The Maryland crab soup ($2.25 a cup) at the Poncabird Pub in industrial Southeast Baltimore is old-school. Big, thick chunks of potato and onion and beef and vegetables served piping hot with a split half crab floating in the broth--first you eat the soup, then you pick the crab. Simple, honest, and fulfilling, just like the Poncabird.
Located down near the corner of Ponca Street and Holabird Avenue, right across from the General Motors plant, this unassuming saloon has served many a homemade, 10-ounce, hand-patted burger ($4.95, $5.50 with cheese) to guys just off their shifts on the assembly line. My dining companion went with a cheeseburger, and we watched as the grill cook slapped it into shape and fried it on the grill behind the bar. I ordered the 8-ounce steak sandwich with Swiss ($6.50). It was a surprisingly tender, flavorful slab of steak, served plain on a bun with a bottle of A.1. on the side.
The only disappointment we had with the place was that it doesn't serve fries--it's always a little weird to order pub grub and not get fries on the side. But when we left an hour and a half later, after having feasted on crab soup, Yuengling, and 18 ounces of meat, we were glad that the smell of fry-o-lator grease wasn't following us home.