- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 25, 2002

The Lighthouse Inn prides itself on catering to the area's seafood and steak connoisseurs.
The waterfront restaurant in Solomons, Md., offers fresh seafood daily, hand-cut steaks and, as we can attest, great service.
Owners Richard and Susan Fischer's spacious restaurant has glass sides and three levels of dining with beautiful views of the Patuxent River or Solomons' busy harbor. "We get our share of locals, but the majority of our customer base comes from the Washington and Annapolis areas," Mrs. Fischer says.
Reservations are recommended for inside dining. We began this summerlike evening with the Solomons sampler ($7.95) of clams casino, stuffed mushrooms and Danish shrimp. The clams were baked with a casino mix and topped with Parmesan cheese. The mushrooms were filled with chopped vegetables, bacon and herbs and topped with a mild Cheddar cheese. The shrimp were stuffed with blue and cream cheeses and rolled in herbs. All were quite tasty.
The cream of crab soup was a unique version, with much more flavor than the standard Chesapeake Bay fare. The chef probably uses chicken broth to give the soup its rich flavor, ruddy color and smooth texture.
Other interesting starters included a portobello stack, a balsamic-glazed mushroom broiled and stacked with tomatoes, red onion and smoked fontina cheese. Escargot were sauteed with shallots and garlic in white wine, butter and demiglaze sauce, then served on toast points.
Let's not forget the wine connoisseurs. The inn has an excellent array of bottles from which to chose and all are moderately priced (for a restaurant).
For the main event, we tried one of the specials, which featured wasabi mashed potatoes paired with ahi tuna ($22.95). The tuna was nicely rare, though barely warm. The potatoes had a much stronger horseradish flavor than most wasabi preparations we have tried. The base was supposed to be portobello mushroom, but the substitution of mixed mushrooms when the kitchen ran out of portobellos was just as nice. The Asian salad garnish was fresh and crisp and was a great contrast to the creamy potatoes and mild tuna. The sauce was rich and intense, and just the right amount was served so the tuna would not be overwhelmed. Another tempting special of the evening was a smoked duck leg.
From the menu, we ordered the combination of filet mignon and crab ($24.95). A perfectly grilled filet was served along with a large crab cake. The filet was mouthwatering, as was the crab cake very little binding holding together a generous portion of crabmeat.
The most popular entree on this crowded Saturday night was the mariner's platter: a heaping serving of shrimp, scallops, crab cake and a large piece of whitefish. It is available fried or broiled.
Three fresh catches are available on most days. This evening, they were mahi-mahi, swordfish and tuna cooked to your liking (baked, broiled, fried, pan-seared, spicy Cajun style or stuffed with crab imperial).
Other notables include the surf and turf, a tenderloin served with a broiled Caribbean lobster tail; scallops champignon baked with mushrooms, bacon and herbs, laced with marsala wine and topped with white Cheddar cheese; and a 7-ounce lobster tail broiled in sweet butter and lightly seasoned.
For veal lovers, there's veal piccata sauteed with white wine and capers. Every entree, including the chef's daily specials, is served with a vegetable of the day, bread and a choice of potato, rice or coleslaw.
The Lighthouse Inn offers a large dessert menu, too. Baby cheesecake is a small round, on this evening topped with a caramel sauce and bananas. A chocolate mousse cake is smooth and flavorful.
From May through September, the inn's Quarterdeck provides outside dining with a view of the harbor. The kitchen offers a lighter menu for its outdoor guests.
One unique feature of the restaurant is the one-third-scale skipjack bar. The skipjack was built by local craftsman and carver "Pepper" Langley.
Mr. Langley, born in 1915, was raised in Solomons. He spent most of his life building and working on boats from Annapolis to Solomons. Because his model skills were self-taught and are representative of a craft that is widely going out of existence, Mr. Langley has attempted to pass them along through classes at the Calvert Marine Museum, located down the street from the inn. Visitors there can see many examples of his craft and others on exhibit.

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