As most readers of my blog know by now, I love seafood. No, make that I love seafood. I love it so much, in fact, that on more than one of the trips my husband Jack and I have made to the North Carolina Outer Banks, I vowed to eat nothing else as an entree - including for breakfast. Admittedly, we rarely eat much of anything before lunch (at least not in a restaurant), but a couple of times we did, and yes, I managed to find something that once made its home in water.
Back here in landlocked Mineral Ridge, Ohio, I'm more likely than not to order seafood when it's on a menu, although I'm not shy about saying that's not always the best choice because (a) it's not fresh off the boat and (b) generally speaking, it's overcooked. So when we were shopping for an easy chair at Sheely's in North Lima several months ago, on a whim we asked a couple of employees if there was a good place nearby to have lunch. Their response? Steamers, not far away on Market Street - which specializes in seafood.
We found the place in something of a nondescript building we almost didn't spot in a small strip mall and attached to a Super 8 Motel. For whatever reason, we decided not to stop, choosing instead to head closer to home. But the recommendation by those folks at Sheely's stuck with us -- this is the place everyone around here goes, they'd said -- and one fine day when we were traveling around looking for things to photograph and were in the neighborhood, we said, let's give it a try.
Our first adventure there, I'm delighted to report, was nothing short of WOW!
It was somewhere between the usual lunch and dinner hours - typically when we visit restaurants to avoid the possibility of waiting, which we hate - and we were seated immediately in a booth not far from the bar. There's also a dining area, a banquet room and a closed-off outdoor patio when the weather's nice.
Inside, though, it's quite a different story. On this first trip, just a glance at the menu told us we'd have to come back (in fact, we never made it past the appetizers before we'd made our choices). We decided to try three: the overloaded potato skins to share, peel-and-eat spiced shrimp for Jack and blackened tuna bites for me.
Both of us were thrilled. The tuna bites ($9.99) were outstanding, though a bit spicy -- but not so much that Jack couldn't eat them - and for me of the cast-iron stomach, it was love at first bite. The shrimp (also $9.99), were saturated with Old Bay spices, and Jack said that while they aren't quite as fresh as his favorite food at Awful Arthur's Oyster Bar on the Outer Banks, they were every bit as tasty.
The potato skins were fabulous - without question the best we've had anywhere. That's quite a complement coming from me, a person who isn't all that fond of potato skins (the skins, after all, were what my mother discarded back on the farm where I grew up; ever since then it's been hard for me to think of them as much of a delicacy).
We did look at the dinner menu (which you'll find online at the website at the end of this review), and unless you're interested in chicken and pasta dishes that are in the $12 to $15 range, expect to spend a few bucks here. The Scallops Portabella, with jumbo scallops atop a portabella in asiago cream sauce with sliced tomatoes, for instance, is $23.99 (but it's got to be to die for). A hefty 16-ounce chargrilled ribeye tavern-style prime rib au jus is $21.99, so you get the point.
There is a Happy Hour Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with discounted alcoholic beverages and munchy specials depending on the day (Tuesday you get 10 jumbo wings for $4, for example). One of these days, we've decided, we absolutely must go on a Wednesday to try the $5 crab dip breadbowl.
Our next visit came on the way home from filling up our camera cards with fall foliage photos from the beautiful Beaver Creek State Park in Columbiana County - we'd timed our trip so we could stop at Steamers for a late lunch. When we arrived around 1:15 p.m., there were a number of cars in the parking lot, but we got a table on the bar side once again and the tables that were occupied cleared out within another 15 minutes or so. This time, our plan was to focus entirely on seafood.
We hadn't intended to try another appetizer, but then we spotted the Crabmeat Portabella ($9.99) stuffed with lump crabmeat in a tomato basil sauce. Oh what the heck, we said, let's go for it!
Picking our entrees proved difficult for Jack once again, but finally he opted for the lunch portion of breaded cod ($7.99) with cole slaw and fries as his sides. My choice was quite easy: Once I saw the 8-ounce tuna steak, chargrilled with remoulade sauce ($10.99), I was hooked. For sides, I got a tossed salad and rice pilaf. Since this isn't Ahi tuna, I was a bit hesitant to ask for medium or medium rare and went with medium well.
Our server brought a basket of two warm rolls along with the appetizer, whispering that the bread is perfect for dipping in the tomato basil sauce in which that large stuffed mushroom was swimming. She was right; and Jack said the mushroom was outstanding, worth every single penny and at least as good, if not better, than any crab dish he's had in Maryland.
Jack's cod portion was quite substantial, maybe a foot long and 4 inches wide, as well as flaky and tender. The slaw wasn't his favorite, and when I tasted it I understood why: It was more like a Waldorf salad, with a slight apple flavor in the mayonnaise dressing. Too bad you don't care for it much, I said as I polished it off.
My salad, with ranch dressing, was quite good (well, except for the cucumber slice, which I picked out immediately so it wouldn't contaminate the rest of the greens), and the rice pilaf had a nice flavor. As for the tuna steak, I was sorry I hadn't listened to my inner voice and asked for a less-cooked version. It was very good, mind you, and the portion was so large that I brought half of it home for another meal. But it was more well done (and therefore not as tender) than I really love (my bad, not the restaurant's), and next time I'll go with my first instincts.
10078 Market St.
North Lima, Ohio 44452
Open at 11:30 a.m to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday; noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday; closed Sunday.