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Search for the Elusive Fried Clam, Part 4 - Found it!

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Los Angeles has surprised me since here six years ago. First impressions were strong of a vast wasteland of strip malls and sprawl But some told me not only did one need a tour guide for LA but in order to succeed at LA I would need to go out of my way to seek out and shine lights in little corners and i might just find what I’m looking for.

I almost forgot that credo down in Long Beach the other day, and fortunately Dommy! was there to pick up the slack. We had a long filling day going to a church Food Fair and then to a friends Graduation party at Casa Vino. We hadn’t had Dinner but weren’t very hungry as we are walking around the Pike. We wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel but they were closed for a half hour for a break we went to the Gamespot to kill time, rode the Wheel and were heading home When Dommy noted the place with the big hot dog sign served Fried Clams and Lobster rolls. I had looked at it before and not really seen the sign. I thought it was a generic hot dog place. But Dommy! said Hey there are Clam and lobster rolls here.............

WHAT?!?!?!?!? I did an about face and went right in. Dommy! thought we’d come back sometime later to try it out, but as I explained it would be like finding a homemade Tortilla factory in Mattapoisett, we’d have to try it immediately.

Lawton’s is a place from Lawrence Massachusetts while not quite on the water, Its close enough to Ipswich that they should know what they are doing. They ship supplies including the proper buns to Long Beach. The menu consists of what you might typically find in a Summer Shack type of Place. Hamburgers, Hot dogs, Clams, lobster fish and Chips etc.

We only had room in our tummies for clams but through slight miscommunications we ended up with the large plate of Clams With Bellies, not the roll, plus an IBC Root Beer. We sat down and Dug in. They were the best I’ve had outside of New England. The batter was right the crispiness was right the taste was really good. Oooh and the tartar sauce was tangy and sweet all at once.

Well there it is. I think I’ve found everything need in LA plus a few extras. I’ve found serviceable east Coast style Pizza. I have had Awesome Dim Sum, there is a rail line coming to Culver City and now Fried Clams with Bellies. Well Los Angeles will never be perfect, but It has become a comfortable place for me to hang around, though I have given up any dreams of waking up and finding 3 feet of snow outside my door [sigh].

Take Care

- P.

-----
Lawton's Famous Frankfurters
110 Bay Street, Long Beach, CA 90802

 
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  1. I can't tell by the photo, but you're talking about belly clams?

    Real...
    belly on...
    steamers?

    First you discover good Chinese food in Culver City. Now this? You, sir, are a divining rod of chow.

    The map on the links page doesn't look right. This is down in the Pike shopping center, right?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Professor Salt

      Ipswich Clams. Belly on, no steamers.

      The place is right next to the Ferris Wheel at the Pike. The address is right, the map is wrong. It's not Bay Shore Ave but Bay St

      1. re: Professor Salt

        Good Chinese food in Culver City??! (please don't suggest searching this board - I gave up)

        1. re: cant talk...eating

          It is an Islamic Chinese and Thai restaurant and it is better than most things on the West Side though not quite up to SGV standards. Plus the folks that run it are Very nice.

          -----
          Marlar Restaurant
          10706 Jefferson Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

      2. whoa!!! if it is the real deal with bellies, i'm all over it.

        1. they have fried clams with bellies at Bluewater Grill, which is in Redondo and also OC.
          They are fine. Not great. Will have to try Lawton's after hearing about it.

          1. Speaking of Culver City, Ford's Filling Station has fried Ipswich clams, too.

            5 Replies
            1. re: wakko11

              Yeah, Not worth it.....

              1. re: wakko11

                As does Jar.

                1. re: New Trial

                  Same response as above. For the same reason you don't go to Babita for their [if they made them] Al Pastor Tacos. You don't go to Jar which has clams but they aren't Ipswich or Ford's for their Ipswich Clams.

