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FRIED CLAM STRIPS, TRIP FROM NYC TO BOSTON?

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ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR GREAT FRIED CLAM STRIPS ON ROADTRIP BETWEEN NYC AND BOSTON? HOW ABOUT LOBSTER ROLLS?
COULD ROUTE THROUGH PROVIDENCE RI IF NECESSARY.

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  1. Ummm... strips? Really? Not actual whole clams, but strips cut from sea clams or quahaugs? I'm not even sure that's legal in MA.

    All kidding aside, if you really want strips, my daughter eats them, (why, I don't know) and would recommend either the Clam Box in Ipswich, Ma (where you will get funny looks, or be introduced to really good whole clams), or Kelly's on Revere Beach, MA.

    For lobster rolls, I'd recommend Bob Lobster in Newburyport (towards Plum Island) for the sheer quantity and quality of lobster meat you'll get in that grilled, buttered New England hot dog roll.

    I'm sure others across MA and RI will offer other suggestions.

    1. I'm sorry you can't get a straight answer here without a a bit of snark as well. I myself dislike whole bellied clam immensely so I can relate to your request. I would second the suggestion of the Clam Box in Ipswich or Woodman's in that same area.

      1 Reply
      1. re: GSM

        I prefer the whole ones myself, so I cannot speak from personal experience but Lenny & Joe's in Madison CT (off exit 61 Hammonaset Beach on 95) has very good fried seafood, so I would assume the strips are good. They have a more formal sit down place in Saybrook. Sea swirl in Mystic is also good

      2. You can get to Maine Fish Market Restaurant in East Windsor, CT (the Warehouse Point area) from I-91.

        Just went for lunch yesterday. I had fried sea scallops (EXCELLENT), my aunt had fried claims, my mom had fried oysters. We were three very happy (and full) diners. :) Strips and bellies are available. Can't personally vouch for their lobster rolls, but I see they are on the menu, too...and you can check out a photo on the link to their lunch menu:
        http://www.mainefishmarket.com/

        If you do decide to travel via Providence, consider stopping in Clinton, CT to go to Lobster Landing. My mom, the lobster lover, loves Lobster Landing even more than Lenny & Joe's (and she's been going to L&J's for 20+ years almost weekly). Both are highly recommended.

        One more for the CT shoreline: Johnny Ad's in Old Saybrook...and they have great lobster bisque, too.

        -----
        Lobster Landing
        152 Commerce St, Clinton, CT

        Maine Fish Market Restaurant
        60 Bridge St, East Windsor, CT 06088

        13 Replies
        1. re: kattyeyes

          THANKS ALL FOR YOUR RECS
          I GREW UP LOVING HOWARD JOHNSON'S FRIED CLAMS AS MY FAVORITE FOOD. I LIVE IN MICHIGAN AND CANNOT FIND ANYTHING LIKE THEM HERE SINCE HOWARD JOHNSONS DISAPPEARED. VISITED MAINE AND MASSACHUSETTS 2 YEARS AGO AND WAS IN HEAVEN. LOVED THE CLAMS AT THE CLAM BOX IN IPSWICH AND BOB'S (I THINK THAT WAS THE NAME) IN KITTERY ACCROSS THE STREET FROM THE OUTLET MALL. HEAVENLY LOBSTER ROLLS AT RED'S IN WISCASSET MAINE.
          SORRY BUT I HAVE TRIED THE FULL BELLY CLAMS AND THEY ARE NOT FOR ME.
          KEEP UP THE RECS---ESPECIALLY ON MY ROUTE DRIVING FROM NEW YORK CITY TO BURLINGTON MASS. THANKS AGAIN.

          1. re: SASSYMI2

            PS: WE PLAN ON VISTING NEWBURYPORT AND THE BEAC AT PLUM ISLAND WE ENJOY.

            1. re: SASSYMI2

              If you go to Newburyport, I would definitely second the recommendation of Bob Lobster on Plum Island. All their fried fare is top quality, as well as their lobster rolls. But really, unlock your "cap lock" button....you are giving me a headache!

            2. re: SASSYMI2

              Flanders Fish Market is right off Rte 95 in East Lyme CT. The address is: 22 Chesterfield Rd., East Lyme, CT. Its both a restaurant and high volume fish market so everything is super fresh and well prepared. Huge menu should satisfy anyone in the group. A good stop from NYC at about the half way point.

              1. re: SASSYMI2

                While in Burlington you could try the Fish House on Cambridge street. I've always enjoyed the fried seafood there. I've never had a lobster roll, though.

                1. re: SASSYMI2

                  I too have fond memories of the clam strips at HOJOs although I am firmly in the clambelly club now. I agree with all the Ipswich Clam Box recommendations. As for the lobster rolls, if you take about a 15 minute detour off rte 95 (via 495 E) to Norton, MA, there is a little joint called Emma's. I had an awesome lobster roll there about a week ago, which rivaled the best one I ever had, at a quaint harborside spot in Stonington, Maine (forgot the name, if I ever knew it in the first place!)

