Kibby’s still the king of shrimp salad; Taylor’s 5000 shut down
On our annual quest to find the coldest beer in Baltimore, we went down to Curtis Bay in hopes of a soft shell crab sandwich and some cold beer at Taylor’s 5000, but discovered that “this establishment is ordered closed/ no sales by the board of liquors license commissions.” Disappointed, starving, and thirsty, we stumbled into Kibby’s (3450 Wilkens Ave,  644-8716, kibbysrestaurant.net). It was mid-afternoon and the bar was already filling up with regulars, each of whom had an iced bucket of beers on the bar.
Our coldest beer rules require draft, and we had to get back to work, so we didn’t partake of the buckets–even after we got stuck inside for a round of coffee (brought out in carafes covered with foil) due to a sudden hail storm (“That’s why they call it Halethorpe,” my drinking buddy quipped). But the draft Buds were cold (See Sizzlin’ Summer next week to find out how cold) and the food was delicious.
Kibby’s has been around since 1934 and they have always been famous for their shrimp salad (it won “Best Shrimp Salad” in 2006 and “Best Jumbo Jumbo Shrimp Salad” in 2007, all but retiring the category). Today’s heaping mass of juicy shellfish covered with just the right amount of mayonnaise (a little) and Old Bay (a lot) did not disappoint. It cost $11, but we were able to bring four or five of the giant shrimp home with us. “We sell so much of this stuff,” the bartender Melinda said. “We have a woman back there who does nothing but peel shrimp for eight hours a day.”
Melinda told us that the first soft shell crabs had just arrived, so we ordered a sauteed soft shell crab sandwich ($11.50). Though they are famous for the shrimp, this sandwich ruled. After eating one of the pan-fried crustaceans, I don’t know if I could ever go deep fried again.
We also got a “supreme burger” ($8.25) and it, too, was top quality–hand-made patties, not some frozen hockey puck. They forgot the bacon but brought it out, asking first if we like it crispy. To which our full-mouthed answer was “Uh-huh,” and a vigorous nod.
By the time the storm let up, and we left Kibby’s, we felt like part of the family. The regulars all said goodbye, and we knew we would be back soon.
(Photo: Nicole King)