1655 Oxon Hill Road
Oxon Hill, Md. 20745-3124
August 9, 2009
For years I’ve seen Cameron’s ads in food section of “The Washington Post,” but I’ve never tried any of their nine Maryland/D.C. locations. (They have a tenth location in Philadelphia.) The ad offered No.1 males for $18/dozen and No. 2 males for $8/dozen. No.1s are supposed to be the largest, meatiest crabs available. Common sense tells me that the No. 1s probably going to be the small, just based on the price. I’m OK with that. In my mind I’m thinking, “Small, meaty crabs will be good. Anything more and I’ll be impressed.”
Cameron’s offers a nice first impression as a clean carry-out with a fresh and frozen fish counter and individual meals. The crab cakes looked spectacular. On the Sunday afternoon that we visited, folks in their Sunday finest streamed in, placing their orders for meals. No crabs, just meals.
I expected to be hanging out for 15 or 20 minutes, waiting for the two dozen I ordered with my coupon. The wait – less that 5 minutes – should have tipped me off to something wrong. When the guy behind the counter asked me whether I wanted seasoning on the crabs, I, of course, said yes. Cameron’s sells its own seasoning, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to have a little extra on top.
On the drive home I dipped my finger into the crab bag not once but twice to taste the seasoning. Clearly I could taste the seasoning’s paprika. The prospect of some tasty crabs started to get me excited.
That excitement came to a near standstill when we dumped out the crabs on the dining room table. Water – lots of water – poured from the bag. I tried to convince myself that it was extra steam – from the bag. I knew better. As I opened the first crab, water poured from its insides. The same with the next — and the next — and the next. I kept thinking, “Maybe the next one will be better.” That’s right. I had just wasted $36 on two dozen (really 29) mushy, tasteless crabs. Good thing I had the guy scoop extra seasoning all over them.
With pruned fingers I opened the last nine and decided the other way I could salvage this nasty crab moment would be turned what’s left into soup. Afterall, the seasoning was pretty good. Combined with some veggies in hot water, this will probably be the best thing that can happen to these crabs.
So what are the positives that came out of this experience? 1. I didn’t pay full price — $22/dozen. 2. I didn’t opt for three dozen, like I originally debated. On a scale of five, Cameron’s gets a two. One thing I know for sure – I won’t be going back.