                  1. re: Brouillard

                    Oh Yah, I remember those HOJO days, we used to call them 'rubber bands', breaded and frozen, yum. Now it's The Clam Box large belly's for me.

                    1. re: treb

                      Here we go with this again...

                      Its like if a person only ever had a hamburger at mcdonalds 30 years ago and has decided that all hamburgers are gross now regardless of where/how they are made and will only eat steaks now. 2 different things.

                      Some people dont like whole clams, im one of them, i find them repulsive. You have the "neck" (really the butt) part that is more rubbery usually then most any strip. Then you have the gooey belly with all that black crud in it (and if your lucky some nice sand). Gross. But at least i have tried them at all the best places before deciding they are not for me.

                      There is no comparing a hojo rubberband frozen strip to freshly made ones at a place like the Clam Box .

                      1. re: hargau

                        Mmmmm...That kinda gives me the hankering for a nice big plate of those fried clam butts with gooey ,black, sandy, cruddy bellies. With a side of tarter of course. :-)

                        1. re: CapeCodGuy

                          LOL! My point is, I just dont understand why that whenever someone asks about clam strips on CH, people always have to come out that do not add anything to their original question. Just posting to tell them they have lousy taste in food basically and why their taste is so much better. I dont see it happening with any other food type. If someone comes on asking for a place with good softserve ice cream, people answer. They dont go on a rant telling them how they shouldnt eat softserve and that softserve is an inferior type of ice cream straight from a carton and that they should get hard ice cream at such and such place. Or if someone asks about hotdogs people dont go on rants telling them hamburgers are the better food.....etc... So why does it happen EVERY time with clam strips?

                          1. re: hargau

                            Interesting question. I think it probably has to do with the area in which we live. For the rest of the country, "fried clams" are fried strips. The most common craving I hear from friends who move away is for fried whole clams with bellies. It's one of the few things that is truly unique to New England cuisine. A good clam strip plate can be okay, as they can be sweet and tender, but to real afficianados, no bellies mean none of the complex flavors that local clams are famous for, although its not a taste and consistancy that is universal for sure.

                            Oh, if you ever have a chance to try real egg frozen custard, you'll never be satisfied with soft serve again! :-)

                        2. re: hargau

                          HARGAU,

                          THANKS FOR STICKING UP FOR ME AGAINST ALL THOSE "BELLY BULLIES". TRIED BELLIES---PREFER STRIPS--SORRY.
                          GOING TO NEW ENGLAND TO GET FRESH CLAM STRIPS. CAN ONLY GET LOUSY FROZEN IMATATIONS IN MIDWEST.

                    2. re: SASSYMI2

                      See the link on the weloveclams.com website:
                      http://www.weloveclams.com/strips.html for a history of clam strips.

                      Try the Clam Castle
                      1324 Boston Post Rd., Madison, CT
                      203-245-4911

                      They've been there for more than 40 years. Off exit 62 I-95, about half way from NYC to Boston. Great food, and rustic clam shack atmosphere

                  2. SEA SWIRL IN MYSTIC! SEA SWIRL IN MYSTIC! SEA SWIRL IN MYSTIC!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Lausten14

                      I am very curious about the Sea Swirl. Tell us more!

                      1. re: Brouillard

                        Sea Swirl info here. Ate there two years ago when in Mystic and enjoyed very much. Had whole bellies and scallops - very yummy although I prefer whole bellies on the Cape. Sea Swirl's were smaller but that could just be what was fresh and available at the time.

                        http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Write...

                    2. Easy access from the Mass Pike are Ronnie's in Charlton and Auburn, MA. Auburn is closer. Get off at rt 290 and take rt 12 to Auburn. Ronnie's is across from the Harley Dealer. It's no more than 15 minutes out of your way.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: trufflehound

                        How far off the Pike?? would like to try.. Cape Codder here I travel out that way once a month

                        1. re: chef24

                          I would say no more than a 20 minute detour. Thanks.

                      2. Sea Swirl is literally a road side ice cream stand - it is seasonally open so check first before heading over to it. They have YUMMY friend clams and the best fish sandwich around anywhere.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: bostongal

                          I know this is off-topic but Sea Swirl also has an excellent lobster roll....

                          1. re: chowmensch

                            Not off topic at all. Looking for great lobster rolls as well as clams. Thanks. May have to try Sea Swirl for both.

                        2. Lenny and Joes in Madison and Clinton!

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: SASSYMI2

                            Sea Swirl in Mystic...you gotta go. We live locally and it's the best place for fried seafood around!

                            1. re: bakinggirl

                              Thanks for all your input. By the way, this trip is in mid July--so summer stands are in play.