                  See Dommy!'s Post that explains it:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/70785

                  1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                    I am sorry Dommy! did not enjoy them (I have had a few batches that were disappointing as well but most have been at least good--though I prefer the fried oysters Jar sometimes offers) but they are in fact described as Ipswich clams on the menu. See www.thejar.com

                    1. re: New Trial

                      No doubt they are Ipswich or at least Ipswich type... The server was so happy I ordered them too... "You'll love them!!" But they came out more like strips than bellies and they had NO flavor... Plus, a TINY cup there costs almost $20.... while that BIG carton in the photo above costs $13, was bellies, tasted wonderfully clammy, had a GREAT dipping sauce... and well were better in each way than Jars version...

                      Don't get me wrong... we ADORE Jar.... have been there numerous times for Dinner, Brunch and when Nancy was doing Moz night (Our First Anniversary Dinner as a matter of fact). But as P. pointed out in his posts... we go there for what they do well... steaks and chops... We leave the clams to the experts... ;D

                      --Dommy!

              2. Wow! My Thanks. One of my sons is leaving for Boston Sunday and has been teasing me about pizza, lobster rolls and deep fried claims all week. Now I will beat him to the lobster roll. Oh say, I wonder if I am hoping for too much when I crave the rings I once had in Ipswich and around Boston? Did you see a batch of rings in the place? You know the kind I am talking about. The batter seems to be more golden with smooth hard-but-thin crunchy bubbles like shrimp batter at some places here.

                Again, Thanks

                1 Reply
                1. re: JeetJet

                  They have onion rings which is normally on our list of must try. But we were truly not hungry so we limited ourselves to the clams.

                  Let me know what you think of the Lobster Roll when you have it

                2. Hi Mattapoisett,

                  This sounds delicious! Thanks for the tip and review. (^_^) I'll have to try it out soon.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: exilekiss

                    Thanks so much for to the OP. I have a friend who is a Boston transplant has been looking for clams out here for years and years. I sent him the post and he is on his way with the family tonight.

                  2. HOLY COW Matta-p, it's like we have a psychic mind meld or something. I was just over on the New England boards a couple months back to poll the folks back home on the best current fried clams in the area (Clam Box, Ipswich, natch, but had to check) and then dragged the SO on the North shore odyssey. I've been bitching about the lack thereof ever since (Although just hit Quality Seafood in Redondo and the steamers were off the chain!) Still have to try the Culver City pizza, but this might have knocked that one off the top of the to-do list (Gas prices be damned!)

                    1. For people who were looking for RIPPER hot dogs a while back, Lawtons (at least the one back east in Mass.) deep fries their hot dogs.

                      1. Great find! Looking forward to checking it out.

                        1. ok, this all sounds too good!!!!! I have never had those clams, but I am going to try them tomorrow. I make a mean lobster sandwich, but must try an original. Do they have good NE clam chowder? So, who is up for having lunch at Lawton's tomorrow? I think me and hubby can only try sooooo much in one sitting, I would love to taste one of their dogs too.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: JEN10

                            I just got back from Lawtons. Oh my word.....fantastic.....Long drive from Simi but definitely worth it. Last week we went to Sids in Canoga Park for clams. They were OK but pretty expensive for what you got. For the three of us we spent over $90. At Lawtons we got probably 10 times more clams (and they were much better) for less than $60.We'll definitely be going back. By the way. Lawtons is IN A MALL!!! (The Pike). Dining is outside and there are only a few tables which are divided between 3 or 4 restaurants. Don't know what we would have done if there wasn't a table available. It's pretty cool though. The tables are right by a Ferris wheel and merry-go-round. A festive time was had by all!!! Thanks again for the heads up.

                            1. re: SIMIHOUND

                              WHEW!!! :D SOOO glad you enjoyed it!! We are even more glad you quashed our craving to try Sids... We almost went a couple of weeks ago... and are so glad that today when in the Valley, we went to Boneyard Bistro instead! :DDD

                              --Dommy!

                              1. re: Dommy

                                Couldn't go yesterday, but made it down there today. Oh YUMMY, we ordered the plate of fish and clams, comes with slaw and fries $13.39. I am not sure these were the bellie clams as they were smaller than your picture showed. More like pieces of clams I would say. The hot dog with works was delicious. Next time I want to try a chili dog. There is a lot to do down at the pike so make a day of it. Theaters, game works, segway (sp?) to rent, ferris wheel, carousel, and the Aquarium of the Pacific. Just a final note, the hours posted in the website for the pike are not accurate. Lawtons is closed on Mondays, Tues and Wed, I think it said they open at 5pm, thur, fri and sat open at 11:00, and sun open at noon. Now go eat some clams and dogs!!!

