If you are looking for good, hot, reasonably priced seafood (and more!), Lamberts in Glenn Dale is the place for you--and for many others, it seems. When we arrived early on a weekday evening, I was surprised that all the booths were filled along with several of the tables. By the time we were finished there was a line at the door--but by then I knew why.
The raw bar selection includes buckets of steamed clams or steamed oysters, oysters or clams on the half shell, oysters marinara, soft-shell clams, steamed mussels and sauteed mussels (each market price). The oysters on the half shell (our serving contained seven) were huge, fresh and very delicious, needing only the slightest hint of lemon and pepper. The steamed clams (our serving contained 11 big ones) were served piping hot in the bucket they were steamed in, accompanied by melted butter. They tasted fresh and wonderful.
Lamberts serves crabs (small or medium, by the dozen, at market price, which can change daily), but sometimes they aren't on the menu so you have to know to ask. Unfortunately, I didn't, but I later got a bit of advice from regulars: During crab season, be sure to ask your server if a shipment of crabs arrived that morning.
My boyfriend and I agreed that the generously sized, batter-fried soft-shell crab ($12.99) was our favorite dinner. But a word of warning: Don't be the only one at your table ordering it or you will be forced to share! Dinners include your choice of two side orders: salad, cole slaw, baked potato, potato salad, french fries or the vegetable of the day. I recommend the cole slaw and baked potato. We tried the fries seasoned with Old Bay ($2.69); they were hot and good--not as spicy as I like but the kids loved them. The fish fillet dinner ($10.99) is a good-size portion of fish, served either broiled or fried.
Those who find it hard to choose from among the various seafoods, can have a combo platter ($13.99) of shrimp, scallops, fish and crab cake. The steamed shrimp dinner (one pound of large shrimp, $14.99) was lightly spiced and, like the seasoned french fries, the kids loved them. Steamed shrimp (half pound each of medium and large, market price) are also available as an appetizer, which combined with a few raw bar selections would make a nice meal. There are several versions of crab cakes available as well--crab balls (market price), crab cake dinner ($12.99), jumbo crab cake ($12.99) or crab cake sandwich (market price). We tried the crab balls (six in an order) as an appetizer. They were very good, with hunks of crab, but as my boyfriend pointed out they weren't without some breading.
The non-seafood selection is plentiful at Lamberts as well. The New York strip steak dinner (12 ounces for $11.99) or chicken parmigiana ($9.99) are both hearty servings and great deals. Another main course option is a surf and turf combo--New York strip (8 ounces) and six large fried shrimp for $12.99. Other menu choices include sandwiches, salads, a lighter side menu and a kids menu.
Be sure to arrive early with a hearty appetite and don't forget to ask about those crabs!
Lamberts Restaurant & Carry-Out, 10825 Lanham-Severn Rd., Glenn Dale, Md.; call 301-262-2206. Monday-Thursday, 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 6:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; closed Sundays.
CAPTION: Dan Hunter, left, and Steve Lambert show off the ingredients for the combination platter at Lamberts Restaurant.