For more than a quarter of a century, the Chesapeake Seafood House has been the premier seafood restaurant in the Springfield area.
Perched on five acres, the stately 15-room Lincoln-era mansion on Clear Lake Avenue, the restaurant is the "go-to" place for lobster, crab, shrimp and catfish in all manner of preparations.
Owners Dan Whitmore, Dennis Joslin and Linda Meiseman maintain the restaurant's high reputation by staying on top of what comes in to be served, Whitmore said.
The seafood is checked at least three times before it is served, he said.
"We keep on top of everything that comes in the door, and we've dealt with the same company for 30 years. Its family owned, and they know we expect the best," he added.
Diners have their choice of numerous seafood platter options, either breaded or broiled. Two of the most popular platters are the Southern Air, which has catfish, jumbo shrimp, clams and onion rings, or the Millionaires Platter with cold water lobster, shrimp scampi and orange roughy. Another best seller is the filet and lobster combination.
"Springfield likes their ribeyes and lobster," Whitmore said with a grin. The price of lobster is predicated on success of the catch as well as the economy, and there are times when the restaurant re-works the menu to actually show a drop in price, he said.
"The lobster comes from Maine or Australia. Cold-water lobster is what you want. The flesh is firmer, whiter and sweeter," Whitmore said. And surprisingly, he said, fried lobster is popular because if it's done right, the breading locks in the flavor.
Staying on top of what's going to be popular requires constant research, Whitmore said. "We try to change up the menu every six months. A recent addition was raspberry salmon and stuffed shrimp. The salmon is marinated and then served with a glaze. It's a nice combination and very popular."
Another popular item is lobster and shrimp ravioli. Ravioli stuffed with lobster, shrimp and scallops is topped with shrimp scampi and alfredo sauce.
Whitmore said seafood is a popular restaurant item because it can be tricky to cook at home. "People tend to overcook it or cook it too fast."
It's also a nice item to order if you are celebrating. "Shrimp cocktail and a nice surf and turf are popular for that," he said. "We're a good anniversary/birthday celebration restaurant," Whitmore said. "About 50 percent of our business is repeat business."
In addition to the wonderful steak and seafood, diners are invited to soak up the Old-World ambience and spend a little time under the gigantic cucumber magnolia tree.
Chesapeake Seafood House
3045 E. Clear Lake Ave.
Hours: Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Monday through Saturday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Story published Friday, March 6, 2009 ( Volume 4, Number 2 )