                                1. re: JEN10

                                  So glad you liked it too! There have been ther Lawton's posts on the NE boards and such and they always mention the Hot Dogs... we'll have to try those fer sure now! :)

                                  Actually, since that original post, I've been to the East Coast several times and the Ipswich clams aren't like the ones in that picture I posted. (I'm guessing they used a manilla or something). So my expectations werre a little off... but now know for sure SURE that Jar's versions aren't even comparable...

                                  --Dommy!

                          2. Thanks for the review. I had been longing for proper lobster rolls and fried clams. We had the fried ipswich clams at Seafare Inn at Whittier which was just OK. Incidentally at P. Mozza that had the ipswich clam on pizza, which was very clammylicious.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: notmartha

                              I forgot to mention, the clams had a nice sweet sea flavor. The fish had a delicious crunchy batter, and the fish was moist and tasty. Plan on waiting a while as everything is made to order. We were the first in and waited about 20 minutes. My husband was skeptical that we were eating at a take out place, but was plesently surprised. Buy the time we got our food there was a line out the door.

                              1. re: JEN10

                                Thanks for the follow-up report Jen. :) I'm going to have to try these clams soon!

                            2. Oh Mattapoisett & Dommy! you have made my day! I am now running through my schedule to see when I can take the chowpups to the LB acquarium & stop at Lawtons. I transplated from MA 17 years ago now & have been waiting for this day ever since. Now if I could find maple walnut ice cream to top it off, I'd be all set.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: dotrat

                                We go south to bike at the beach (frm SGV) instead of say, Santa Monica, so this is perfect for us. I usually go back east every summer, but this summer we didn't make it so it's been 12 months since my last clamfest and lobster roll. Thanks for the post.

                              2. Sonny McLean's on Wilshire and 26th in Santa Monica has them, bellies and all. I'm not an expert on fried clams, but they taste pretty good to me.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jhvu

                                  Had them once and they were horrible.

                                  1. re: lizziee

                                    They were okay.... but the bun was COMPLETELY off...

                                    --Dommy!

                                2. What about the Lobster Rolls, has anyone tried them yet?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: kevin

                                    Went tonight....um, would not go back unless I was stuck in the area. Mostly claw meat, not much on lobster flavor. Had the clams too and sadly tonight they were really greasy, not much in the flaor department either...might be a hit and miss kinda joint.

                                  2. It's incomprehensible, but true. The clam plate is authentic, good clams for the money. None of the usual fake clams, smooth batter, or other typical west coast errors.

                                    I suggest you bring beer in a brown paper bag so as not to annoy the rent-a-cops and local police, and pretend you are back on the cape.

                                    (My dream is that I could find a clam place anywhere in the world where I could pair the clams with perfect, double fried frites rather than the usual pale fries)

                                    I wish I could find a clam

                                    1. Went to LB today to meet a friend from out of town staying at the Hyatt. We got involved with friend stuff and had a late lunch, then I remembered this great place for fried clams but it was too late for him to come with me.

                                      So, having made the same mistake as Mattapoisett I wasn't hungry enough for a full meal. I had a hot dog and a clam roll; the hot dog was the first truly New England-style I've had since I moved from Connecticut almost thirty years ago, broiled until the skin crisped with sour ballpark mustard, relish and grilled onions.

                                      Although the clam roll was strips, not bellies, they were tender and tasty; if they were frozen they were the best frozen fried clams I've ever had on the West Coast.

                                      I can't wait to go back and try the bellies and/or a lobster roll. Thank you, Mattapoisett!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: maxzook

                                        AH!! That explains what happened then!! I THOUGHT I said roll but I also SPECIFICALLY asked for Clam Bellies... that is why I ended up the with plate...

                                        When P. saw your post he was SO GLAD the girl listened to me about the bellies... if he had gotten the roll and it would have just been strips... he would have been horribly disapointed and this post would not have happened...

