Captain John’s Crab House & Marina

Captain John’s Crab House & Marina
16215 Cobb Island Road  
Cobb Island,  MD  20625  

July 5, 2010 

For a relaxing, pleasant crab house experience, hop in the car or boat and head to Captain John’s Crab House & Marina on Cobb Island, Md.

This Charles County restaurant on the Neale Sound, off the Wicomico River, is the type of place you remember, but not for anything negative.

You remember it for great tasting crabs, friendly service and the waterfront scenery.

We went there on a long, holiday weekend (Monday, July 5), so it probably wasn’t realistic to expect large crabs that day. When we asked the waitress about how heavy the mediums were, she was honest and said they were so-so. We appreciated the candor. With her so-so answer, we ordered a dozen and a half for the two of us. Cost for a dozen medium local crabs was $35.

It concerned me that the crabs arrived at the table so quickly, but what came to the table took me by surprise. These Cobb Island mediums – topped with a house-made rock salt seasoning – would pass for large crabs in Ocean City or Northern Virginia. While the table already had a shaker of Old Bay, I couldn’t help but ask for a little more of the rock salt mixture on the side. Trust me, you’ll love it.

The restaurant had a decent late lunch crowd – clearly a mix of boaters and locals — on this extremely hot day. The parking lot was packed, and we watched as others came off their boats and onto to Captain John’s pier. There’s seating inside and outside, but that afternoon only one man braved the heat to eat outside.

What you’ll love about Captain John’s is that nobody seems rushed to get you in and out after your meal. In fact, we overheard our waitress say to another table after dropping off the check, “No hurry. Sit and relax.” That’s exactly what that table did, as well as others.

For us, it was a long, leisurely lunch, cracking crabs and watching the water through the restaurant’s huge glass windows.

On the flip side, if you want to get in and out quickly, it’s clear the staff won’t slow you down. A family who wanted to get out quickly after their meal did. After they left, the staffed quickly cleared the table, leaving no large piles or buckets of other people’s already-picked crabs sitting around.

FYI, the checks come with suggested gratuities, but these folks work hard and willingly answer your questions or find somebody who knows the answer, so keep that in mind as you’re paying.  Minor aside: I would have liked the waitress to tell me her name.

What we noticed is that the waitresses know the regulars here. They chat with them in their down time. They ask them ahead of time where they want to sit the next day. And, yes, they’ll belt out a pretty good version of “Happy Birthday,” if you’re there on your birthday.

While we didn’t sample the rest of Captain John’s menu, the food we saw at other tables looked pretty good. Across the board, Captain John’s earns a 4 on a scale of 5.

For us, it was worth the drive.

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