                              1. re: bakinggirl

                                Sea Swirl, no no no. Closest clam shack to Mystic Seaport so gets a lot of walking traffic but a rip-off IMHO. Thanks to other posts on this board I discovered the COVE Fishmarket http://www.covefishmarket.com/. Wonderful. After one lunch there we went back every day. Their lobster roll had twice the meat of the Sea Swirl for $1 more. They also grill the roll in butter so it doesn't have that "plain old hotdog bun" taste. I hate spending $15 for a sandwich and getting it on a dull hotdog bun.Their clam bellies are great and so I'll bet that their strips are also. And the fried cod sandwich to swoon for (also choose cod for the fish and chips, the flounder was not so impressive). Cove - go! Sea Swirl - no!

                                1. re: sherrylr

                                  To be fair, most of the recommendations for Sea Swirl relate to the whole belly clams, so telling folks not to go because you found a spot that sells a better lobster roll might be a bit misleading. There is absolutely no argument to be made that the clams at Sea Swirl are substandard.

                              2. re: few

                                Right on, bakinggirl! Both Lenny&Joes and Johnny Ad's have better clam strips than Clam Castle IMHO.

                              3. Try Captain Scott's in New London for a great Lobster Roll. Also try the bisque. BYOB. Expect long lines on good weekends.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Otto of Ledyard

                                  Where is New London?

                                  1. re: SASSYMI2

                                    New London is on the Thames River (pronounced THames with a hard TH and not as the British pronounce "Tems") in SE Connecticut. New London is on the west side of the river, Groton on the east side. Captain Scott's Fish Dock is downtown in the Shaw's Cove area off of Columbus Circle. Worth a try on a nice summer evening!

                                2. Turk's, in West Haven, CT, 425 Captain Thomas Blvd., 06516, (203) 933-4552, is supposed to be one of the better places for fried clams! I had good clam strips recently at Archie Moore's, in New Haven.

                                  1. I too have have fond memories of HOJO strips (though I had somehow forgotten them, thanks for bringing them back) I had soem very good whole clams yesterday at Westville Fish, just off exit 59 on the Merritt/wilbur Cross. I have to assume their strips would also be good. It is a drive in type of place so you eat with a view of a sometimes busy road, or they did open up a dining room with cocktails etc. so you can eat inside

                                    1. I would strongly recommend Lenny and Joe's Fish Tale in Madison, but with one caveat: there is no worse way to travel from New York to Boston than via 95. You couldn't pay me to do it, and I love to drive.
                                      Luckily, you have a few options. The sanest would probably be to never let your tires touch 95*, and just get your clam strips at Kelly's Roast beef in Revere, MA, after you've reached Boston. You could also take 95 as far as Madison - or bypass it from NYC to Milford, CT* - eat at the Fish Tale, hop back on 95 as far as East Lyme, then switch to 395 north to the Mass Turnpike (90). If you want to hit Mystic, or anywhere in Rhode Island, then you're stuck on 95, and good luck with that.
                                      * If you want to skip 95, take the Henry Hudson Parkway / West Side Highway, to the Saw Mill River Parkway, to the Cross County Parkway, to the Hutchinson River Parkway, which becomes the Merritt Parkway (15) when you get to Connecticut. To go straight to Boston, you stay on 15 until you get to 91 North in Meriden, take that to 84 East in Hartford, and take that to 90 East in Sturbridge, MA. If you want to go to the Fish Tale, follow the above directions to the Merritt Parkway, and follow it until you get to 95 North in Milford, CT. That might all sound complicated, but it's a more direct route and avoids an enormous amount of traffic.

                                      17 Replies
                                      1. re: Scargod

                                        I agree with danielj. personally I would rather take a poke in the eye with a sharp stick than drive I95, (though I am a big fan of L&J's fishtale) It is faster safer and much more pleasant to go the 15-91-84-90 route. to Boston

                                        1. re: mmalmad

                                          I forget how lucky I am that I can just take Route 9 south (or 154, if Route 9 is a mess) to get to L&J's or anywhere else on the CT shore. I agree 95 is a monstrosity--esp. in the summer. Avoiding traffic gets us all to good food quicker with less stress. ;)

                                          Enjoy the ride--and the food--wherever you're headed!

                                          1. re: mmalmad

                                            I appreciate the advice that I 95 is not the best route from NYC to Boston. Does everyone agree with that?
                                            If I take 15-91-84-90 where will I find my great fried clam strips and lobster rolls along that route?

                                            1. re: SASSYMI2

                                              If you've read all the posts and you wish to skip I-95, the that may be "best" for you. You will miss all the opportunities on I-95, and I know of only one place, on all of 15 (The Merritt Parkway), where you can get clam strips: Westville Seafood, 1514 Whalley Ave., New Haven, CT 06515. (203) 397-3474 This is just off exit 59 (very close-easy off-on!).
                                              I found one, very new review on Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/westville-sea...
                                              I have not eaten there, don't know the hours, etc.
                                              Max's Oyster Bar in Hartford, 7 miles off I-90, is a fancy place with lobster rolls.
                                              I think your pickin's are going to be awfully small if you skip I-95.

