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Sep 7, 2009 11:04 AM

Best fried clams in New England

I just had the best fried clam roll I have ever eaten, and I've eaten a lot of fried clams. This is in Scarborough, Maine. The restaurant, in business since 1927, is Ken's Place, on Pine Point Road. The menu is extensive, but what my mom and I , landlocked far too long in Vermont, wanted was clams. We split one roll, at around $l0 (market value). The roll was bulging with clams - maybe 30 of them, the whole ones. They were small-average size. We were asked if we wanted them crisp or doughy (not the right word - but with more batter) - and we chose crisp. The clam morsels were not at all greasy and as fresh as I've ever tasted. They were sweet, no grit, no sand, no toughness. I would gladly drive back the 200+ miles to have another taste of this clam roll. With it, they served commercial tartar sauce. So, the only thing I would change would be homemade tartar sauce, but this is hardly worth mentioning. In our three-day Maine vacation, these clams were the best thing we put into our mouths. Ken's Place, Pine Point Road, Scarborough, Maine 04074. (They also have a raw bar - and picnic tables for fine weather.)

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  1. I think you must've hit them on a good clam day, which can make up for ANYTHING. I've been there before & found them just ok -- the breading undersalted, and the clams, that day, were of the dinky underfed variety. Just depends on the day.

    2 Replies
    1. re: the_MU

      I agree with Ligature that many times with clams it just depends on the day. I am huge fried clam fan and this summer have tried quite a few of the more well known places in and around Boston. Especially on the North Shore. Sometimes the clams have been excellent and at others times rather mediocre. For the record, the best I have had recently were at Neptune Oyster on Salem St. (North End) in Boston. The clams had nice sized bellies, were not overly greasy and the batter-to-clam ratio was just about perfect for my tastes. This place was recently voted in Boston magazine's Best of Boston 2009 as the best seafood in the city.

      1. re: the_MU

        We just had some terrific ones at the The Cove, in Stonington/Mysic, CT.

      2. The Clam Box in Ipswich ,MA, always excellent.

        1. Jordan's Snack Bar in Ellsworth, Me; our benchmark for fried clams. Bagaduce Lunch, not too shabby either

          1. Heirloom, New Haven. Recently had the best whole-bellied clams I have ever eaten. Though I haven't had a lot, I know fantastic when I have them.

            1. I love the Clam Box in Ipswich, MA

              1 Reply
              1. re: Nia R

                I think they are open in the off-season, but they appeared to be closed on Sep 8 (day after Labor Day). It was probably the first time I've driven by and not seen a line. A little eery...

                I'm hoping to get back to Brown's this fall for some fried clams myself. I like off-season best, because if you pick the right day, it still feels like summer.

                Fwiw, I have a copy of "New England's Favorite Seafood Shacks" (available at amazon) and eventually would like to make it to most in the book.