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Feb 20, 2010 09:45 AM

Blue Plate Oysterette - Whole Belly Fried Clams

I have been on a search for fried clams with the bellies and until now the search has been futile for decent fried clams in Southern California. I read that Blue Plate Oysterette had them. I immediately called Blue Plate and yes they were on the menu – 2 hours later we were at Blue Plate for a late lunch.

Blue Plate Oysterette is loosely modeled on one of my favorite restaurants in Boston – Neptune’s Oyster. It has the feel of a casual neighborhood restaurant/bar with an open kitchen.

1/2 dozen oysters
Kumai – West Coast
Fanny Bay – British Columbia
Glacier Bay – New Brunswick
Kumamoto – Washington
Blue Point – CT
Gerrish Island – Maine
The oysters were fresh, shucked expertly and perfect for slurping with just a touch of lemon

Caesar Salad – romaine hearts, garlic chips, anchovy, croutons – excellent

Fish Tacos – grilled mahi mahi, cilantro aioli, diced tomatoes, guacamole – another winner

Fried Clams – Whole Belly Ipswich Clams, fried lemons, preserved lemon aioli – the piece de resistance! The fried whole belly clams were lightly battered, plump and juicy and fried perfectly. Next time, and there will definitely be a next time, I will order the fried clams the way I do at Neptune – a 1/2 order at a time so the clams are piping hot for each half order.

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  1. Yes, the fried clams were excellent. They don't serve the aioli at lunch, just a homemade tartar sauce, that was fine. The lunch portion was perfect too, I arrived starving, thought I would want more, and ended up being completely full. And they were piping hot, pretty much all the way through.

    Definitely a find for this old New Englander.

    1. Could someone explain about Whole Belly Clams? Is it just that they're plumper or is the belly a different kind of clam meat?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Hackenbush

        The belly is the stomach of the clam that is left on, as opposed to clam strips, where they remove it. Whole belly clams are rarely sold frozen, so they are fresh. Easier to freeze the strips, I guess.

      2. what was the pricing of the half and/or full order of clam bellies?

        7 Replies
        1. re: wilafur

          You want the full order, just order it in 2 batches - $17.00. Also, call ahead and make sure they have them.

          1. re: lizziee

            They list STEAMERS on their online menu. Since this is the West Coast, many restaurants confuse the term.

            My question: Do you know if their steamers are the soft-shell clam, where the fried belly comes from, or the ordinary hard-shell that is served by most places, mislisting them as STEAMERS.

            1. re: toitoi

              Sorry, I don't know as I haven't ordered them. By the way, $17 is for a full order.

              1. re: toitoi

                My understanding is that those clams which they call "steamers" are all the soft shell Ipswich clams and are brought in from the east coast (and IIRC they buy them from the Ipswich Clambake and Seafood Catering Company in MA).

                1. re: toitoi

                  You're right. West Coast often confuses steamers and hard shelled clams, like cherrystones, which are NOT steamers. Steamers are soft shelled Atlantic clams. Never hard shelled.

                  And I did not even notice steamers on that menu on Wednesday when I went to lunch.

                  1. re: toitoi

                    they are the real thing, and a good bargain compared to Quality seafood, which is the only other place in the area I know that has them. $16 for what seems to be between 1 and 2 Lbs. I haven't been for a couple of months, so they may not be on the menu currently. I definitely recommend them and I had been planning on going back for a couple buckets this weekend.

                2. I had them on Friday at lunch and thought that, while tasty, $17 was a lot given the small size of the serving. With tip it was $25 for the clams and a coke. Still, no such thing as a expensive good meal, only an expensive bad one...and they were good.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: orythedog

                    I know this is a very small restaurant, how long is the wait for a table at lunch time?

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      Good question. I got there at 11:25 when they were just opening. That's the key, get there by 11:30 and no wait. By the time I finished at 12:15 or so, there was a wait, for the outside tables. Probably about 20 mins or so. They were basically waiting for me to finish, as I was first in, first out. But I did notice they still had a couple of empty tables inside at that time.

                    2. re: orythedog

                      I agree, the serving was small. At first I thought, wow, not enough here, I might have to order more. But after finishing them, and barely eating the fries, I was stuffed.

                      Now, you have to remember where you are to figure in the price. You're right on the water, basically, and their rent must be astronomical, as most places in that area are pretty pricey. Not to even mention the fact they pay for flying in fresh clams from Mass. Those clams probably get better service on their flight than humans, too!!!

                      1. re: orythedog

                        Perhaps there's no such thing as an inexpensive bad meal, but expensive good meals abound.

                        1. re: la tache burger

                          I checked the prices of fried clams in Mass - Legal Seafood charges $20.95 and they cheat by mounding the plate with french fries (I always ask for the potatoes on the side). Woodman's Clam Box and Essex charge $18.95. At BP Oysterette, I was full after my order so I thought &17.00 was more than reasonable for the real thing.