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Jul 16, 2006 08:10 PM

Report: Rowayton Seafood "Bites"

This is the Rowayton Seafood (Norwalk, CT) takeout operation, which sells out of the associated fish store. First, I must admit that I grew up on Cape Cod style seafood and find the southwest Connecticut versions to be sadly lacking, so I'm probably a bit prejudiced to start. Having read a piece in the local paper about "Bites", hubby and I decided to give it a try. Our big mistake was heading over there on a Saturday night. The regular restaurant was jumping, and they share a single lot, so we had to use the valet parking, which is a hoot when going to a seafood shack, but whatever. We ordered cold lobster rolls (after being assured that the cold one was with mayo, the only kind I think of a legitimate lobster rolls) and a pint of fried belly clams, and was told it would take 10-15 minutes. Fortunately we were sitting on a bench overlooking the water, because it took 35 minutes! The result? Bleah. My perfect lobster roll is on a buttered toasted hot dog roll, the filling, which overtops the roll and tumbles onto the plate, mixed with mayo and a bit of diced celery, nicely chilled. These lobster rolls were on supermarket hamburger buns (in fact, one of them was made with two "bottoms"), the modest amount of room temperature filling showing no mayonnaise that I could discern, and had giant chunks of celery and a large leaf of lettuce. My ideal fried clams are the Ipswich variety, piping hot, not greasy. These were not Ipswich (that would have been too much to expect, I realize), greasy and overfried. And oh yes, this feast set us back $50, excluding the tip to the valet parker. Rowayton Seafood has such a good reputation around here (though I've never been to the restaurant), I was really expecting more. I think I'm going to have to take to the roads to satisfy my yearnings. My only question to the Chowhounds: are the clam and lobster joints of eastern Connecticut a good approximation of what I'm seeking, or do I need to go all the way to the Cape?

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  1. on the madison/guilford line on boston post road there is a shack on the south of the street. i think it is called The Shack or something silly. they have real bellies that squirt in your mouth with that wonderful clam liquor. like you i have found CT really tough to find good bellies. Everyone tells me to eat strips and i just stare at them, in complete disbelief that anyone thinks fried strips are clams. BTW - i have yet to find any onion rings close to those at Nauset Beach in CT.

    1. Your review is right on...we had the same experience there a few weeks ago, with the additional headache of having an antsy two-year-old with us. The service is terrible, and they were out of half the things we wanted.