The hardshells at Frank's are still coming from warmer Carolina, but I bought a pound of Maryland backfin last week and made wonderful crabcakes and weird sushi. I also got a half pound of scallops -- the kind where no one has injected salt water to inflate the price and ruin the flavor.
Frank's isn't cheap. I paid $20 for the crab and $9 for the scallops. But I got real answers when I asked where they were getting everything and what they thought of the difference. The Frank's clerk described each crab option -- Venezuelan crab had good texture but little flavor, Carolina was good, and the Maryland was the sweetest of all. Such a contrast to earlier last week when I stood at a supermarket counter and watched a really nice teenaged clerk unable to say anything except what was written on the label. The guy in front of me couldn't get an answer to anything. I walked away with no fish.
(Update: Since this post, I have gone back to Frank's for shrimp, oysters and whole fish. The oysters are a terrific treat, especially once I learned that I could grill them for a few minutes so that they would pop open. The shrimp were firm and sweet, and they're wild, which has become my requirement after learning too much about how they farm shrimp in southeast Asia.)
Frank's is right down the road from Mom's Organic Market, which makes it a great pairing to get vegetables and bread and then stop for fish. If you head south from Rt 175, then consider rolling down Snowden River too. For the crab cake dinner, I grabbed a takeout loaf of ciabatta at Bon Fresco Sandwich Bakery.
By driving to Jessup, you enter the wonderland around Rte 175 and U.S. 1. The finds near that intersection include great empanadas at El Patio, a Chinese buffet at Fortune Star, and several taco options including the R&R Deli and Pupuseria Lorenita's. Check out the entire post about the wonders along U.S. 1.
7901 Oceano Ave # B
Jessup, MD 20794
NEAR: This is in the wholesale seafood market in Jessup. You take Rte 175 east from I-95. You turn right on Oceano Avenue after passing the prison. You turn left into the market. You need to show a driver's license, but Frank's is open to the public. The market charges truck drivers to deliver or pick up, but it's free to the public after 10 am.