                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                How many places does one need for a 4 1/2 hour drive? One?

                                                1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                  According to Passadumkeg's and Scargod's Road Trip rules, if there is a good barbecue spot or taco stand in sight we stop. Any of these for breakfast, brunch, snack, lunch, tide-me-over, dinner or late night snack.
                                                  At least three stops.

                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                    OK, but you both have admitted you had a pretty "caloric" trip--I wonder how many stops SASSYMI2 intends to make each way?

                                                    OP, Is your plan to be "fat and sassy" (a favorite expression of an old friend)? 'cause if you hit all these places, you will be not only that, but really sick of clams and lobster rolls, I suspect. ;) Perhaps your goal is to choose the best 4 or 5 spots and divvy them up coming and going?

                                                  2. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                    Again, I agree w/ my Texas soul brother, Scargod. If there are 4 great clam shacks in a 4 hour drive, I stop 4 times.

                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                      What about the stops on the return from the farthest point? Sounds like a seven stop trip to me.................

                                                      Whole belly fried with lemon......mmmmmm

                                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                                        You haven't read this thread man! Whole bellies are gross and squishy....clam strips are the chow they are seeking.

                                                  3. re: Scargod

                                                    Max;s in Hartford is nowhere near I-() which is the Mass Tpk,
                                                    Did you mean I-91?

                                                    At the Brainerd Rd exit at the south end of Hartford is USS Chowder Pot IV (they also have a location in Branford) www.chowderpot.com

                                                    Their fried shellfish is more than adequate, but I am not a fan of strips and usually have the oysters.

                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                      Yea, I meant I-91, but my finger slipped :)

                                                      I went to the Chowder Pot website. I don't know whether I can stand the excitement and seeming kitsch of the place. Their teeny-tiny video was too much.
                                                      I hope I'm not besmirching a more than adequate restaurant, but is this a high-end Red Lobster for adults (and don't forget the kids)? Waiters in waistcoats and ties? There's an area where you can watch movies while you eat and live entertainment?
                                                      I and II are no more?

                                                      1. re: Scargod

                                                        The Chowder Pot is awful, and a search of the board would pretty much back that up. Calling it a Red Lobster is a kindness...particularly when there is so much better seafood around.

                                                        1. re: hollerhither

                                                          Agreed! Went once, because it was highly recommended by a local restauranteur whom I admire greatly. We had to wait for a table, so we sat at the bar. Should have stayed there, it was much more festive than the giant room we eventually ate dinner in.
                                                          The only thing memorable was the rice pilaf. Don't even remember what my entree was, but probably fried oysters or scallops.
                                                          Maine Seafood, mentioned elsewhere, is much much better, and only a short hop of I-91 in Windsor.

                                                      2. re: bagelman01

                                                        If the OP is traveling I-91, she should disregard the Chowder Pot and keep heading north to East Windsor (Warehouse Point) for Maine Fish Market. Their sides don't do it for me, but their fried seafood is EXCELLENT. Their fried sea scallops are the absolute BEST I've ever eaten anywhere, and that's including the CT shore...because since my initial posting above, I've been on a bit of a quest for sea scallops as good as theirs, and THEY WIN.

                                                        -----
                                                        Maine Fish Market Restaurant
                                                        60 Bridge St, East Windsor, CT 06088

                                                    2. re: SASSYMI2

                                                      Take the 15/84/91/90, stop at Westville fish I have eaten there twice, whole clams only and they were great. OR Glennwood Drive in off exit 61, go right and it is about a mile on left, I have never had the clams but they look good, had a soft shell crab yesterday that was great and they have amongst the best dogs around

                                                  4. re: danieljdwyer

                                                    Yeah, as a Lenny & Joe's supporter I can also highly recommend Kelly's if you don't want to detour. Plus you can get a roast beef sandwich for the road!

                                                  5. I'm not sure if I'm late to this trip or not, but in the spirit of HoJo's---try the lobster roll at the D'Angelo's near the Burlington Mall. Really; it's not the fanciest, but the price is right (three sizes, starting at $6.99).
                                                    And I'm not crazy for whole belly clams, either. Too squishy.

                                                    9 Replies
                                                    1. re: cgj

                                                      Yep...just like Hojos...frozen Canadian lobster meat in heavy mayo on a hot dog roll can be had at any D'Angelo's...not just the special one in Burlington.

                                                      1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                        HA HA HA!!! :) Love your clarification, CapeCodGuy!

                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                          Thanks to all for so many rec's! The trip is in mid July and additional rec's are always welcome. Especially if I take the advice that I should avoid I 95.

