Dish of the Week: She Crab Soup from Freemason Abbey in Norfolk

I’ve had so many food experiences since moving to Virginia Beach. One of my favorites has been becoming obsessed with She Crab soup. As a Maryland-native, I’m no stranger to crab soups, but there’s something special about She Crab soup. She crabs have roe that male crabs don’t. When cleaned and cooked, this row adds a flavor, that when combined with a little sherry creates the rich, bisque-like soup.

I’m always on the hunt for the best She Crab soup, which is why I bought my ticket for the East Coast She Crab Soup Classic, presented by the Culinary Institute of Virginia, on April 7. To get into the spirit of the event, I went to Freemason Abbey for a bowl of their award-winning She Crab soup.

Freemason Abbey is in the East Coast She Crab Soup Classic “Hall of Fame.” I first got a sampling of their soup at the CoVa Best Of Party. Ever since then, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I headed to downtown Norfolk for soup and nothing else.


A tiny bit of drool formed in the corner of my mouth when the soup arrived. The bowl was filled with the medium-bodied soup and sprinkle of paprika. The first spoonful brought up large lumps of crab meat. Those pieces of lump crabmeat give the soup a chowder-y feel and set a great crab soup apart from a basic one.

The soup was served with a cracker covered in everything seasoning. The cracker was perfect for dipping and swirling around the soup. Once I finished my cracker, I desperately scooped up what was left, making that irritating clinking sound as my spoon hit the bowl.