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Fried Clams w/ Bellies

w
wehojoel Aug 29, 2008 04:58 PM

Where in the LA/SaMo area can you get Fried Clams w/ Bellies. Not those HoJo Strips. The Real McCoy. Grew up in Rhode Island and miss Aunt Carries Fried Clams in Narragansett.

  1. k
    krick Sep 13, 2009 11:10 AM

    Found fried ipswich clams w/bellies at Bluewater Grill in Newport last night (there are locations in Tustin and Redondo also).

    First some background - I grew up on the East Coast eating fried clams w/bellies up and down the eastern seaboard. I've tried the fried clams at Lawton's when they were open and thought they were mediocre at best and didn't come remotely close to the better places back east. I've found them on occasion elsewhere in Cali, and even the best I've had out here didn't really measure up. . . until last night.

    These were, bar none, the best fried claims I've had outside of the East Coast.. Other than their size, which was a bit smaller than I prefer, they were pretty much perfect. Fresh, rich, sea taste, light batter. . .just awesome. Way overpriced in an absolute sense ($22 for an order with fries and coleslaw), but in light of the fact that they are the only fried clams out here that I've found that I would not only order again but actually go out of my way to have, I'd pay $30 for them in a heartbeat.

    One caveat though - this is based on a single experience so it's possible that it was lightning in a bottle so YMMV. I've found Bluewater to be inconsistent in the past, so notwithstanding my praise of last night's clams, I'm still reserving judgement until I have them there a few more times.

    2 Replies
    1. re: krick
      t
      TravelPath Sep 13, 2009 01:26 PM

      While I enjoyed the clams at Bluewater Grill (I enjoy all clams!!), they were a little overcooked...maybe because of their small size...quite good, but not up to Ipswich standards (which is where I was last week). We had the whole belly clam appetizer at Los Alamitos Fish Company last night...they were perfect...pricey, but perfect. Now, if they could only get their tartar sauce right, I would be completely happy!

      1. re: TravelPath
        h
        handlertaper Sep 13, 2009 05:26 PM

        A while ago, I had very good fried ipswich clams at JAR. Not as good as east coast clams but very good for California ones.

    2. j
      Jack Flash Aug 29, 2008 11:08 PM

      Pardon my ignorance, but what's the difference between strips & bellies? Isn't a clam a clam?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jack Flash
        sbritchky Aug 30, 2008 01:06 AM

        "Isn't a clam a clam"? All clams are clams but some clams are more so, not to mention morsels.

        See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clam_roll for explanations and references.

        1. re: sbritchky
          n
          New Trial Aug 30, 2008 12:12 PM

          Morsels but not mussels.

      2. l
        LisaN Aug 29, 2008 05:02 PM

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/546615

        4 Replies
        1. re: LisaN
          w
          wehojoel Aug 29, 2008 05:13 PM

          Thanks. When I did a search I didn't see that post. I've been to Ford's twice. First time i wasn't impressed, second time a bit better as for going again who knows. I guess what I'm looking for is something cheaper or family style. Kinda like a clam shack. I'll have to try a few of those listed in that previous post. Thanks

          1. re: wehojoel
            Mattapoisett in LA Aug 29, 2008 05:18 PM

            Lawton's are the best I have found on the West Coast. There are a couple of Places in the Bay area that come close though. and the Setting next to the Ferris wheel is great with the sea breeze coming onshore.

            Warning though don't order the Clam roll, its made with strips The Bellied Clams are a separate plate.

            Take Care

            - P.

            1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
              w
              wehojoel Aug 29, 2008 05:26 PM

              Yes the Bay Area has a few places. I like Swans for the raw oysters and clams. yummy!

              1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
                maxzook Aug 29, 2008 07:05 PM

                Mattapoisett:

                I should probably defer to your wisdom on this since I haven't lived in New England for over twenty-five years.

                But growing up in CT and spending many summers on the Cape, Block Island and the Maine coast, I can remember clam rolls made with strips, and fried clam plates made with bellies, but I don't remember ever having a clam roll that was made with bellies.

                Given the relatively small New-England-style rolls, wouldn't it be kinda awkward to get more than a few full-size bellies into the roll?

                At any rate, Lawton's clam roll may be made with strips but it's still the best I've ever had outside New England.

                UPDATE: Okay, I found this:

                http://www.arnoldsrestaurant.com/menu...

                I'm pretty sure I remember this place, and sure enough they have clam rolls with bellies.

                I wonder if you could get Lawton's to sell you some empty rolls and tartar sauce along with a belly plate -- sort of a make-your-own deal?

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