Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sundays.
Atmosphere: Comfortable, fisherman's haven.
Price Range: Seafood entrees from $6.25 for swordfish steak to $14.25 for a surf-and-turf dinner. Sandwiches, children's platters and fish and chicken entrees from $2.50 to $9.50.
Reservations: Not necessary
Credit cards: Master Charge and Visa.
Special Facilities: One small step up to enter. Booster and high chairs available. Parking lot.
Seafood restaurants fall into several extremes in this area. There are the very expensive ones with large menus and fancy sauces, the old-fashioned types with a fish counter and some tables, and the newer, noisier, family-style places.
Capt'n. Bob's takes the best from all three. Located at an intersection where people are more likely to pass by quickly than to notice it, it is a long restaurant offering a variety of dishes, some raw bar items and concerned service.
It is an old-time fish house where butter pats accompany warm rolls, placemats are paper and decorations are nautical. It is a place where a child is happy, but adults are not bothered by children running all over in search of an aquarium.
One wall is covered by a sea mural complete with lighthouse, but the children are more pleased with individual artifacts. There is rope netting in one corner and an elaborate pulley system that is large enough to begin many a fish tale.
There are many landlubber items on the menu, and this is especially helpful to families with young children who may not yet have discovered the virtues of fish, or may be going through their "Yuck, eat a fish?" phase.
A long sandwich menu is detailed, as is a special children's menu. And anyone 65 or older may order one of the children's platters.
There are a large number of broiled fish entrees. Too often restaurants think all fish must be fried to please patrons, but many varieties do not survive frying, or overfrying, and are tastier when merely broiled.
There are also "Norfolk" selections. These are bite-sized pieces of fish -- most commonly shrimp, crab or lobster -- lightly seasoned, sauteed in butter and served in heated individual casseroles.
Capt'n. Bob's makes no fancy sauces and shows no attempt to create new dishes. It is a restaurant of straightforward cooking with plain selections.
There are several fish soups available: crab, clam chowder and oyster stew. The bowl of crab soup ($1.25) is brimming with vegetables but it has been despiced; its consistency is too watery, not that of a true crab soup.
When the soup is served, hot popovers and the cold entree vegetables are presented. There is nothing fancy about the rolls, but they do wonders for a pat of butter.
Serving the cole slaw and apple sauce at this time is especially helpful for young children who might otherwise eat three dinner rolls and foreget that an entree is yet to arrive. The cole slaw is fresh and creamy, with a faintly sweet taste.
Most seafood restaurants use quality meats for their landlubber entrees. This is basically due to economics -- so little is used that better cuts are affordable. Such was not the case, however, with our one meat selection: a hot roast beef sandwich ($3.25).
The beef and gravy tasted packaged and institutionalized. The meat itself was fatty and gristly. Hamburgers and chicken are available, and should be considered.
The sandwich did accomplish something, though. It turned a hungry child into a seafood taster. After much cajoling, he tried the crabmeat Norfolk and reluctantly admitted it was good. It's nice to have a crab convert just before the season starts!
The crabmeat Norfolk ($8.25) does receive high marks. It was a large portion of lump and backfin crabmeat that had been carefully inspected for remaining bits of cartilage and was faintly seasoned.
Large portions were served of all entrees. The fried shrimp dinner ($7.50) was medium-large shrimp lightly batter-dipped and then quickly deep-fried.
Swordfish steak was the other entree. This fish virtually disappeared from menus years ago when it was embroiled in a mercury controversy. Its status has since been reviewed, and it is back again, to the pleasure of its fans.
The swordfish steak was a thick piece, properly broiled and plainly served. It is a fine choice and does not require special attention, and was a good buy at $6.25.
The potato department needs some rethinking at Capt'n. Bob's. Fish dishes go well with fries, a baked potato, or a side order of oinion rings. The fries and onion rings are the frozen variety that are almost tasteless. The baked potato had been properly cooked, but it was not hot enough to melt butter.
In keeping with a plain menu, the selections for dessert are pies, cakes and ice creams. We found we needed nothing further to complete our meal and left, satisfied with our fish taste.
If you are looking for a straightforward restaurant that knows how to prepare fish and is concerned about prices, quality and quantity, you can relax and enjoy yourself at Capt'n. Bob's. It is a slice of old, unhurried Rockville that should be preserved.