A Family Tradition
is what you say in Greek if you mean "the best." The Lewnes crew
is proud to offer "ektakta" food, prepared with great care and
The designation "steakhouse" has been earned by Lewnes', the first
Annapolis restaurant to feature U.S. Prime steaks. Did you know
that only two percent of American beef is high quality enough
to carry the designation "U.S. Prime"? Chef Lester Snowden explained
that such fine beef demands equipment like their broilers that
operate at temperatures up to 1,800 degrees F., ensuring browning
on the outside while encasing the flavorful juices.
The Lewnes restaurant history in Annapolis goes back to 1906 when
a 14-year-old Greek immigrant named Sam arrived in New York City.
He purchased a pushcart and began a career in food that eventually
led him to Eastport in Annapolis. He married a local beauty named
Cecilia Mandris and soon joined relatives with whom he opened
eateries on Main and West streets, and eventually at Sam's Corner
in the present Lewnes' location at Fourth Street and Severn Avenue.
The children carried on the tradition at the Bridgeview on Sixth
Street and Severn Avenue. Bridgeview became the Yardarm and finally
Spiro's before being sold. Charlie Lewnes opened Sam's Corner
in 1989 and named it in honor of his grandfather, the traveler/restaurateur
from Greece, Sam Lewnes. The "steakhouse" name came with an upgrade
of the site.
Although we had reservations, they were for 9:30 p.m. Nevertheless,
our waiter Adam was attentive and service was excellent. The menu
varies but always features the much-touted steak offerings including
New York strip sirloin, filet mignon, porterhouse, prime rib and
My ally in food selected the petite filet mignon and will attest
that no knife was required; the perfectly broiled steak cut nicely
with a fork. It was presented sitting singly under an ethereal
"monter au buerre," a French and universally accepted chef's expression
for an appropriate amount of real butter. You can request no butter
or more butter, but as the irreverent Anthony Bourdain of Les
Halles in New York City notes in his recent New York Times
bestseller---listed Kitchen Confidential, "In a professional
kitchen, butter is almost always the first and last thing in the
Seeking seafood, I selected the Garides Scortholemono, large shrimp
prepared Aegean-style in a special olive oil, lemon and garlic
sauce. Glistening with a dusting of paprika, the six butterflied
shrimp were expertly sautéed with succulent results. Other entrees
included lamb chops, veal chops, grilled double breast of chicken,
jumbo Maine lobster, jumbo lump crab cakes, pan-seared yellowfin
tuna steak and broiled Atlantic salmon filet.
Assured that the jumbo lump crab balls contained the same ingredients
as the jumbo lump crab cakes, we selected them for our shared
appetizer. They were six good-sized golden broiled spheres consisting
of fresh backfin crabmeat bound together with the lightest touch
---a binder that remains a mystery. Other appetizers were oysters
on the half shell, jumbo lump crabmeat cocktail, clams casino,
shrimp cocktail and black bean soup-all favorites with the dining
A fresh-made round onion loaf was crispy on the outside and puffy
on the inside; served with a special salty butter, it was memorable.
We chose the Spiro's famous Greek salad over the house salad tomatoes
and onions. (When we said that we were sharing dishes, the selection
always appeared on two separate plates at no extra charge.) On
chilled plates, the salad was a mélange of crisp head lettuce,
red onions, cherry tomatoes, sweet pepper and cubed potatoes-all
enveloped in a light and piquant oil and vinegar dressing.
Our sides were hash brown potatoes, redolent with onion and spices
and the sautéed spinach a la George, definitely notable with luminous
large spinach leaves, sweet onion, oil and tart vinegar that made
a surprisingly strong Aegean statement.
We selected a chardonnay from the coastal region of South Africa,
the Glen Carlou, rounded and complementary to both beef and seafood.
Another good selection might have been a cabernet sauvignon, the
Murphy Goode from Sonoma.
Dessert? Although defeated by the generous portions, we looked
longingly at the house specialties-the double fudge chocolate
brownie with vanilla ice cream and sprinkles or maybe the shortcake
topped with crushed strawberries. Maybe next time.
Manager Erik Peterson also wears the wine steward's beret but
modestly protested when called an oenologist. A veteran in the
wine department, he selected the 400 wines available and spoke
with confidence about his wine cellar. Assistant manager Paul
Miguez is also knowledgeable about the extensive wine list.
The décor within divided rooms featured vintage photographs and
studies of Eastport architecture and industry all framed against
ivory walls and red-brown wainscoting. Rattan chairs with black
leather seats and black leather booths beneath recessed overhead
lighting provided a private and comfortable ambiance.
The word "Ektakta" is apt to cross your mind when you dine at