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6/9/10 The Clam Box of Ipswich: NOW I Get It: Unquestionably the Best!

opinionatedchef Jun 10, 2010 04:54 PM

You know how you live 1/2 hour from the Washington Monument and you never go there after your first trip as a 10 yr. old?
Well, ditto with us and the Clam Box of Ipswich, except we had never been there at all. As a newbie to New England in the 1970's, I came to decide I loved fried clams but they hated me. What it really was was that they were always too greasy and fried in too-old oil with an improper coating. Woodman's is a perfect example of this. Given all the yrs of hype I had read about it, I tried it long ago and then I took my visiting mom there 4 yrs ago. After that fiasco at such a 'famous place', I swore I would never eat another fried clam. Well, all that is changed now.

I have found the one place that does these guys right. Imagine being able to truthfully say that "my fried clams were light and airy , greaseless and crunchy" and "with no off tastes". And THEN to be able to say the same thing about the ONION RINGS!!!!! Wow wow wow.
Sometimes, there is just ONE place to get the best of something. I and many thousands know that about Regina's in the North End, and now, I finally know that about the Clam Box of Ipswich. Many thanks to all the vigilant CH crawlers who helped get me there.


Clam Box of Ipswich
246 High St, Ipswich, MA 01938

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  1. s
    scratchie RE: opinionatedchef Jun 10, 2010 05:16 PM


    1. ipsofatso RE: opinionatedchef Jun 10, 2010 05:16 PM

      Yup. It is #1. No QUESTION about it. You'd think the 'others' would figure it out but such a seemingly simple dish (clams, breading, fried) is so hard to pull off the way the CB does it.

      1. nsenada RE: opinionatedchef Jun 10, 2010 08:07 PM

        Totally agree - it's the only fried food I know of that doesn't make me feel sick. And the flavor and texture is really unbeatable.

        1. L2k RE: opinionatedchef Jun 11, 2010 09:32 AM

          Now try Farnhams! ;)

          2 Replies
          1. re: L2k
            amerikiwi RE: L2k Aug 26, 2010 11:01 AM

            Thought I'd mention another great spot for anyone who might be in the southern NH area: Clam King in Manchester, NH, just around the corner from the Macy's in Bedford, NH. Very casual, old fashioned diner type atmosphere with every kind of seafood available. Super fresh and the batter is just right. Voted best clams in New Hampshire for many years running. Take it from a clam snob, definitely worth the drive if you're anywhere nearby.

            1. re: amerikiwi
              LStaff RE: amerikiwi Aug 26, 2010 11:19 AM

              Have they gotten better recently? I used to stop by for years on my way back from ski country, then I hit a spell of bad service and subpar food a couple of years ago and stopped going.

          2. MC Slim JB RE: opinionatedchef Aug 26, 2010 12:24 PM

            I don't know about best, but it's my favorite of the North Shore clam shacks. Have not yet gotten there this summer, alas.


            1 Reply
            1. re: MC Slim JB
              LeRique RE: MC Slim JB Aug 26, 2010 02:33 PM

              And remember ask for the big bellies if they have em. Also would sugest, eating outside where you can sneak a beerThe dining room is cramped and leaves a little to be desired.

            2. nsenada RE: opinionatedchef Aug 26, 2010 02:23 PM

              Anyone tried the lobster roll?

              3 Replies
              1. re: nsenada
                catsmeow RE: nsenada Aug 26, 2010 04:13 PM

                I did last year. Very very good! Lots of fresh lobster and lightly dressed on a properly grilled bun.

                1. re: nsenada
                  ScubaSteve RE: nsenada Aug 26, 2010 04:16 PM

                  i've had them in the past and thought they were Very Good but the one i saw at another table a few weeks back looked amazing.

