter at G&M Restaurant and Lounge.

G&M is by no means new on the scene. It's been around for more than 20 years, but just since 1993 under the new owners, John and George (everyone affectionately calls them by their first names). The dining room tends to teem with people who've journeyed from Pikesville, Bel Air and Rockville to this unassuming spot in Linthicum. Even the mayor's office has been known to send emissaries to load up on the hearty and modestly priced fare.

Most weekend nights there is a wait for a table in the no-frills dining room or the equally unpretentious lounge. A few dark paintings hung absurdly high on the walls constitute the decor, but the ambience is nonetheless festive.

Entrees (excluding pasta dishes) come with a salad, two side dishes and coffee or hot tea, so you may want to skip the appetizers. If you're feeling intrepid though, the clams casino (five to an order) are plump and pleasant, and the Maryland crab soup is hearty, if a little heavy on the peas and light on the crab. The shrimp cocktail is a bit chewy, without enough horseradish bite in the cocktail sauce.

The house salad is a nice mix of iceberg lettuce, tomato wedges and whatnot, served with a choice of dressing (the blue cheese version held nice chunks of crumbled cheese). Side dishes may include competently made onion rings, apple sauce, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, potato salad or baked potatoes, and slightly mushy green beans, broccoli or brussels sprouts.

The double crab cake platter is the real draw at G&M. For $16.95, you get enough lump crab meat to make a crab picker weep, all nestled in a bready filler seasoned only with salt and pepper. These two mountainous cakes are broiled and served unadorned, all the better to marvel at their expanse of golden crust.

The night we were there, another entree vied for center stage: a gargantuan porterhouse steak, offered for a mere pittance at $13.95. The grilled meat's crosshatches were perfectly charcoaled, and its center was exactly medium rare (as ordered).

The list of pastas features a lot of the usual suspects. Cheese ravioli proved to be a large platter chockablock with slithery, ricotta-stuffed packages ladled with a bright, piquant tomato sauce.

The owners' Greek heritage is apparent at dessert, where baklava and Greek-style rice pudding make a fine showing. The rest of the desserts, mostly made in house, include a rich black-and-white cheesecake and an uninspired ice cream sundae. The wine selection is limited, so a house milkshake (not too thick) makes a fine beverage.

G&M Restaurant and Lounge

804 N. Hammonds Ferry Road, Linthicum

(410) 636-1777

Hours: Open daily for lunch and dinner, breakfast on Saturday and Sunday

Credit cards: Major credit cards

Prices: Appetizers $5.95-$7.95; entrees $7.50-$25.95.

Pub Date: 12/05/96

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