                                        Glad you enjoyed the hot dog. We're a little on the fence about making the trek to Fab Hot Dogs, or heading back to Lawton's for our next hot dog craving...

                                        --Dommy!

                                        --Dommy!

                                        1. re: Dommy

                                          Cant say anything about Lawton's dogs, but the dogs at Fabs are awesome, it's probably the only joint in town that serves various regional hot dog variations from the Carolina slaw dog to the Coney chili cheese dog to the bacon-wrapped LA dog and the their famous New Jersey Ripper or Cremator dogs.

                                          1. re: Dommy

                                            Dommy,
                                            Go to Fabs. I have sent a lot of people who were Weiner Factory fans over there and everyone says it's fabulous. It's not much on looks and not in a high end area but it's good eats at low prices. I am headed back on Friday with a friend and probably with the wife on the weekend. Tell him you know about him from Chowhounds.

                                        2. Going to have to add this to the must try list. Although, it will have to wait awhile, I just got back from a trip back east and had the real thing.

                                          I'm interested in knowing where the serviceable East coast style pizza you found was?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: LisaN

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/541037

                                            My top 4 LA thin crusts are:
                                            Joe's Bleeker Street Santa Monica
                                            Vito's
                                            LaRocco's
                                            Bollini's Pizzeria Napolitana

                                            -----
                                            Vito's Pizza
                                            846 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                                            Bollini's Pizzeria Napolitana
                                            2315 S Garfield Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                                            Joe's Pizza of Bleecker Street N.Y.C
                                            111 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA

                                            LaRocco's Pizzeria
                                            3819 Main St, Culver City, CA 90232

                                            1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                                              Of those four Bollini's and Joe's are definitely my favorites.

                                              Other hounds may castigate me for saying this, but one of my favorites is the cheese pizza at Al Gelato.

                                          2. We tried Lawton's today for a late lunch...the lobster roll was very good with a generous amount of lobster and the fried clams with bellies were excellent! The onion rings were only so-so. I am thrilled to find a N.E. clam "shack" in Long Beach...It might not be as good as Red's in Wiscasset, ME or Woodman's and the Clam Box in Essex, MA...but it is in SoCal and quite authentic! Be aware it is only open Thursday through Sunday.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: TravelPath

                                              <blockquote>Be aware it is only open Thursday through Sunday.</blockquote>

                                              Huh. The website says they're open seven days, and I have a flyer somewhere that I swore said the same thing. Oh well .. must remember to call first ...

                                              1. re: maxzook

                                                They did change their hours, If you scroll back I posted them.

                                                1. re: JEN10

                                                  Noted. Hope that's not a bad sign, business-wise.

                                            2. Has anyone found STEAMED Ipswich Clams on the westside - how about hardshell crabs -NOT Dungeness?

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: flowergirl

                                                Have you Tried Quality Seafood in Redondo Beach on the Pier? I believe I've seen what you seek there.

                                                -----
                                                Quality Seafood
                                                130 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA

                                              2. Sounds great! Does Lawton's have chowder?

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: SecretAsianMan

                                                  It is on the menu, but I haven't seen any reports of tastings.

                                                2. Tried going to Lawton's today for lunch. Apparently they've been shut down by the Health Department. Luckily I was able to try them a few months earlier, but does anyone know where to get good lobster rolls and fried clams now?

                                                  31 Replies
                                                  1. re: Fill_Up

                                                    You can imagine the dissapointment in reading this entire thread only to learn that Lawton's is now out of business in Long Beach. I guess I should always read from the bottom up! How utterly dissapointing! Any successors?

                                                    Can someone simply list all the places that have the fried Ipswich belly clams in the LA area in one post, please? Average ratings would be nice but not necessary.

                                                    Thanks!
                                                    Dean

                                                    1. re: deanalt

                                                      I happened to hear of a Boston hangout very close to home called Fat Face Fenner's Fishack. I spoke to the owner and he promised to have fried belly clams by May 1 and I hope I can believe that. However, I've checked out many reviews and while a few are glowing, many aren't and others are just horrible, although more about the atmosphere than necessarily the food. My wife is not the rough bar type! Does anyone have any experience with this place, food-wise?

