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Any notable seafood shacks between NY and New Haven?

  • E Eto Jun 18, 2008 09:12 PM
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I'm taking a drive up towards New Haven, and while I know there are plenty of CT seafood places on the coast east of New Haven, I don't know of any closer to NY. I guess I'm just looking for a place to grab a lobster roll, and some fried clam bellies would be a plus. My default would be the Glenwood drive-in in Hamden, but I think I would like something more scenic for my friends.

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  1. Well it's not sea food (though they have Sea Bass on the menu) and you'll have to overshoot New Haven a bit to get there but I found this place I want to try on my next trip up

    http://www.lepetitcafe.net/index.html

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jack_

      E Eto, there is mention made here of lobster rolls at Ebb Tide in Portchester, but reviews seem to be mixed and the prices are high.

    2. nothing fancy, but good food! Westfair Fish and Chips in Westport, CT...
      http://www.westfairfishandchips.com/m...

      here is a link to a recent post
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/488454

      1. Chick's in West Haven is across the street from the beach, has all of the above. And is a drive in. The clams are better (and much pricier) next door at Captain's Galley which is a sit down restaurant. Never had either of the lobster rolls though

        3 Replies
        1. re: mmalmad

          Oh dear. I'm afraid I would not recommend Chick's; I wanted to like them, I tried to like them, I did not like them. The oil had a strongly synthetic taste, the breading came out too firm, I'm not even sure the clams were fresh. It is cute, tho' . . .

          But I'm interested in hearing more about Captain's Galley . . . how expensive? What else is on the menu? I've seen a lot of motorcycles out front . . . what's the feel like inside?

          A recent CH New Haven-Boston Clams thread has some descriptions of Stowe's and Turks, both in West Haven . . . http://www.chowhound.com/topics/158228

          Lenny's Indian Head Inn is yummy, but I'm not wild about the "view" and it's east of NH, in Branford.

          1. re: zoe p.

            I was at Captain's Galley a few weeks ago the fried clams were $26.00.
            I went with the fish and chips. In additiion to fried seafood they fo have
            baked/broiled seafood and make a pretty good fra diavlo. I do really like the Rhode Island clam chowder. I suppose Jimmie's is another choice but I have not been there in quite a while

            1. re: zoe p.

              The food at the Captains Galley has taken a huge nosedive. My SO and I ate there about a month ago and it was one of the worst meals I've ever had. The shrimp and fish were both tasteless and poorly fried. The lobster bisque was an abomination.
              We have had really good luck at the Sandbar in West Haven, Great, Fresh seafood with good sized portions. Nice people.

          2. If Glenwood is your default, then you obviously aren't aiming high for ambience though the food is good. I strongly recommend Stowes in West Haven, just down the street from Chicks (ugh, except for the hot dogs) and the incredibly overrated and dirty Captain's Galley. Stowes is nothing more than a converted double garage turned fish market and restaurant though they don't have a public restroom (be forewarned). They are very reasonable though the portions are small. Two lobster rolls would be good for a hearty appetite, Very good fresh fried seafood of all the usual kinds and really great bisque, clam chowder etc. It's right across the street from the beach and the preferred seating is outside at a very long series of picnic tables. Only two or three tables inside so it's really only good for takeout or a nice day.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Scargoe

              Thanks for the info on Stowe's. I hadn't heard much about them . . .

            2. Leno's Clam Bar (Greasy Nicks) on Shore Rd. on the Pelham/New Rochelle border...but only for the delicious raw clams and a great burger. No belly clams or lobster rolls here.

              1. good clam bellies off i-95 is in South Norwak call SONO Seafood restaurant on Water St. It has a nice deck, serves on plastic plates has very good bellies (yes they pop in your mouth). It is slightly more than a "shack" but it is pretty basic fried food plus steamers, mussels, etc.

                Jfood was there last weekend for some bellies and they were very good. FYI - he still believes there is a red tide warning in Ipswich so he does not know the lineage of the clams at this time.

