Mostly due to the great reviews on the board, we finally checked out Essex Seafood yesterday. I am soooo disappointed, but it just wasn't great. I loved the vib there and really wanted to love this place. I have to admit that I was a little wary as we walked in, because it just smelled like old oil. Lines were pretty short (3-4 parties in front of us), but moved at a snail's pace. It took an inordinately long time to get our food, and they just weren't all that busy. They seem like they don't have their act together.
Now to the food..... I had the fried clam boat w/rings ($14.95). Clams were VERY dark and somewhat overcooked/chewy. Rings were ok. Coleslaw was outstanding. The BF had his usual haddock and fries ($8.95). Again, the coating seemed too dark (i.e. old oil). Fries were those crunchy-coated kind..eh. We ate our fish and only half the fries/rings. Unfortunately, we had bloated oil tummies the rest of the day/evening.
Maybe they just had an off day? Anyone else been lately? I'm wary to try them again......
err! That is nothing worse than old oil. But I do believe that timing plays a big part of it. I don't think any restaurants will only use the oil once. So depending on the time of the day and day of the week, it is very possible to get food of various quality. We went to the Claim Box twice and we did notice very slight difference even though both times were better than other places.
If I had a choice, I will go for a Saturday lunch.
Sounds like an off day. I've been this season already and it was as good as usual and certainly not dark brown. Please try it again. I would put it just below Clam box and a little easier to get to.
I had the same experience at Essex Seafood. The fried clams that came with my fisherman's platter were also overcooked/dehydrated. They were very rubbery. I don't know if it was because the oil was old. Maybe the high school kids working in the kitchen left them in the deep fryer too long. The fisherman's platter I had on Father's Day at the Clam Box in Ipswich was superb. I've been to the Clam Box two times so far this year and haven't had a bad meal.
In my several experiences at Essex, I've never tried the fried stuff there. They do make the best lobster roll I've had in the area though. I'd just stick to that. I recall having a good clam chowder theere too.
That is a bummer -- I'm sorry you didn't love the place. I've enjoyed the fried clams, scallops, and o rings there, but I admit I usually stick to boiled lobster and steamers at Essex Seafood. Last time I was there (May) I did admire a humongous platter of fried seafood and it looked perfect. I'd guess they were slammed all day and the oil got burned. No excuse for serving belly aching food, though.