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Ruth's Chris Steak House
11582 El Camino Real, Del Mar
(858) 755-1454

The way to judge a good crab cake is to break it with your fork and see whether 95 percent of it is crab and not bread or other fillers. At Ruth's Chris Steak House in Del Mar, they use colossal lump crab meat at $19 a pound, mixed with back fin crab meat at $12 a pound. Two crab cakes constitute a portion, but each cake is three ounces, so one cake is plenty for one person. Only a half teaspoon of cracker meal is added, plus a dollop of mayonnaise. Once the cakes are formed, they are baked rather than deep-fried. The result is a nongreasy fat-free cake. Two cakes cost $16.95, which is a lot for a couple of crab cakes, but if you're capable of eating both of them, they constitute a meal.

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