                                                          1. re: SASSYMI2

                                                            Took a fried clam trip to New England. First time since I was a kid that I've been there. I ate at the Clam Box and Farnham's. Assumed Clam Box would be the best from all the reviews in various places. Farnham's was difinitely better. I think it was the grease, because I had whole clams and strips and there was a common less than appealing taste to both. It might have been an off day for the grease, don't know. Farnham's was great.
                                                            Dipsy Doodle in Northfield, NH is not bad, (especially their lobster roll), but probably not worth the trip if you can get to Farnham's.
                                                            Anybody else have a similar experience at Clam Box? I'll be back in a few years hopefully, and will give it another shot.

                                                            1. re: SASSYMI2

                                                              If you take the Merritt to I-91 to 84, you can get off of 84 in East Hartford immediately after transitioning from 91 and go to Mickey's Oceanic Grill. I am not going to sit here and tell you that it is an even-up substitute for Sea Swirl (my personal favorite) or Johnny Ad's along the shore. But it is the best and most authentic "Chow" spot for fried sea food between Meriden and Wooster.
                                                              Here is the Road Food write-up:
                                                              http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overv...

                                                              -----
                                                              Mickey's Oceanic Grill
                                                              119 Pitkin St East, Hartford, CT

                                                              1. re: FoodieJim

                                                                Oh. And one more thing. If one is making a road trip from NY to Boston with an eye toward getting some world-class seafood not otherwise available in one's local area, avoiding I-95 seems rather antithetical to the task. Just drive at off hours. Driving between the hours of 10:00-1:00 through CT is not going to give anyone the hives. I'd much rather drive on 95 (or even the Post Road) between Branford and Stonington and hit some top spots than to avoid the Coast and try to find suitable substitutes.

                                                                1. re: FoodieJim

                                                                  Hives! Made me chuckle.. I think you make a very good point. There are hours when it's not horrible. I do it and don't avoid it if I'm looking for food between NYC and New Haven. There's not that much within easy striking distance of the Merritt.
                                                                  Still, I think of those that hate, or are afraid of, busy highways and are not into taking NASCAR driving school. Yes, you could poke along US 1/Post Road. I've tried to identify some along the coast, off I-95, for those trips to NYC here: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&...
                                                                  What about Rowayton Seafood Restaurant in Darien?

                                                                  1. re: FoodieJim

                                                                    FJ, Very true. Follow the coast! The path to enlightenment is not always an easy path to follow. Fresh seafood is near the sea.

                                                                    1. re: FoodieJim

                                                                      When I first opened this apparent can of worms in the first place by suggesting that driving 95 all the way from New York to Boston really sucks, I was thinking mostly of 95 through Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts.
                                                                      Driving on 95 for part of the trip isn't so bad. That's why I suggested going to the Fish Tale in Madison, then taking 95 to 395. The Fish Tale has the best fried clams in the state. Sea Swirl is okay, but there are places at the end of the road in the Boston area that are better.
                                                                      And there's no clam related reason to drive 95 through Westchester and Fairfield counties. The folks down there only think they have decent fried clams because most of them don't ever come farther north. Might as well take the more scenic back road route.
                                                                      As long as people are getting into highway route naming in Connecticut - the state can call 15 whatever they like, but I've never heard anyone who grew up in New Haven county call it anything but the Merritt, even though we all see that sign at our end of the Sikorsky Bridge suggesting that maybe we should consider calling it the Wilbur Cross - I might as well point out that the Connecticut Turnpike, or more properly the Governor John Davis Lodge Turnpike, is 95 from Greenwich to East Lyme, then becomes 395 north. That's the route I would suggest.

                                                          2. you've all forgotten (or never been to) Dino's in North Haven and Nick's Char Pit in New Haven. Both are right off 91 and serve fried whole and strip clams and both serve up the New Haven original- Hummel's dog! No need to take the long shoreline route to Beantown these two Conn original joints will satisfy!!!

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: connguy

                                                              Dino's was very good, but has gone downhill the last few years. Also closed Mondays.

                                                              Nick's is vile. Avpid the celerysoup they call chowder.

                                                              SUGGESTION: see www.weloveclams.com website

                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                I usually get hot dogs at Nick's (they are great and) like I said, they are Hummels and as the name indicates, Char grilled so he'll make them nice and well done for ya. It saddens me that his seafood is sub par.

