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Baltimore Blue ‘Burger’

A Baltimore 'Burger'
J.C. Holmes

Yes it’s true, we burger enthusiasts tend to think of a burger as some type of delicious red meat formed into a patty and crowned with our favorite cheeses, veggies, condiments, and other tasty toppings. But, a burger in the 21st century may not be your grandfather’s drive-in delectable with cheese beside fries and a malted. Then again, it could be, but it probably isn’t. Without even discussing the topping and bread options, we now have turkey burgers, salmon burgers, and veggie burgers to name but a few. So let’s call yet another thing that’s not really a cheeseburger a burger for now. Why you ask? Well, this Baltimore burger examiner wants to write about it.

If you’re curious as to what I am referring: good. If you bleed orange, purple, and black, you probably know where I’m going with this. That’s right hon, I’m talking about the crab cake. But not just any crab cake. It's a Baltimore crab cake. THE crab cake. In my travels across this great nation, I’ve encountered many different varieties of my most beloved food (don’t tell the cheeseburgers). But, it didn’t take long before I realized that unless I’m near my bay, I need to pick something else from the menu; in some cases, anything else. Don’t get me wrong, there are some outstanding crab cakes in other regions of the country, and naturally, in other regions of the world for that matter as well. But, for my money, there’s nothing like the cakes in Bmore made with fresh Maryland blue crab.

Many proud Baltimoreans have their own favorite spot which they claim is the best: I won’t argue. In fact, I’ve tried many of them. There are so many choices that sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. However, for me, in the rare instance when I have both the time and the money to go for a crab cake these days, I’m likely to be found at Koco’s Pub in the Lauraville neighborhood of Baltimore City.

Koco’s is my kind of place. It’s not fancy, but it has a relaxed atmosphere with brightly colored décor reminiscent of the South Florida and Caribbean beaches to which I inevitably long to return by the time November hits. But let’s be honest. It’s about the food, especially the cakes. Tipping the scales at 11 ounces, these crab cakes are for those of us with a hearty appetite. Or, for those who want a great lunch tomorrow. All lump, with only a bit of Old Bay, mayo and light seasoning, Koco’s specialty is broiled just right so as to ascertain a slight nuance in texture from the outside to the soft, succulent interior imparting the ideal balance of salty and sweet which should be found in crustacean cuisine. Paired with fries, slaw, lettuce and a slice of tomato, a meal just doesn’t get much better, or much more Baltimore.

While there are most certainly many incredible burgers of the red meat (and otherwise) variety in Charm City, I can’t think of a better way to ‘roll’ Bmore style, than by catching this Baltimore ‘burger.’

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