                7 Replies
                1. re: jfood

                  jfood - did you notice the prices on the belly clams at sono? the menu says "market price" "more then a shack" as compared to soemthing like overtons? thanks

                  1. re: michele cindy

                    SONO dinner size were $18 two weeks ago and worth it, Overtons were $9 and were not.

                    1. re: jfood

                      We went to Sono on Saturday. It was a really really hot day, so it was a bit uncomfortable for eating, but I still liked the place. I got the belly clams, but was expecting them to be a bit larger. These were really tiny, but still they werer tasty enough. The best belly clams I ever had were at the Seahorse in Noank CT. I wonder if these clams are seasonal, and may be best at another time of year, any ideas?

                      1. re: michele cindy

                        from what jfood understands the Ipswich Clam section had red tide earlier this year and only opened a couple of weeks ago.

                        do not know if that is a coincidence.

                        BTW - the clam shacks Branford-east to the RI border are the place to go in this state

                        1. re: jfood

                          my fish guy told me the beds just got closed again .the price of steamers and fried clams has been going up and will most likely stay high thru the summer because of supply and demand.

                    2. re: michele cindy

                      I have a peeve about this at all restaurants. Please tell me what today's market price is for fresh seafood to avoid sticker shock.... I want to know up front.

                    3. re: jfood

                      SONO also has fried softshell crab, but when I asked if they were fresh ones they were honest and said no. Just FYI. I always ask if I'm feeling picky. Doesn't mean the sandwich won't be good, but the fresh ones are of course plumper.

                    4. A couple of other places to consider for scenic views though somewhat more upscale are Outriggers and Knapps Landing. Both are in Stratford and have outside dining directly on the water (Housatonic River) near the Sound. Outriggers is the more upscale of the two. Both have websites which include menu's and directions.

                      1. Lenny and Joe's Fish Tale in Madison Ct. OK, it's beyond New Haven

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: chaz

                          BUT WORTH THE EXTRA MILES!!! Love Lenny & Joes in Madison. I wish I lived closer!

                        2. Thanks for all the info. A few logistical questions about some of the places mentioned. I like the sound of Sono Seafood in Norwalk. I also like the sound of Stowe's in West Haven. There's a chance of rain when we're up there and I wonder if there's indoor or covered seating. I was unable to find a menu for Turk's. Do they serve lobster rolls as well as fried clams? After doing my own search, I found a place called Lazy Lobster in Milford. I found one mention of it on CH. Any word about the food? The reason why this place appeals to me is because it's a few steps away from the Walnut Beach Creamery. I should mention that I'm factoring ice cream into this search also, with enough proximity. That's one of the reasons why Glenwood Drive-In is a backup plan, for the seafood and then a short drive up to Wentworths for ice cream, and maybe a headstart on the ice cream at Kelly's Kone Konnection.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: E Eto

                            SONO Seafood has indoor seating as well.

                            1. re: E Eto

                              Lazy Lobster has indoor and outdoor seating, tho the place is tiny. Same for Stowe's actually. And Stowe's is really just open for lunch/early dinner. It's always closed when I pass by later in the evenings, say 7 PM.

                              I've heard good things about the lobsters and (strange) the BBQ at the Lazy Lobster; there are reviews of it "out there" . . . Don't know if they do clams.

                            2. The seafood hunt around southwest CT turned out to be a fun time. I brought along a few Japanese folks with the lure of lobster rolls and New Haven pizza. Our first stop was at the Lazy Lobster in Milford at Walnut Beach. We got there a little after noon to find a sleepy little beach community, still asleep apparently, since there was hardly anyone around. We ordered our lobster rolls and drinks and sat at the tables just outside. These are the warm CT style lobster rolls with a plenty of butter (slightly garlic infused) to moisten the bread. These lobster rolls are made on a soft french roll, rather than the split-top hotdog bun that is commonly used. But I have to say, this made for a better experience. The bread soaked up the butter without making it soggy, and there was plenty of fresh lobster meat to make this one worthwhile.
                              http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3089/2...
                              http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3118/2...
                              What looked like a group of regulars came in as we were eating, and noticed that one of them ordered an interesting variant of the traditional lobster roll: the BLT -- bacon, lobster, tomato -- roll. I'm trying to imagine what this surf & turf would taste like, and if it's done right, it could be marvelous. I'll give it a try next time I get around here. We got ice cream from Walnut Beach Creamery just across the street. Good flavors. I especially liked the bananas foster and the blueberry. A nice combination for pitstop off I-95 or the Merritt.