                                                            2. Strictly time-wise, there seems little difference in taking I-95 to I-395 versus cutting up to the Merritt/WCP, at any point, and going up I-91/I-84. I was playing with the Google Maps Driving Directions feature... (I use the Mt Vernon area of NYC for a starting/split point)

                                                              Any real-word experience about which is faster? I guess Google calculates everything at posted speed limits?
                                                              If you take a way which is a more pleasurable or which has less potential for congestion out of the equation, you could hit a lot of spots along the CT coast and make your decision at New Haven as to whether you have had your fill of clam strips by then or continue to I-395.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                                Where would you recommend off 95 between the city and New Haven? If you've had your fill before you get to New Haven, then you've missed all the decent clam strips New England has to offer.
                                                                Here are the places I know, none of which are good:
                                                                Rowayton Seafood has a number of problems. First off, I don't think they have clam strips, and if they do, they're beer battered. This is a New York City style seafood place. The fried seafood they do have is not from New England, and it's not New England in style.
                                                                Westfair Fish and Chips is decent, but just barely. The fried stuff is over breaded. The clam strips taste like clam flavored french fries. I'd be surprised if they change the fryer oil more than once a week.
                                                                You can get into places like Osetra in Norwalk, which I imagine considers itself too good for clam strips, and, like Rowayton Seafood, is a poor imitation of a New York City seafood place.
                                                                Then there's SONO Seaport Seafood, which is sort of like a cross between Rowayton Seafood and Westfair Fish. Everything is overbreaded and tastes like french fries, and you get to enjoy a complete lack of a New England atmosphere.
                                                                I think it says a lot that I lived in Fairfield County for over 20 years, ate fried clams at least once a week during the warm months, and the best place I know in the whole county uses frozen clam strips.
                                                                The West Haven options are better, but still not even close to any place past New Haven. Dino's and Jimmy's both used to be great. They haven't even been good for at least ten years now.
                                                                Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like a shame to get full before you even get to clam country.

                                                                Edit: This was in response to a post recommending taking 95 as far as New Haven. That post has since been needlessly censored.

                                                                1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                  I bow down to your holiness of clamminess. I have a lot to learn about clams and clam strips. I thought Archie Moore's clam strips were pretty good, but till I came here it was rare that you could find any in Dallas! I may have eaten clam strips ten times in my life. Archie Moore's had two fryers. Hmmm...chicken (for their famous wings), goes in one and everything else goes in the other! Not good. And I wouldn't know "perfect" battering if it smacked me in the face. Was I deleted again? They're getting trigger happy! ;)

                                                                2. re: Scargod

                                                                  I'd say take 95 until you pass New Haven and then get onto Route 1. Route one practically parallels 95 for most of the trip through CT, and takes you along the water through many lovely New England towns. It won't be as fast, but it is a lot nicer.

                                                                  Also, I second Sea Swirl. They are renown for their wholebellies, and also have the best fish n' chips I've had in SE CT (and I've lived there all of my life). They are a nice thick piece of cod (none of that skimpy, skinny stuff) dipped in the perfect batter: its creamy, and crunchy, it coats the fish evenly with a strong delicious appearance, but nevertheless lets the thick, flaky, moist fish take the spotlight! And yes, their lobster roll is great!

                                                                3. How about Captain Marden's in Wellelsey, MA? You can get of the Mass Pike in Natick, drive to Wellelsey, and then get on to I95 to get to Burlington.

                                                                  23 Replies
                                                                  1. re: lbfoody

                                                                    I'm taking a weekend day trip to Old greenwich from NYC. i don't know the area in ct all that well. is there anywhere mentioned in this thread that is easily along the way that is worth trying? Would love to have some fresh fried seafood on the water!

                                                                    1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                      What do clam strips have to do with fresh fried seafood? Nothing fresh about them!

                                                                      1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                                        Fresh clam strips might be a rarity, but fresh fried seafood and clam strips are not mutually exclusive. Some places do use quahogs they've shucked themselves.

                                                                        1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                          Where? I'd like to try that.

                                                                          1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                                            A quick search shows that scores of places claim to use freshly sliced clam strips. The only clam shack I can vouch for as using freshly sliced clam strips is the Fish Tale in Madison, CT. I know of a few full service fish markets in my area that will slice up, bread, and fry your quahogs for you. The fish counter at a Big Y supermarket used to do this, but I am not sure they still do.
                                                                            I have to imagine that if you ask around you can find this on the Cape. You folks up there have more than your fair share of fresh quahogs, so why wouldn't someone be using them for clam strips? At the very least, I can't imagine why a full service fish market that has a fryer wouldn't do this for you.
                                                                            A fresh quahog will keep for a good week if stored properly, so there's really no point in using frozen, pre-breaded clam strips where fresh is available. The frozen ones cost more. Clearly a lot of clam shacks want to save time by using the frozen ones, but they aren't really saving much time. I can shuck and slice a dozen quahogs in a few minutes (possibly a hyperbolic statement, I've never timed myself, but it's not more than a minute per clam).

