The Westlawn Inn
By the Gastronomes
The Westlawn Inn
With the beautiful weather upon us, we thought that we would take the 45 minute drive to the Chesapeake Bay and the town of North Beach. North Beach is a walking town with a beautiful boardwalk and beach along the Bay. The town has shopping, antique stores and just about anything else beyond the boardwalk. Dining options here range from burgers and fries to casual to fine dining. We visited the Westlawn Inn located one block from the Chesapeake Bay.
The owner of The Westlawn is Lee Travers. Like myself, Lee grew up in Prince Georges County and I can remember his band, Nobody’s Children. After a career in rock-n-roll and custom home building, he decided to get back in the hospitality business, an inspiration that came from his youth and his family business “Popey’s Tavern” in District Heights.
In 2004, Lee and his wife, Jan, opened this “casually upscale” restaurant in the beachfront town. They have been successful as the restaurant has a great reputation in Calvert County as a “place to be”. As you enter a small bar with about 15 seats stands off to the left. It is very comfortable and well stocked. Off to the right is the dining room in a casual period decor with white table cloths. It is a very warm and relaxing room. Next to the dining area is the bandstand where local groups perform and Lee even brings the old guys together about once a month for a trip down memory lane. I haven’t attended that yet, but I will.
The menu is not extensive but has something for everyone. There are six starters including spinach and artichoke dip, fried calamari, fried red tomato with spiced crabmeat, and grilled artichoke hearts. Soups and salads consist of cream of crab soup, Westlawn Salad, classic Caesar, spinach and bib salad.
The entrees get a little adventuresome in addition to the standard grilled filet mignon, Atlantic salmon, and grilled sea Scallops, they have lime stuffed Branzini, chicken saltimbocca, pan Seared tuna and grilled pork chops. The Westlawn also offers Chef Specials every evening.
We started our experience with a stop at the bar for a couple of vodka gimlets before we were seated. This bar is a local’s favorite and we like sitting in and participating in the conversations. It is fully stocked and they are in tune with some of the latest “must have” cocktails if that’s what you are interested in. We tend to stick to the classics.
After being seated, we chose a nice New Zealand sauvignon blanc to accompany our meals. The wine list isn’t overwhelming but it isn’t sparse either. There is something for every price point and pallet. I started out with the cream of crab soup since the Chesapeake Bay is just a stone’s throw away. It was very good with a hint of sherry. The crab meat was tasty although a little thin.
For my entree I ordered the pan seared tuna. The tuna was sushi grade and seared just enough to add a slight crispness to the outer edges while leaving the rest very tender and enjoyable. The tuna was served over a saute of cherry tomatoes, squash and zucchini which paired very well with the tuna. This is a favorite veggie combo of mine and it was delicious. My dining partner is a huge fan of the “other white meat” and ordered the pork tenderloin special. It was cooked perfectly and served on a bed of a savory rice composition and topped with a very tasty apple chutney.
There is also an “After Dinner” menu that highlights the desserts, specialty coffees (both with and with alcohol) and the ports and cognacs. I love creme brulee and it was on the menu. Unfortunately, I missed the notation “Flavor of the Day”. It turned out to be a very good chocolate pudding type filling with the caramelized sugar on top. It was very good but also a surprise. My fault. My partner, however, isn’t a big fan of crème brulee but does love chocolate pudding so she was fine with my error. It was a win in any case.
Our overall experience at The Westlawn Inn was very favorable…a classic restaurant in a beautiful setting run by real people. It is well worth the drive. As an aside, Travers has recently opened a long anticipated Guest Quarters next door. Even though they haven’t had a grand opening they are renting the rooms for a night or extended stay. Like the restaurant, this is a first class building with a lot of the work done by or supervised by Travers. Check with them for availability.
9200 Chesapeake Avenue
North Beach, MD
Tuesday – Thursday: 5pm – 9pm
Friday & Saturday – 5pm to 10pm
Sunday: Brunch 11am – 3pm