                  1. re: nsenada
                    phatchris RE: nsenada Aug 28, 2010 11:22 AM

                    I went a few weeks ago and was dissapointed with the lobster roll as well as the clams. Lobster was a bit tired on a soggy bun, the clams were just ok, definitely not worth the hype or hour wait. I will have to try again when they are not so busy. On a seperate note the two best orders of fried clams I had this summer were from Farnhams(on a weekday afternoon) and Jordans Snack Bar in Ellsworth,Maine.

                  2. mirage RE: opinionatedchef Aug 28, 2010 08:35 AM

                    Went to the Clam Box yesterday and while it was very, very good, I think I have enjoyed my clams at Essex Seafood more. I've consistently had large bellies and clean tasting fry job at Essex. The Clam Box clams simply didn't taste as "clean."

                    Essex Seafood
                    143 Eastern Ave, Essex, MA 01929

                    Clam Box
                    789 Quincy Shore Dr, Quincy, MA 02170

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mirage
                      ipsofatso RE: mirage Aug 28, 2010 12:35 PM

                      Sometimes when you hit that place right it is right on. Consistency seems to be a problem with nearly every clam shack on the strip. I think its a craps-shot as to who is frying the best clams on any given day. Sometimes Farnhams is heavenly, sometimes not, same with Essex Seafood. Light and just crispy brown one day and maybe not so the next. The one time recently I was at the Clam Box I thought it was nearly transcendent. At other times tho I have thought the same of all of the above - with only Woodmans being the most often disappointing. Not worth the wait but they get it right too at times. Its what they do and with noted success.

                      Essex Seafood
                      143 Eastern Ave, Essex, MA 01929

                      1. re: ipsofatso
                        treb RE: ipsofatso Aug 28, 2010 03:55 PM

                        ipsofatso, if you want some excellent fried fish, scallops, calamari etc. go to Ricon Limone on Chelsea St. in E. Boston and order the 'classico', man they can fry, it also has a nice portion of cheveche. Oh... and bring someone to help it's easily enough for 2 maybe three.

                    2. p
                      purple bot RE: opinionatedchef Aug 28, 2010 09:12 PM

                      Is this one related to the one in Quincy?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: purple bot
                        Jenny Ondioline RE: purple bot Aug 28, 2010 11:02 PM

                        No. Same name, but entirely different owners.

                      2. b
                        Blumie RE: opinionatedchef Aug 28, 2010 09:14 PM

                        It's not that the Clam Box doesn't serve great fried clams, but I'm having a real hard time with the OP's hyperbole. If I'm reading her post correctly, shes says she never eats fried clams, but then she goes to a place she likes and it's "unquestionably the best." What are you comparing it to? One visit to Woodman's four years ago?

                        I like the Clam Box, but I think Farnham's serves up some mighty fine clams, too.

                        Clam Box
                        789 Quincy Shore Dr, Quincy, MA 02170

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Blumie
                          opinionatedchef RE: Blumie Sep 15, 2011 09:26 PM

                          In my former pre-Clam Box(CB) life, i had Woodman's dreadful fare numerous times, but I'm happy to be able to say now that I am 6 years clean... of Woodman's. Since my Clam Box conversion (converts make for the loudest testifiers), i have returned to CB twice, and have now also tried fried clams at Neptune Oyster, Island Crk Oyster Bar and the Village____ in Essex. And I'm still testifyin' for the CB. Must try Farnham's some time.

                          Neptune Oyster
                          63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

                          Clam Box
                          789 Quincy Shore Dr, Quincy, MA 02170

                          1. re: opinionatedchef
                            cambridgedoctpr RE: opinionatedchef Jun 8, 2012 06:54 AM

                            and you still feel that it is head and shoulders above Neptune and Island Creek? just a question, not a comment.

                            1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                              hondodog RE: cambridgedoctpr Jun 8, 2012 01:04 PM

                              I ate at Neptune a coupla times with work pals...loved it...raved to the family...dragged SO and son (SO does not like much fish-wise) and oops! the fried clams had one bit of grit in each and every clam. I mean, like, perfectly distributed. I mean, if Purgatory was a fried clam restaurant, that evening at Neptune's with my family would be the perpetual meal. Not gross, or awful, or Really Bad...just annoying...and annoying...and annoying.

