Straight Up on Dining Out

Lures Bar and Grille
Casual but Inventive Dining

By Christine Fillat

There is a certain joy that accompanies a visit to an eating establishment where you know you will be well served. Lures of Crownsville is such a place. The parking lot is ample; the restaurant is large, open, and simply decorated. As you are seated, even early in the day, the place exudes an easy confidence as the lunch hour advances and the tables fill. The name Lures is many faceted. As a fisherperson would use a lure to tempt and capture a fish, so does Lures grab your attention with a large and mouth-watering menu. And so goes the clever ploy of the masterminds of Lures: they lure you in then entice you to come back again and again to try the many imaginative dishes on the menu. For it is impossible to eat every tasty-sounding selection in one sitting.

The reason for this milieu of a dining experience is the owner, Chuck Soja. After a lifetime of working in other people’s restaurants, at such places as TGI Fridays, Adam’s Ribs, and Chartwell Country Club, he had a very good idea of what kind of restaurant he would like to own. He and his wife Jill opened Lures on Mother’s Day 2008, with a menu of comfort food. Five years ago, Soja brought in Chef Nick Ellick to be general manager and tweak the menu. The menu you see today is a combination of the comfort food Soja loves and the creations of a chef who has his finger on the pulse of global cuisine and all the options that involves.

Appetizers speak to inventive combinations: House brined pickles with rosemary scented local peanuts; Hot Smoked Salmon; Chorizo Queso Dip; Jumbo Lump Crab and Scallop Ceviche. We chose the Tuna Tartar where bits of tomato, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro infiltrated a generous mound of diced tuna. A sriracha and sweet chili vinaigrette lent the dish sweet hot notes and a drizzle of wasabi added jazz. On a completely different sphere of the universe rests the perogies, chosen because just how often does one get the opportunity to eat a perogi? These were nicely sautéed and served with onions, sour cream, and scallions. There are no new cuisine flourishes in these straight-up perogies:  they are just like grandma used to make, and simply delicious.

For entrées, my dining partner enjoyed Lures’ mash-up of the Louisiana bayou and the Far East with Wild Caught Rockfish Panang. The fresh rockfish filet was blackened and pan fried Cajun style and served atop a sweet mound of sticky rice with a coconut lime curry sauce. The pairing is winning and delightful.

Noting an oft-mentioned occurrence of rosemary on the entrée menu, I ordered the Rosemary Sirloin and Sweet Frites. This beautiful steak came with a pillow of rosemary and jalapeno bacon butter melting on top. Paired with charred Brussels sprouts and crunchy sweet potato fries, the sirloin was simply superior. There is a subtlety of flavors in the touch of bacon, the heat of the jalapeno, and the freshness of the rosemary.

Dessert indulgences include Smith Island Cakes, Maryland’s official state dessert. We opted to share the Fudgy Chocolate Spoon Cake, described as “chocolate on chocolate on chocolate on chocolate.”

Lures demands a return visit. There are house-made pickles, crab cakes, and craft beer to try. I have considered myself lured.




Lures Bar & Grille:  1397 Generals Highway, Crownsville, MD 21032

410-923-1606  |  luresbarandgrille.com  |  info@luresbarandgrille.com

Hours of Operation:
Sunday – Thursday              Friday & Saturday
11:00 AM – Midnight             11:00 AM – 2:00 AM

Christine Fillat lives on the Magothy River and is an aficionado of
Chesapeake Bay cooking and living.


From Vol. 6, No. 4 2015
Annapolis Home Magazine