                              With some more time to kill before getting to New Haven for pizza, we decided to hit Glenwood Drive-In, just because, and just get a little tasting of their lobster roll. I think this version must be more in-line with the traditional CT hot lobster roll, with the lobster meat cooked in garlic butter and then placed in the traditional split-top hotdog bun.
                              http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3230/2...
                              This was also quite good, but we all preferred the one from Lazy Lobster mostly because it was noticeably more freshly made. We also got some hotdogs at Glenwood since we couldn't resist: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3087/2...

                              After our late lunch at Modern Apizza, we made our way back towards NYC, but wanting just a little more, we stopped at Sono Seafood in Norwalk. We were seated right away on the outdoor terrace, and we ordered our final lobster rolls of the trip. We noticed that the menu stated "lobster salad rolls" which is exactly what we had in mind, as we were just a bit buttered out at this point. These CT buttered hot lobster rolls are really good, but they are heavy. The ones at Sono are more typical of the norther New England style with a base of mayonnaise and celery. We found these to be lighter and refreshing than their CT siblings.
                              http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3102/2...
                              http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3172/2...
                              Although I prefer the meat in larger whole chunks rather than chopped up and mixed into a salad, I couldn't complain and it was reasonable for the price. I know I could get a more ideal version at Pearl Oyster Bar in NYC, but I'd be paying double the price (perhaps more now?). We had cold beers, and were seated on a comfortable deck, and it hadn't rained despite the prediction of thundershowers, so there were no regrets. I guess our only regret was wishing we hadn't eaten so much during the day that we could order other seafood dishes.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: E Eto

                                Sono Seafood...eeehhh..not too crazy about it. It smells musty and when you leave you feel like you have an oily film all over.
                                The Black Duck in Westport has great whole belly clams, a nice portion, with fries and a salad for $17. As for a lobster roll, they dont do lobster salad just buttered lobster chunks on a toasted roll with fries, market price...plan on about $20. They dont have outdoor seating but there is a nice view of the river from the bar and you can eat at the bar. Good drinks, laid back atmosphere, nice crowd, plenty of parking.
                                If you want a tru "shack" in Norwalk theres another place..the name is escaping e..just a takeout window. By harbor lights...whats it called? Gah!

                                1. re: lovesublime

                                  You're thinking about Overtons. Not a great place, but not bad for a quick lunch or light dinner.

                                  For fish and chips, I have not found a place better than Royal Guard in Stamford on Shippan ave. Of course, go with the Haddock and Chips, it's even tastier!

                                2. re: E Eto

                                  Thanks E Eto for the photos of the Lazy Lobster rolls. They look terrific though on the smallish side. The meat looks so good I cold easily forgive them for not using the traditional New England style hot dog roll. I didn't know the place was even there, so I must do a comparison with Capt. Scotts in New London, my current Ct. favorite.

                                  1. re: Scargoe

                                    Wow. That's a whole lotta lobster. Thanks for the full report.

                                    1. re: zoe p.

                                      E Eto, excellent post for lobster roll go-to places! Nice to know Ebb Tide ain't the only game in the area.

                                    2. re: Scargoe

                                      How long has Captain Scott's been open ... it looks like a place I went to in that area 20 years ago and would have nothing, but positive things to say about it.

                                    3. re: E Eto

                                      I read about all this Lobster talk and took my son to the Beardley Zoo and I knew I would be close to the Lazy Lobster. It was actually worth it! I did thought it was a bit pricey ($15.95) but you get alot of lobster meat (compared to Westchester where I live) and the bread was awesome.....Would I drive the 1hour to go just there? No BUT eating a lob roll while sitting on the beach listening to the waves makes it worth the price.

