"M*A*S*H" fans may remember the episode in which Hawkeye has a hankering for ribs from Chicago--"hog butcher to the world, maker of the pigsicle," as the dialogue goes. He and Trapper John come up with a place--Adam's Ribs--and get them to send a box of ribs disguised as important medical supplies.

Well, while that Chicago purveyor of barbecue was fictitious, Adam's The Place for Ribs in Prince Frederick is thankfully quite real. This family-owned and operated business opened in January of 1994, when Jamie Padilla took over a restaurant called Trapper's Trading Post. (Starting to see some parallels here?)

Trapper left Padilla with a rustic log decor--it's a log cabin with interior log walls, log beams, log hostess stand. The place is divided into three rooms with smokers put in the back room. There's a small friendly bar in the center of the restaurant, and one of the dining rooms has a stone fireplace.

The place is really a local hangout, and Padilla takes pride in knowing his customers. About half the diners are regulars--mostly families. It's a comfortable meeting place for several organizations, including monthly Rotary Club meetings.

Adam's is an affordable dining out spot for young families. Prices are a little lower than for comparable meals at other places we've visited. During Hurricane Floyd, Adam's was humming because it was one of the few places that had power--and because SMECO has a house account with Adam's. Line crews can sign for their meals during emergency situations. "We keep it open after hours if we know they're coming," Padilla said.

We chose Adam's because Mom was visiting for Labor Day weekend and regards herself as somewhat of an expert when it comes to ribs. Her most recent favorites are Tom's in Boca Raton and Carson's in Chicago (although she, too, tried to find Hawkeye's Adam's Ribs near the Dearborn Street station).

We started with a tangy cup of chili with beans ($2.25). We ordered the ribs ($9.95 for half rack, $13.95 for full) as one of our entrees and found them to be fall-apart tender and very tasty, with a nice sauce. We also ordered the barbecued shrimp and chicken ($11.95), as well as sauteed garlic shrimp over linguine. The shrimp and chicken entree was served with fresh green beans that had come from the Calvert County Farmer's Market, where Padilla gets most of his produce during the summer.

Padilla told us he also offers fresh local seafood because it's available. That makes this a slightly different ribs place. Yes, their mainstay is ribs (and barbecue and chicken), but the local seafood specials generate some fans, too. Main dishes come with fries and coleslaw that is crispy fresh and on the light side--no heavy mayo. The menu also includes several cuts of steak, as well as burgers and sandwiches.

Dessert choices the day of our visit were fresh blueberry pie, cheesecake and peanut butter pie. Too bad we were stuffed and didn't have room to try any.

Adam's advertises itself as "the place for ribs." Mom (and probably Hawkeye) would agree.

Adam's The Place for Ribs

Address: 2200 Solomons Island Rd., Prince Frederick. 410-586-0001.

Also located in Edgewater at 169 Mayo Rd. 410-956-2995.

Hours: Open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Reservations taken for parties of 10 or more.

Prices: Soup and sandwiches, $4 to $10; entrees, $7 to $18; children's menu items, $3.50 to $6.

Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard and American Express accepted.

Best-kept secret: Author Tom Clancy can sometimes be spotted as a guest; he usually sticks with the ribs.

Want to spread the word about another Southern Maryland restaurant? Send e-mail to yoodm@washpost.com or mail to: The Washington Post, Restaurant Reviews, 100 N. Oak Ave., La Plata, Md. 20646.