Who says you have to go to Maryland to get great crab cakes? All you have to do is go to the mountains of North Carolina!
I have eaten crab cakes at River Rock Grille in Sparta on three different occasions now and each time they were exceptionally good. Our waitress said the lump crab meat recipe comes the Chesapeake Bay area which makes sense. These cakes are fresh and void of all of the filler who get in other restaurants. River Rock Grille is located just off the main drag in Sparta next to the Subway Restaurant. River Rock doubles as a bowling alley. I’ll spare you any clichés. Give River Rock a try the next time you’re in the mountains. They also have a nice wine and beer list and some wonderful sandwiches.
Sparta is in Alleghany County. It's about a three hour and fifteen minute drive from Raleigh. Take I-40 to Winston-Salem, then US 421 north past Yadkinville and proceed north on I-77 for a few miles until you exit left onto US 21 at Elkin. Sparta is on up the mountain a ways past Stone Mountain State Park, Roaring Gap and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Two questions for you: Where do you go to get great crab cakes? And give us an example of finding a great dish in an usual place.