                                                      By the way Sonny McLeans says it now serves orders of all belly clams whereas, before, it used to mix them with the strips. I guess I'll have to try that too.

                                                      Thanks for any info on either place.

                                                      1. re: deanalt

                                                        just looked at sonny mcleans menu and the clam bellies has made it on....at $12 an order.

                                                        1. re: wilafur

                                                          After eating lunch at Drago, I decided to check out Sonny Mcleans across the street. I asked if I could try 1 clam - they gave me 6 "on the house." I did tip however and yes they are clams with the bellies.

                                                          1. re: lizziee

                                                            were they any good?

                                                            1. re: wilafur

                                                              I am a Bostonian and my favorite fried clams are from Neptune Oyster in Boston - better than the clam shack. With that caveat, they were clams with the bellies and pretty good for Los Angeles.

                                                              1. re: lizziee

                                                                DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT go to Sonny McClean's for fried clams. I took one for the team and went for lunch. Horrible is being too kind. You are eating batter with an inch of a clam.

                                                                The horrible pics are here:
                                                                http://lizziee.wordpress.com/category...

                                                                1. re: lizziee

                                                                  I'd have to disagree with you. Its not easy to get fried clams with bellies in LA. These are the best I've had so far, yes they are no where near the ones you get back east, or I'm sure if you pay to have them shipped in and make your own.

                                                                  Last time I checked, getting a kit sent in from Ipswich Seafood or other purveyors was going to cost about 75-100 bucks, then plus having to make them yourself, worry about having them delivered somewhere where you can store them in refrigeration.

                                                                  When I went to Sonny McClean's, I thought they had good flavor and didn't cost nearly $100

                                                                  1. re: lizziee

                                                                    Lizziee, this does not make a lot of sense. Two posts in a row, both by you, one saying the clams were "pretty good for Los Angeles" and the next one describing them as "horrible".

                                                                    The only rational conclusion is that you forgot to say in your first post that "pretty good for Los Angeles" is also "horrible". Perhaps you had too many beers at Sonny's !

                                                                    1. re: deanalt

                                                                      My first post when I went in, I asked for one clam to try. Mike, the manager gave me 6 to try. Each clam had a belly and was pretty good. Based on that, I convinced my husband to go for lunch the next day. We sat at the bar and I specified that I wanted clams with the bellies. The bartender/server said that she couldn't guarantee that as they came in as strips plus bellies. My only thought is that Mike hand-picked the clams I was served. I asked for Mike but he wasn't there.

                                                                      1. re: lizziee

                                                                        Ok, thanks for the clarification. I did talk to a manager named Mike there a couple of weeks back and he told me they only have belly clams (I had read that, some time ago, they did mix them), so I surmise that you got some miniscule bellies. If I were you, I would have called this Mike the next day and complained about the quality control. Obviously, they do have some decent clams. If I try them, I will be sure to ask for what I want and go when this Mike is there.
                                                                        Thanks again.

                                                                        1. re: deanalt

                                                                          I wrote an email to Mike and haven't heard back. Will let you know if he responds.

                                                                          1. re: lizziee

                                                                            Looking up in this thread (to find other places people found clams in LA), I coincidentally find that you said:

                                                                            << Had them once and they were horrible >>.

                                                                            back in august of 2008. Yet, you went back for a free sample after that in 2009? How many times over the years have you tried their fried belly clams?Kindly clarify. Inquiring minds want to know!

                                                                            1. re: deanalt

                                                                              I went back to try their clams based on this thread. I trusted Chowhound and their recs re fried clams with the bellies. For the record I left a $7.00 tip for 6 clams.

                                                                              1. re: lizziee

                                                                                Well, those six hand picked clams must have been good. You may leave some holes in your posts, but I will say this: "you are one great tipper". Although if I believe what I just heard from the well-reputed Neptune Oyster house in Boston, they charge more than $1 per clam, so perhaps this is 'market pricing'!

                                                                                In any event, it looks like you are pickier (or less desperate for fried clams) than the average LA chowhound denizen here!

