The Maryland blue crab, just heading into peak season, may be at the top of the list.
Tuesday through Sunday, The Hideaway does what good eight-table neighborhood restaurants should do: 15-20 wines by the glass and a menu built around local specials. On summer Mondays, however, the restaurant stretches the definition of local and flies in bushels of Maryland blue crabs fresh from the Chesapeake Bay (much preferred to the famed East River crabs).
What follows is a dining experience, a ritual feast, unique to the consumption of the blue crab and the blue crab alone. You get a mallet (for cracking claws), a tin of Old Bay (the only acceptable seasoning—make sure to put it on your fries, too) and a ramekin of vinegar. The crabs are steamed, seasoned and piled high on butcher paper on your table. Just hard enough to require a little handiwork, but not so hard that you can't crack the shell on your own (a la the stone crab), you'll get some satisfaction from the culinary manual labor. But the real prize is the meat—lump white, juicy and seasoned by contact with your Old Bay covered hands.
Fries and corn on the cob play nicely as sides, but they are unnecessary. Ice cold beer, however is a requirement.
And rules are rules...