Pappas' seafood in Parkville is a real catch


November 06, 2008|By Rob Kasper | Rob Kasper,

Pappas Seafood Carry Out

1801 Taylor Ave., Parkville; 410-665-4000; open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday

In March, the Pappas family took over Hale's, a fixture on the local seafood scene. In addition to presiding over the popular Parkville restaurant, the family also operates a carryout in a sparkling glass-fronted building across the street from the restaurant. Each side of the street has its own kitchen and cook.

I was startled when I called the carryout and the woman taking my order asked if I wanted my bowl of Maryland crab soup to be hot or cold.

"On a night like this?" I asked, referring to the bitter weather. Some customers, she explained, prefer to buy cold soup, then heat it up at home. After tasting it, I can see why people might take home this soup, at $2.25 a bowl, and pass it off as their own. It was loaded with firm, flavorful vegetables - green beans, potatoes, peas - that swam in a red, crabby broth.

I also like the "padded oysters," $2.75 each, a seasonal dish that I have heard some folks call "patted" oysters. These plump mollusks are coated in a spiced breading and deep-fried. However, these oysters are massaged and whatever they are called, I love them.

The coddies, at $1.95 each, were also breaded, fried and winning. Moreover, I was told that these coddies contain cod, not a substitute fish. Not only did these crisp cod cakes taste good, they also lived up to truth-in-labeling rules.

I was less impressed with the fried hard crab. This is a hard crab that has part of its shell removed, then is stuffed with a crab cake, covered with batter and deep-fried. A fried hard crab is a quirky, local concoction. Its layers of texture were once described as the Tootsie Roll Pop of crab dishes. I don't cotton to this crab treatment. My $7.95 crab was very big and very brown. It reminded me of a catcher's mitt. The breading simply made it harder to get to the good stuff, the crab meat.

The cole slaw is, I was told, a recipe handed down from the Hale family. I polished off the $2.25 half-pint. This cole slaw lets the cabbage, not the condiments, do the talking. The shrimp salad ($6) was loaded with shrimp but was too salty for me.

Service was quick and cordial.


Best bite: Padded oysters, $2.75 each

Best bargain: Baltimore coddies, $1.95

Also tasted: Fried hard crab, $7.95; cole slaw, $2.25; shrimp salad, $6

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