                                                                                Coincidentally,I will be in Boston for the first time in a decade soon, and so I'll have a good basis for rating what I finally taste here in LA. I'm sure I will notice a big difference but settle for what I can get here.

                                                                    2. re: lizziee

                                                                      I agree with you for the most part...there is definitely too much batter on the clam bellies...but the last time I visited Sonny McClean's, I was served all bellies, and while not excellent, I would not go so far to say they were horrible!...Just fair!!

                                                                      Fortunately, work takes me to N.E. once a month, so I get to satisfy my craving at the Clam Box or Woodman's in Essex! Yum!!

                                                                      1. re: TravelPath

                                                                        I've had the Sonny McClean's Clam Roll 3 times in my 7 years in LA. Each time was to satisfy an insatiable craving and each time I think eh its not great but it will do for now. I think the lack of Supply of Ipswich Clams makes this a loosing Proposition. It becomes too Cost prohibitive to serve a good Clam Roll @ Sonny's since they are only charging $13. A 1/2 Pint of Ipswich Clams in Mattapoisett where it is a local Catch is $15. Add airfare, handling and a Santa Monica Surcharge, and McClean's probably would have to charge near between $15 and $20 to make it work with out reducing the quality of the product. This is why I was so hopeful of Lawton's since they had a Place back east they might have been able to reduce the Cost of getting product from Back east.

                                                                        Though i'm hopeful for the future of Fried Clams in LA. If Enough people make noise maybe a proprietor will get the Picture. When I got to LA, Pizza was barely Serviceable and now look at the options

                                                                        Take care

                                                                        - P.

                                                                        1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                                                                          It seems you are suggesting that Sonny's consciously doesn't buy the best clams available to them, because their clientele won't pay for it. There price certainly seems fair enough. If that's so, wouldn't there be somewhere in LA with great clams albeit at a greater price? Doesn't seem to be any?

                                                                          If we had someone who really knew how to fry 'em, perhaps we could pool our money to buy a batch or two, letting the chef eat for free!

                                                                          Are you a real food critic, or just someone who loves to write about food?
                                                                          Thanks for your comments.

                                                                          1. re: deanalt

                                                                            I am not a professional reviewer unless you count my forays into chowhound since 2002 and the fact that I met my wife because of Chowhound and she is a prolific poster.

                                                                            But Back to the Clams. I am not suggesting their clams are bad though they are not as Sweet as Lawtons or most of the ones I've had back east but I'll give you a reason they might be stretching the Clams with Batter. To ship a Gallon of fresh shucked Clams for Massachusetts using Fedex standard Delivery is 253.18. so divide that out to a half Pint serving which is normal for a Clam Roll the Cost is 15.83. so If this is the way they do it the Clam roll @ 13 is loosing money. But, if they add less Clams and more batter they can lower the Cost of the Clam roll. They have knack for doing this. Their lobster roll when I brought my wife Dommy there, had a fair amount of ground shrimp in the mix used as filler.

                                                                            There are still Places to Get Ipswich Fried Clams in LA. Ford's Filling station has a Clam roll on their Lunch Menu. I have not had it though because when I had the Clam appetizer that they offer on the dinner menu the clams were overcooked. But I still should go an try it to see what its like and if they use the proper bun. and Jar has an Ipswich Clam App for $17. But Fords nor Jar have the ambience of a clam shack which is Why I miss Lawton's. They did it right, sort of.

                                                                            1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                                                                              According to their menu, the lobster roll is all lobster now
                                                                              http://www.sonnymcleans.com/menus.html

                                                                              1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                                                                                I don't mind nicer ambiance, as long as it doesn't come with high prices, especially for mediiocre clams. At least with Sonny's, it sounds like the price is reasonable. Also, I just want the most clams per dollar, no roll, no nothing getting in the way. Doesn't Sonny's have a plate of more clams for a bit more money?

                                                                                You mention Ford's and Jar but I don't think the reviews were glowing on their clams (didn't sound any better than Sonny's) and the price seemed higher. I live near Bluewater Grill and they also seemed to have expensive, small portion. so so clams, so I don't plan to try it. I don't want to get addicted to anything that is expensive and mediocre! I feel ripped off. That's just me.