                                                                            1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                              djd: You know I love Lenny & Joe's (the Fish Tale), but I would swear I saw one of those large plastic tubs--just as hargau describes--under the counter last time we ate there. Not that it makes the clams any less fresh or tasty, I'm just saying I'll bet they're not shucking clams, then breading and frying...not for the volume of clams they crank out in either Madison or Westbrook. Take a look under the soda station next time you're in the dining room (W'brook). ;)

                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                I'm probably wrong. I was conflating shucking your own with using fresh, rather than frozen, clam strips. I knew they weren't using anything frozen, so I just assumed they were shucking the things themselves. A silly assumption, now that hargau has explained the actual process. The end effect should be the same. But I guess with their volume, the prep space isn't big enough for shuckers, and they probably don't have a fridge big enough to fit all those clams in shells.

                                                                            2. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                                              Im not familiar with any clam shacks shucking their own clams. They get them shucked in plastic tubs from the local fish-monger. They tyically get the strips the same way.

                                                                              They then bread them, both the same way, and fry them, same...

                                                                              I have yet to go to any clamshack that is serving up prebreaded/frozen rubberband strips. I love clam strips but not that type!

                                                                              Here is a link to one of the large boston suppliers and you can see the various options for Fresh Shucked Seafood, including clams for frying and strips. http://www.stavis.com/c16/Fresh-Produ...

                                                                              1. re: hargau

                                                                                That is correct. No one shucks there own clams for strips. First, strips are from sea clams, not quahogs. Second, it's only the neck that is sliced for the strips, not the whole clam. What would a clam shack do with the rest of the sea clam? They couldn't possibly sell enough chowder to justify the expense of cutting there own strips.

                                                                                1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                                                  I was under the impression surf clams and ocean quahogs were the same thing, but it looks like that is not the case.
                                                                                  Either way, regardless of who is doing the shucking, clam strips are still fresh at any decent clam shack.

                                                                                  1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                                    I guess you're correct if by "fresh" you mean never frozen. To my mind, any seafood that is factory processed, sanitized, packed in a bucket with preservatives, and shipped by truck is far from "fresh" seafood.

                                                                                    Regardless, the idea that it's common that fish shanty's regularly shuck their own clams, slice the necks into strips, and bread thenm fresh for frying is a myth.

                                                                                    1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                                                      and the idea that any clam shack is shucking the "steamers" or frying clams, breading them and frying them is also a myth. I have yet to go to any clam shack anywhere that was making fried clams with clams they were freshly shucking. They would need a huge staff on hand constantly shucking to keep up with the demand. I cant even venture to guess how many clams a day a popular place would need to shuck. They would need a building twice the size of the shack just to store all the shells, shuckers, etc...

                                                                                      1. re: hargau

                                                                                        I never said, or thought, that whole clams are shucked fresh for frying. They are purchased from wholesalers who process them and pack them in buckets as well. Unlike strips, however, they are not sanitized after processing and loaded with preservatives.

                                                                                        1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                                                          If purchased from the same wholesaler in buckets, why do you feel strips are sanitized and loaded with preservatives and whole clams are not? And why does it matter? You dont like clam strips, is your goal to convince people who do, that they shouldnt and are some how wrong? I guess i dont get the point here. Its a thread about where to get clam strips.

                                                                                          1. re: hargau

                                                                                            "why do you feel strips are sanitized and loaded with preservatives and whole clams are not?" >>>>> Because strips CAN be sanitized. You can't sanitize a whole belly clam and leave the belly intact. Sanitizing is not a bad thing necessarily, as it lengthens its shelf life . It's just not as natural as a whole clam . "You dont like clam strips, is your goal to convince people who do, that they shouldnt and are some how wrong?" >>>Actually, I like 'em alright. Cooke's in Hyannis and Mashpee does a nice strip plate with fries and slaw at lunch for under $7.

                                                                                            "I guess i dont get the point here. Its a thread about where to get clam strips." >>> Indeed it is. I was just clarifying a few misconceptions regarding the thread's subject matter. No harm meant.

                                                                                            1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                                                              Lemon peel on your clam pizza? Ooooooo.

                                                                                              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                                                                Every wholesaler I can find makes it very plain that their clam strips are not treated in any way. Not everyone is using a large wholesaler either. At the very least, I know a few fish markets that absolutely do shuck their own clams, and fry up clam strips.
                                                                                                There's no reason for clam strips to be treated in any way. Surf clam meat has a shelf life of about a week with absolutely no treatment. Clam bellies spoil very quickly in comparison.

                                                                                                1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                                                                  Again, I've never seen fresh fried strips in my 50 plus years. Can you name which fish markets absolutely do this? I'd like to try it. As it's only the neck that can become strips, what do they do with the rest of the clam?.