                              Never had anything like that at Clam Box.

                              1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                                nsenada RE: cambridgedoctpr Jun 8, 2012 03:09 PM

                                I think Neptune's are good (haven't had them at ICOB) but I would put Clam Box's way ahead of them. I don't really think it's possible to improve on them. Delicious as the clams are, you can also eat huge amounts of them and not feel sick. I don't think I could say the same of any other type of deep fried food I have had.

                          2. t
                            taketheunder RE: opinionatedchef Sep 15, 2011 10:04 PM

                            I love this ever reoccurring thread.

                            For the record, I always liked The Village better than the Essex shacks for clams, but, if you want clam heaven, it is at the Surf in Nashua, NH.

                            1. f
                              filetofish RE: opinionatedchef Sep 15, 2011 10:24 PM

                              Essex Seafood is #1 in my book. I live in Gloucester.

                              Essex Seafood
                              143 Eastern Ave, Essex, MA 01929

                              1. j
                                joth68 RE: opinionatedchef Sep 16, 2011 08:13 AM

                                I love clam box for their chowder, scallops, and other fried things but have been seriously underwhelmed by their clams. I've found them lacking flavor and the bellies always to be small.

                                If i'm going to take the 50 minute drive I'll head south to Oxford Creamery in Mattapoisett or Kool Kone in Wareham

                                Oxford Creamery
                                98 County Rd, Mattapoisett, MA 02739

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: joth68
                                  opinionatedchef RE: joth68 Sep 16, 2011 12:42 PM

                                  wow, now it seems fried clams have as many varying opinions as hamburgers and pizza. oh my!

                                2. opinionatedchef RE: opinionatedchef Oct 24, 2011 08:11 PM

                                  I just watched a PBS show about unusually shaped buildings that included The Clam Box. To my surprise, it featured an up-close-and-personal look at the clam prep itself. Turns out the clams are first dunked into a buttermilk bath and then into a mix of cornflour and pastry flour. Then it is fried in one oil for a max of 15 seconds," to cook off the extra flour"; and then it's finished in its last frying oil. I just found that fascinating. I would guess that they worked out this system to make their frying oil last longer. While for different reasons, the technique for producing the best french fries -includes 2 fry baths as well (described here):


                                  1. r
                                    robertlf RE: opinionatedchef Oct 24, 2011 08:55 PM

                                    Does Clam Box close for the season or is it open year round? If so, when does it close and re-open?

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: robertlf
                                      BostonZest RE: robertlf Oct 25, 2011 05:06 AM

                                      They seem to be staying open longer than in the past but even the website


                                      says, "(978) 356-9707 Our hours vary and are subject to change without notice, please call ahead of time."


                                      1. re: BostonZest
                                        Jenny Ondioline RE: BostonZest Oct 25, 2011 10:42 AM

                                        I'm pretty certain they've stayed open year-round the last two years, with exceptions during blizzards and the like.

                                      2. re: robertlf
                                        treb RE: robertlf Oct 25, 2011 12:20 PM

                                        They usually stay open till the end of Oct, depending on the weather. I always try to get my end of the season fix before Oct 31st.

                                      3. barleywino RE: opinionatedchef Oct 25, 2011 05:31 AM

                                        Warning: Rant!

                                        There is NEVER just one place to get the best of something. To say that does an injustice to all the other CH (and non CH) who have different opinions. There are as many opinions as there are CH. Not only that, I must confess that personally I find it objectionable for any one person, no matter how knowledgeable or experienced or discerning they may be, to set themselves up as a self-appointed spokesperson for all CH and say things like "this is a CH favorite" or "according to CH, this is the best" etc. This is co-opting the CH name to foist one's own opinions (or the opinions of those who agree with you) on others. (I may be guilty of this myself on occasion) We need to resist this temptation orelse this board will degenerate into a tyranny of the majority. Nobody needs to have a CH majority (whether real or imagined) behind them to give validity to their personal experience. Let's keep this a forum of equal individuals. Rant over-- Keep on chowing!