                                                                                Perhaps, if this guy at FFFF in Hermosa Beach comes through, I'll have a new find for you, since it sounds like you would like their beachy, fish shack ambience, though their prices may not be cheap, being almost right on the pier! If you care to call and add your voice to the chorus (of one, so far) of people wanting belly clams, the owner is a Gary Vincent, though I think he is out of town, in Boston, until about May 1. Maybe, leave him a message and he'll bring some more clams back with him! FFFF # is 310-379-5550.

                                                                                1. re: deanalt

                                                                                  Sonny's does have a clamplate

                                                                                  menus are her http://www.sonnymcleans.com/menus.html

                                                                                  1. re: LisaN

                                                                                    I posted a photo of the clam plate at Sonny's above.

                                                                                    Here it is again.

                                                                                    The second photo is what was inside - to the right the clam - to the left just batter.

                                                                                     
                                                                                     
                                                              2. re: deanalt

                                                                Just to follow up on my post above about Fat Face Fenner's Fishack, though before the May 1 2009 date, since it is so close by, I stopped by FFFF and had a cheeseburger, in order to sample the atmosphere, before daring to bring my spouse, who isn't a bar type, to put it mildly. Mid-day, during the week, it was quiet and so any of the stories I'd read about it being a rough place with nasty bouncers probably only applies after 9 PM on a Friday or Saturday night, so I won't go then. For what it's worth, it definitely is what you would expect of a fish shack near the beach - so my wife may not care for the place for a dinner, but I'll twist her arm to go since she really wants clams. I also heard they had great burgers and so I ordered one and it was definitely one of the best I've had, for between $8 and $9, as I recall.

                                                                In any event, if the belly clams do come in, I will be trying them and reporting back here. Is anyone else interested?

                                                                1. re: deanalt

                                                                  Yes, most definitely, let us know when you try them how they are.

                                                                  1. re: deanalt

                                                                    Please, please, please!!! After reading through all of these posts I was psyched up and then let down horribly!

                                                                    I would drive to Hermosa for fried clams if they are decent and better than Sonny's which is not very far from me. Thanks!!

                                                                    1. re: Phurstluv

                                                                      So it sounds like Lizziee is not the only one who doesn't like Sonny's fried clams. I'm actually slightly excited about trying them.

                                                                      Ok, I will let you know if they indeed arrive at FFFF My only fear is that, not having had the real thing in 10 years, I will not be a tough enough critic for you folks. The only thing I've had in those 10 yrs is clams at a place called Kelly's Landing in Fort Lauderdale. I loved them, but I'm not sure they held a candle to the ones I used to get at Kelly's Roast Beef in Revere Mass, not to mention a place like the Clam Box I keep hearing about. You always remember good stuiff in your past as being even better than it really was.

                                                                      What I will probably do is try both Sonny's and this new place so I can at least compare the two.

                                                                      Please don't get your hopes up too high, in case it doens't work out.

                                                                      The odd timing thing is that, after a decade away, I will be in Dedham MA in late May and will finally have the real thing, but that will be after I've sampled these local ones and offered a somewhat uninformed opinion! Just before would have been better.

                                                                      1. re: deanalt

                                                                        After a few unreturned calls, I finally connected with FFFF's owner, Gary, and he said he just returned from Boston (which I know to be true) and got his new supplier in place (Chatham Fish Market) and is waiting for a few more 70 degrees days (I guess because he's right at the pier) to order a bushel of clams. Says he expects it will be the week before Memorial Day (which is when I am in Boston for a few days) or the week after. My sense is that I should remind him just before I leave town, so let's hope for the week after, at which point, I'll have the memory of the real thing fresh in my head, for a good assessment.

                                                                        Cross your fingers. I'll report back.

                                                                        1. re: deanalt

                                                                          You're such a good soldier, deanalt, and taking one for the team!

                                                                          1. re: Phurstluv

                                                                            Try again to post!