                                                                                                  1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                                                                    I've always heard it called the foot, but that doesn't really matter. It makes up the majority of the meat.
                                                                                                    Swanson's Fish Market in Monroe, CT, definitely shucks surf clams to sell chopped up for chowder. Being a good, full service fish market with a fryer, they will cut them into strips and fry them. They are not primarily in the fried seafood business, though they do it well. They also have good soups. I'd imagine the adductor muscle goes into their chowder or is sold mixed in with the rest of the chopped surf clams. I don't know of a culinary use for the belly. I've tried eating it, and, even though whole belly soft shell clams are one of my favorite foods, I found it utterly repulsive. I tried using it for stock, and it was terrible. I save it to use as bait, or throw it away if I have no plans to go fishing anytime soon.
                                                                                                    Cove Fish in Stonington, CT, claims to do all their own fish processing, and I have no reason not to trust them.
                                                                                                    Big Y supermarkets do all their own fish processing, but not necessarily on site. They claim they don't use preservative, but I didn't see clam strips on their menu last time I was there.
                                                                                                    Lenny and Joe's Fish Tale gets their seafood delivered daily from a local fish market which also provides for a number of other restaurants and does catered events. Why would they go to the extra time and expense of santizing and adding preservatives to a product that will likely be consumed that day, and if not the next day?
                                                                                                    The link hargau provides is for a company that claims chemical free processing and local delivery the same day the fish is processed. Every other distributor I can find a website for makes the same claim.
                                                                                                    Why would they add preservatives to something that has a relatively long shelf life, and a very high turnover rate? Who can you verify does this?
                                                                                                    Again, I do think most clam strips would not meet my qualifications of being fresh, as they are either frozen, blanched, or treated. But the idea that no one is using a product that comes from local waters until it gets treated at a processing plant is just as mistaken as my initial misconception that some clam shacks do their own shucking.

                                                                                        2. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                                                          In what sense does getting them from your local fish monger equate to factory processed, sanitized, and packed in a bucket with preservatives?

                                                                              2. re: CapeCodGuy

                                                                                freshly fried seafood. happy?

                                                                              3. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                Check out this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3816...
                                                                                There are probably others if you look.

                                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                                  perfect. thanks so much. for some reason my search function really sux when i try to use it.

                                                                            3. You Chowhounds are amazing! Just got back from a week in Vegas and discovered all these great recommendations! I will get a map and start plotting my route and restaurants based on all this information. Thanks so much for your time and trouble.

                                                                              1. Hey, SASSY! One point of clarification for you and others not from the area re Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale (locally, you'll hear it called any or all parts of their name). They have two locations: one in Madison near Hammonassett State Park; the other is in Westbrook (not Saybrook or Clinton). Here is their website so you can read all about it. All this talk of clams and lobster rolls made me hungry so we went to L&J's in Westbrook last night, sat out on the enclosed porch and I enjoyed a fried scallop roll with fries and my favorite coleslaw at any restaurant in the state of CT. I'll post a photo for you later.
                                                                                http://ljfishtale.com/

                                                                                P.S. Though Westbrook is more "formal" *only* in that you're waited on (vs. ordering at a counter and finding a table), they are both super-casual places. You'll love the food at either location. Enjoy the ride!

                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                  Feast your eyes: as promised, here is last night's scallop roll from Lenny & Joe's. If this isn't deliciousness on a bun, nothing is!

                                                                                   
                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                    This may be an impertinent question, but how did you get that in your mouth? Looks delicious! All of it!

                                                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                                                      HA HA! I ate some of the scallops "manually" then ate the rest a la bun. ;) You've gotta get there.

                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                        Kattyeyes,
                                                                                        Thanks for the link and the picture---- it looks large and yummy.
                                                                                        Have you tried the hot lobster roll or the hot crab roll I see on their menu? If so , which is better?

                                                                                        1. re: SASSYMI2

                                                                                          My mom is the lobster roll eater of the family, so she'd recommend the lobster wholeheartedly! Please accept her vote by my proxy. ;)

                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                            You hounds are amazin! Over 100 replies!!!

                                                                                            1. re: SASSYMI2

                                                                                              Sassy, It's usually common courtesy on Chowhound to post a report after receiving so much help on a post. Or in this case, help on the number of posts you initiated on your search for the best imitation of this previous HoJo staple!

                                                                                              So, let's hear it!

                                                                                              1. re: SASSYMI2

                                                                                                Yea! You ask a LOT of questions. Are you sure you are from Michigan? I'm thinking another planet....
                                                                                                Prove you are a humanoid by giving us some feedback.

                                                                                  2. Bellies are gross....what is that stuff in them....mud, guts, or worse?

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: MacshashRIP

                                                                                      Them's fightin' words! But it's okay, if your palate can't handle them, you can always stick to those tasteless fried rubber bands.

                                                                                      1. re: MacshashRIP

                                                                                        Mac, the clam belly is a well known aphrodesiac, but only to New Englanders. Shhh, don't tell anyone or the price will shoot way up. Clam strips, on the other hand, are constipating. Which would you rather be?
                                                                                        Boing!

                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                          Righteo! Who needs Viagra when you have whole clams and oysters?
                                                                                          Do you disect oysters? Hell no.