Summertime Sensation
Crab cakes take center stage as star of the Jarrettown Hotel’s new spring/summer menu
by Leigh Stuart

Nothing says “summer” like Maryland-style crab cakes. In the Greater Philadelphia Area, the Jarrettown Hotel Italian Restaurant and Bar (1425 Limekiln Pike, Dresher, is a notable standout for these crustacean-laden delicacies.

The Jarrettown Hotel’s kitchen is under the leadership of chef Scott Crabill, a 30-year industry veteran who has worked in a variety of restaurants, serving cuisines influenced by Asian, Italian and fusion flavors. Crabill’s style reflects a use of contrasting flavors, consistencies and textures, with an emphasis on creating the perfect sauces to complement his dishes.

“I strive to use the best, the freshest ingredients,” Crabill says, adding that after that he just “lets it happen.”

The crab cakes are one of the most exciting dishes on the Jarrettown Hotel’s menu, Crabill suggests, because they feature almost 100 percent jumbo lump crab meat, as opposed to the “filler”-packed crab cakes found in many other restaurants. He says customers “love” the dish, noting that the restaurant sells as many as 40 orders of crab cakes each week.

The crab cakes themselves are comprised of “99 percent” jumbo lump crab meat “with a little lump to hold it together,” Crabill jokes. The cakes are bound with mayonnaise, the chef’s own special spice blend, and a touch of panko breading. Once assembled, the cakes are seared in hot clarified butter and finished in the oven. The crab cakes are then topped in a rich and savory Key lime beurre blanc. This French white butter sauce features a mix of white wine, juice from limes brought in directly from the Florida Keys, white vinegar and a touch of heavy cream—and “lots of butter at the end,” Crabill notes.

The recipe, Crabill says, was handed down to him from a friend who owned a restaurant in Maryland.

He adds that the crab cakes’ current incarnation—featuring the Key lime sauce—has been on the menu for approximately two years.

The restaurant introduced this year’s spring/summer menu in early May, according to Bill Cetintas, general manager of the Jarrettown Hotel. While the crab cake recipe has been around for some time, the cakes are now available with a salad, as an appetizer or as an entrée. In other words, guests can enjoy their favorite crab cakes in a bevy of ways, whether it’s for “a leisure dinner or a quick bite to eat,” Cetintas says.

Photograph by Jody Robinson