                                                                            I had trouble getting owner gary Vincent at FFFF in Hermosa to return calls at some point so I'm not sure he ever actually ordered the clams and I finally gave up. You can call him at 310-379-5550. Aftre 10+ yrs, I happened to get back to Boston and pigged out several times on really good clams, some with bellies so big, I didn't even want to eat them (guess that makes me a bit of a clam wimp), which convinces me that I might be happy with the clams at Sonny's, which I will try someday, or that place near Anaheim.. I pass the torch to whomever wants to carry it at FFFF. Sorry!

                                                                            1. re: deanalt

                                                                              I will be trying Sonny's when the kids are back in school, in a couple of weeks, SIGH...

                                                            2. I am sad that Lawtons closed. I had really wanted to try it.
                                                              Anyway at the Fairfax Farmers Market they have fried clams. I mean I am not a fried clams critic but I thought they were good. The fries are pretty yummy too.

                                                              I love Lobster rolls. The best I had eaten (never tried them in Boston or Maine) were in Conn and a place in DC. I hear that HungryCats has them. I went there only to find that they are only offered at lunch. So I'll have to go back and see.

                                                              7 Replies
                                                              1. re: jerseygirldawn

                                                                What a tease! I've been desperately searching for fried clams, too. The "best" I can find is some foodservice grade "popcorn-clam" style offerings at the Riverside Airport Cafe...reminds me of the frozen food we used to be able to get until they stopped selling them in the grocery store a few years ago.

                                                                1. re: jerseygirldawn

                                                                  I assume these clams at the Farmer's Market were strips? No bellies, right?

                                                                  1. re: deanalt

                                                                    yes strips, but not too bad flavor

                                                                  2. re: jerseygirldawn

                                                                    When I get hungry for fried clams, either Fairfax Farmers Market or Clancy's in Glendale are places I like to go for them!

                                                                    1. re: JosephEBacon

                                                                      Where at the Fairfax FM do you get them? I assume at the Gumbo Pot?

                                                                      1. re: GK in SO

                                                                        At the seafood place on the side of the market closest to the Grove. Clams are mediocre IMO. And no bellies.

                                                                        1. re: Charles Pepper

                                                                          OK, that place is called Tesquela's (or something like that).

                                                                          I'm not surprised at your assessment of them, based on my experience w/the place's overpriced, mediocre quality seafood. What I am surprised at is that this place has been around for decades serving the same mediocre, uninspired seafood to tourists and LA folk alike.

                                                                  3. a new place opening on Ocean Ave in SM in September, called Blue Plate Oysterette says they will have them. looking forward to checking them out.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Mateo R

                                                                      I am also, will be shocked if they're not frozen strips....

                                                                    2. How about steamed Ipswich Clams? Thats a tough one!

                                                                      1. We were at the Los Alamitos Fish Company last week and noticed that there were fried whole belly Ipswich clams on the appetizer specials list...and at $10, not too expensive! As I had just returned from New England with a full "belly" of clams, I did not order them but I saw them served to a number of tables and they looked quite good!

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: TravelPath

                                                                          As it stands, Alamitos is best place to get them... but the dipping sauces they serve with them are vile... argh!

                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/79317

                                                                          --Dommy!

                                                                        2. Oh, I'm so depressed. I just read this thread from the top and at first thought, OMG!!!!! There is a Lawtons here in LA? I grew up near the original. We always jokingly called it "Lawtons By The Sea" because it was squeezed onto the sidewalk next to the Lawrence MA canal. It is a tiny little shack that overlaps the sidewalk. There is actually a fire hydrant inside the joint. Anyway, we always had their hot dogs which were famous for their "secret" recipe which was basically that they were deep fried. Yummm. Anyway, I was soooooo excited because even now when I travel back east, I always try to get to Lawtons at least once.........But now I read that they were here and now are gone. Sooooooo sad! I missed it!

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: junipero

                                                                            Junipero, you may not be able to get the clams w/bellies that you love, but try Fab's Hot Dogs in Reseda for their deep fried hot dog "The Ripper".

                                                                            You won't be sorry!

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Fab Hot Dogs (location as of May 2010)
                                                                            19417 Victory Blvd, Reseda, CA 91335

                                                                          2. Thanks. I have a friend who lives on Tampa. Next time i visit....