Return to Charleston: Crab Cakes and the “Holy City”

Crab cake over coleslaw topped with a fried green tomato and poached egg

Well, I’m headed back to Charleston, SC again. A few trips ago, I noticed at the bottom of my receipt from 39 Rue de Jean a statement that went somewhat like, “Experience the hospitality of the Holy City”. I asked someone once why Charleston calls itself the “Holy City” . My friend ushered me to a window , which had a pretty good view of the city. “How many church towers do you see?” he asked. Yup, there’s a lot of them. Over 400 I’ve been told. So now you know why Charleston is called the “Holy City”

Of all the places the DoD could send me, I’m sure glad it’s this place. Not only is it a charming city, the food is FANTASTIC! Whether you’re looking for a burger and beer joint to watch the game, fresh fusion style sushi, slow cooked southern BBQ, or Low Country cuisine served on fine china (or paper plates, even), Charleston has it! Man, I can’t wait!

As you may remember, my favorite “Holy City” restaurant that I always hit at least once while there is Toast. I have to have my Eggs Meeting Street! One of the key ingredients is a crab cake. Now, you’re probably thinking what’s a NoVA chic talking about Charleston crab cakes when Baltimore is just up the road, right? Well, the Blue Crab’s native habitat isn’t faring so well, which means those poor crabs aren’t either! In the Carolinas, on the other hand, crabs “are like parasites” to quote one of my vendors. They’re not blue crabs, but they’re still tasty…and there’s a lot of them to go around.

Crab Cake Ruthie’s Way

makes 6-8 crab cakes


  • 1 lb crab meat; I used backfin
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs.
  • 6 oz container of plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil for frying


  1. Empty crab meat into a bowl and gently pick out any remaining shell
  2. Beat egg in a small bowl and add to crab meat
  3. Add Greek yogurt, mustard, Old Bay, cilantro, and Worcestershire to crab and gently fold ingredients together until well blended
  4. Add panko bread crumbs to bowl and gently fold into crab mixture until all ingredients are weld blended
  5. With clean hands, shape handfuls of crab mixture into patties and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Set aside
  6. Pour oil into a frying pan and heat over high
  7. When oil is really hot, reduce heat slightly to medium high
  8. Gently place 3-4 crab cakes in the pan and fry on each side until gold brown
  9. Place finished crab cakes on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil before serving.

Crab cake sandwiched between two fried green tomatoes for dinner

Bonus Recipe: “Eggs Meeting Street” from Toast!

Serves 1

Picture by Micheal Stern posted on

  • 1 Crab Cake
  • 1 Fried Green Tomato
  • 1 Poached Egg
  • Optional : hollandaise or remoulade sauce
  1. Place a Fried Green Tomato on a plate.
  2. Lay Crab Cake on top of Fried Green Tomato
  3. Top with the Poached Egg
  4. If using one of the sauces, pour hollandaise or roumalade sauce over top
  5. Serve with hashbrowns or home fries and a mimosa or bloody mary.

3 responses to “Return to Charleston: Crab Cakes and the “Holy City”

  1. Crab cakes are one of my favorites. Using the yogurt lightens the recipe. Nice idea.

  2. I’m not a huge crab cake person but you know, I may start. I love this recipe and how delicious the crab cakes look

    • Thank-you, Kay! They’re super easy to make. Unfortunately, also easy to mess up when it comes to restaurants. Cutting corners like using more filler than crab or not taking the time to pick out the shells can totally destroy the experience.

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