Atpmosphere: Pleasantly informal.
Price Range: A la carte entrees $4.95 to $22 (chateaubriand for two, with vegetables).
Credit cards: Most major credit cards accepted.
Hours: Dinner Monday through Thursday 5 to 10:30 p.m., dinner Friday and Saturday 5 to 11:30 p.m., brunch Sunday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., dinner Sunday 4 to 10 p.m.
Special facilities: Accessible to the handicapped. Booster seats and high chairs available for children.
We had driven past The Seafarer Restaurant in the Lanham Ramada Inn many times. One recent Sunday afternoon we decided to stop in and sample the food acclaimed in a yellow pages ad as some of the world's finest. We were glad we did.
I arrived with my wife and two girls, ages 2 and 5, about 10 minutes before the dining room opened. We played a video game in the hotel lobby while we waited. When the doors finally opened, my hungry foursome was among the first diners inside.
For appetizers, we selected two shrimp cocktails at $2.95 each. The cocktails, which consisted of six plump shrimp, were enough to share with the children.
Other appetizers included broiled French snails, $2.50, crabmeat cocktail, $2.95, and clam chowder and soup of the day for $1 a cup or $1.25 a bowl.
The Seafarer's menu of main course selections is extensive. For $8.95 you can have the seafood platter, which includes a broiled half lobster tail, deep fried Maryland crab cake, fried Chesapeake bay oysters, fried jumbo shrimp and a mushroom cap stuffed with crabmeat.
There are also broiled filet of red snapper almondine for $5.95 or fried oysters or jumbo shrimp for $4.95. Broiled lobster tails, the highest priced seafood item, was $10.95.
Although the Seafarer is basically a seafood restaurant, it also offers several beef entres or seafood-beef combinations. The sirloin is $9.50, filet mognon is $8.95 and chopped sirloin is on the menu for $4.95. There is chateaubriand for two, sliced and served with a bouquet of vegetables, for $22. The lobster and filet mignon combination is $10.95.
Meals for children 12 and under range from hamburger and French fries for $3.25, to fried chicken (breast, leg and thigh) for $3.50, to filet of sole, $3.50. All of the children's dinners come with a tossed salad, two scoops of ice cream or sherbet and milk or soda.
My wife ordered the seafood platter, to get a wide sampling of the seafood dishes while I decided to have the lobster and filet mignon. For the children, we ordered the fried chicken and an extra dish for them to share.
The trip to the Seafarer salad bar is a memorable experience. The vegetables are fresh and crisp. There are perky dressings, freshy baked breads, bacon bits, mushrooms, grated cheese, the works.
The atmosphere in the Seafarer dining room is pleasant. There is a flickering candle on each table and overhead lighting fixtures cast a soft glow on the restaurant's brown and avacado green decor. Dinner music is piped in through speakers in the ceiling.
Our main courses were delivered on due as soon as we finished our salad. Throughout the meal, friendly dining room help kept an eye on our table and were quick to refill water glasses and whisk away dirty dishes.
We found both the seafood and beef selections to be fresh and expertly prepared. The portions were generous and, in the cast of the children, the one dinner was more than enough.
For dessert, we had two slices of cheese cake, one with blueberry, the other with cherry topping, for $1.35 a slice. We had hot tea and coffee with our dessert. The Seafarer also offers fruit pies, peach melba, ice cream and sherbet, but none of the desserts are listed on the menu and must be specially requested.
Our total bill for two adults and two children was $37.33, plus tip. It was a little more than we usually spend on a family cuting. But we thought the excellent food and service were well worth the price and the Seafarer will definitely go on our list of restaurants for "special occasions.