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Mission Crab Cake: Creative Twists

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10 Outré Crab Cakes  “Traditional.” “Simple.” “No filler.” We get it. We’re over it. When the old-school crab cake just isn’t enough, and the lemon, Old Bay and mayo have worn out their welcome, we look to the innovators to provide unique twists. Unusual binders, international flair, creative aïolis and crazy chutneys, it’s your time to shine. 

14 Global  Chef Shane Kellagher and the 14 Global all-over-the-map aura means breaking out the grating box for mini sweet-potato-and-bacon crab cakes, which are held together by coconut milk and coconut flour and studded with sweet potato and house-cured bacon, all served over a zesty Thai quinoa salad. 14 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Bethany Beach, 616-1035.

The Buttery  Only the high-octane crew at The Buttery could make a crab cake seem like stage material. Thank the show-stealing sides: Peruvian potato and pork belly rösti, roasted sunburst squash, lobster-corn nage and pickled sweet-pepper slaw. 102 Second St., Lewes, 645-7755, butteryrestaurant.com.

Café Azafran  Azafran’s Mediterranean charm wafts into its crab cakes through hypnotic saffron cream and sweet-tomato marmelada. 18 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-8100.

Krazy Kat’s  Never stingy when it comes to show-stopping frills, Krazy Kat’s adorns its jumbo-lump cakes with sinus-clearing wasabi crème fraîche, a pile of micro arugula and a flaky wedge of spinach-bacon spanakopita. 528 Montchanin Road, Montchanin, 888-4200, krazykatsrestaurant.com.

Masamoto  Innovative sushi chef Johnny Cai’s take on the crab cake includes a dusting of pulverized macadamia nuts and a drizzle of cilantro-lime sauce. 1810 Wilmington Pike, Chadds Ford, Pa., (610) 358-5538, masamotosushi.com.

Nage  Cook Anna Membreno has manned the crab-cake station at Nage for more than 10 years, transforming jumbo lump meat and panko breadcrumbs into works of art, with sweet-corn succotash, broccolini and tomato jam. 19730 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach, 226-2037, nagerestaurant.com.

Patsy’s  Patsy’s menu fearlessly calls them “The Best Crab Cakes.” Nobody’s arguing—not when there’s celery-root-Granny-Smith-apple rémoulade, herb salad and golden-brown pucks of sautéed jumbo lump. 121 Campbell Place, Bethany Beach, 537-2433, patsysgourmet.com.

Pochi  At the Chilean wine bar, it’s croquetas de jaiva: sautéed jumbo-lump cakes, splashed with spicy rémoulade and accompanied by Pochi’s heavenly tomato, corn and fried avocado salad. 220 W. 9th St., Wilmington, 384-6654, pochiwinebar.com.

Redfire Grill  Zesty orange and tarragon-infused tartar sauce give the crab cakes at Redfire Grill a sweet and sophisticated sidecar that’s good enough to compete with the steak. 400 Lantana Drive, Hockessin, 235-2600, redfiregrill.net.

Vita Nova  The next generation of crab-cake auteurs from the University of Delaware’s Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management serve their version in college-friendly fashion, with spicy rémoulade, spaghetti squash and crispy waffle-cut potatoes. 17 W. Main St., Newark, 831-0500.

 

Charming Pochi offers croquetas de jaiva: cakes of jumbo lump blue with a spicy rémoulade. They are served with a salad of tomato, corn and fried avocado.