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Food Fight: Washington Avenue Crab Cakes

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June marks the start of blue crab season in Texas. While Houston has a plethora of restaurants serving up this tasty little crustacean, I decided to delve into just one of its many forms - the crab cake. And to narrow it down further, I focused my battle on Houston's own party corridor - Washington Avenue. It's summer, after all, and people are flocking to Washington for its young atmosphere full of trendy bars, clubs, and restaurants.

Two of my favorite Washington restaurants are the subject of today's battle - Soma Sushi and Benjy's. Let's begin.

Soma Sushi - Crab Cakes 4.0

Served atop a jalapeño emulsion made with lemon juice and pine-smoked olive oil, these jumbo lump crab cakes are perfectly crisped on the outside and decadently creamy on the inside. Garnished with Wood Duck Farms pea shoots and accompanied by some richly flavorful remoulade sauce, these cakes were hearty, savory, and beautifully presented. My only complaint? The price. $19 bucks for two fist-size patties. My fist size, mind you. Not Vin Diesel's.

Benjy's on Washington - Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

These cakes were not quite as creamy or hearty as Soma's, but the breading was done just right, and I enjoyed the pickled shallots and arugula that garnished the top. It added a nice peppery, but sweet, taste to the crab, which itself had a citrusy flavor that made for a perfect summer appetizer. However, the tomatillo sauce these three two-inch patties rested on was a little bland. The price was friendlier than Soma's though, at $13.

The Winner:

Soma. Both crab cakes had a similar texture, but Soma's had better flavor overall. That jalapeño emulsion played a big part.


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