                                    4. Did a mini lobster roll tour based on feedback off this thread. We hit:

                                      Glenwood Drive In (and Kelly's Kone Connection)
                                      Lazy Lobster (and Walnut Beach Creamery)
                                      Sono Seafood

                                      In order of preference (out of 5 stars - does not include ice cream rating):
                                      Glenwood - 4 stars
                                      Sono - 3 stars
                                      Lazy Lobster - 2.5 stars

                                      *though, if we could have the lobster from Glenwood on the roll from Lazy Lobster, it would have been ideal.

                                      Glenwood lobster was marvelous. Warm, flavorful and plentiful. The roll gets soggy pretty fast, but was still delish. Had some truly terrific black raspberry ice cream at Kelly's. Note: Glenwood has nice bathrooms - look to be newly renovated. I didn't expect bathrooms at all so I was pleasantly surprised :-)

                                      Lazy Lobster was somewhat disappointing. We prefer a hot lobster roll so were happy in that regard, but the lobster was just OK. The rolls are terrific - sourdough and freshly toasted. This roll would be perfect with the lobster from Glenwood. After, we went across the street for ice cream and were not disappointed. This is my favorite sort of ice cream place. Had the Nutella Bella (yum - with whole hazelnuts!) and Nutty Yankee (coconut, cranberries and almonds - surprisingly terrific).

                                      Sono Seafood - lobster salad sandwich - pretty good version if you prefer the cold style. Comes on a bun with lettuce and tomato - bun is good - not too much bread. And the lobster is not over dressed. However, the lobster is not in big chunks - it's more finely chopped, so again...depends on preference. And, of course, this is a full service restaurant with bathrooms, etc.

                                      Look forward to trying out some of these other places in the future!

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: piegirl74

                                        i was never a big sono fan. they never seemed to change the oil for their fried clams enough to suit me. there is a shack i've heard good reports about off of i-95 somewhere around exit 65 maybe, but the name escapes me.

                                        1. re: poppy

                                          It may be Clam Castles, been around for ages, off I95 at exit 65 and serves some really good fried clams.

                                          http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Re...

                                        2. re: piegirl74

                                          Where is the Glenwood drive inn? Also in South Norwalk there's a shack I think it's on Seaview Avenue next to a restaurant that's on the harbor..Can't think of the name....

                                          1. re: Paris76

                                            Glenwood Drive in is in Hamden

                                            http://www.glenwooddrivein.com/

                                            if you are thinking about the place next to Harbor Lights on the other side of the river from SONO Seafood, the one time jfood was there he was not impressed.

                                        3. Abotts or the Seahorse in Noank

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Asumnuthin

                                            Been trying to get to Abotts forever and it just won't happen this summer. They close right after labor day. I have to agree with the Lazy Lobster....I agree it's nothing spepcial but compared to mayo-lob rolls in Westchester I'll take it!

                                            1. re: Paris76

                                              I have been up and down the Connecticut coast for years and honestly I have yet to find a tolerable lobster roll south of Branford. Lenny's on the marsh in Branford is superior for fresh oysters, fried belly clams and oysters, lobster rolls, and broiled or stuffed lobsters. The steamers are wonderful; everything is so fresh. Other excellent choices are the Clam Castle in Madison on the Post Road (I've been there when Jacques Pepin was enjoying a lobster salad roll), Johnny Ad's in Old Saybrook for tasty fried shellfish or lobster rolls, the Sea Swirl in Mystic for Chinese cardboard takeout pails full of fried clams and oysters, and Abbott's in Noank for steamed lobsters or lobster rolls on a soft round bun. At these particular places the lobster is always fresh and of the highest quality around. there may be others, but I have never had a bad experience at any of these stands in more than 30 years!

                                          2. By the way, I believe Abbott's is still open after labor Day for several weeks on weekends only - I suggest you try to make it there if possible - life is short (!) - we went two weeks ago and it was spectacular! I forgot how clean, fresh, bright red and not greasy a really quality crustacean can be!

                                            1. Btw, at the Glenwood people also frequently order fried softshell crab sandwiches in season (I always ask everywhere fresh or frozen), though it's best at the Black Rock Oyster Bar in Fairfield off I-95. The batter is light, and the frying oil must be fresh and hot. It's never greasy or heavy with crust.