                                        14 Replies
                                        1. re: barleywino
                                          ipsofatso RE: barleywino Oct 25, 2011 06:25 AM

                                          @ barleywino - Right on brother hound, right on! All I can say without doubt is that YOU are a CH favorite, lacking a "like" button for your post.

                                          1. re: barleywino
                                            Allstonian RE: barleywino Oct 25, 2011 11:46 AM

                                            Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very well put.

                                            1. re: barleywino
                                              treb RE: barleywino Oct 25, 2011 12:23 PM

                                              Agree, and appreciate your posts. We should always remember that these are our opinions and not edicts.

                                              1. re: barleywino
                                                viperlush RE: barleywino Oct 25, 2011 02:09 PM

                                                Thank you, this should be part of a sticky or the manifesto. I don't think that the OP is trying to be a "self-appointed spokesperson". From other posts it seems to be her way of showing great enthusiasm for a meal/restaurant. But it is a nice reminder.

                                                We went to the Clam Box in Sept after apple picking @ Russell's. Disappointed that the whole bellies had a surcharge (completely understood that they had a high demand and low avaliability) so they were more expensive than normal. Instead BF ordered the clam strip meal and I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich. Both hit the spot. I was a little concerned that the sandwich might have a fishy flavor or order but it didn't. Basic (lettuce, tomato, mayo), but the chicken was flavorful and juicy. I wouldn't hesitate to bring a non seafood eating guest there. We got there about 45 min before they planned to change the oil.

                                                1. re: viperlush
                                                  calliope_nh RE: viperlush Oct 25, 2011 02:38 PM

                                                  I haven't ever seen a place that offered both whole clams and clam strips for the same price. In my experience, whole clams are always more expensive. That said a lot of the places I have been for fresh seafood do not serve the strips at all.

                                                  Edit: upon re-reading your post I see maybe you meant the whole bellies has extra charge beyond their regular price. I should also say that I haven't been to Clam Box in years so it is possible they have a unique price structure.

                                                  1. re: calliope_nh
                                                    viperlush RE: calliope_nh Oct 25, 2011 03:00 PM

                                                    Sorry if I wasn't clear. The whole bellies are always more expensive than the strips. And when they have big bellies they are even more expensive than the smaller bellies (?). This summer because of the demand and low supply they had to raise the cost of whole bellies and charge more than the normal menu price. So instead of changing the prices on the menu they just put up a small sign with the explanation. Normally we get a mix of strips and whole bellies, but this time just the strips.

                                                    1. re: viperlush
                                                      treb RE: viperlush Oct 25, 2011 03:07 PM

                                                      Back in the day, we use to call clam strips, especially the one at HoJo's, rubber bands. From then on, I always order whole belly clams and, when available at The Clam Box, I like to get the large bellys.

                                                      1. re: treb
                                                        viperlush RE: treb Oct 25, 2011 03:23 PM

                                                        Whole bellies get too mushy to me after awhile and the strips are a nice change in texture and flavor. I've loved strips since I was a little kid. Clam Box has nice tender ones.

                                                        1. re: viperlush
                                                          opinionatedchef RE: viperlush Oct 25, 2011 03:49 PM

                                                          i haven't had strips since i was a teenager. I wonder , since they come from large sea clams(?) if they have to beat them up, like conch, to get them tender.

                                                          1. re: viperlush
                                                            treb RE: viperlush Oct 25, 2011 03:53 PM

                                                            Yah, gota eat them while they're hot and crisp, I'm sure the strips at CB are nothing like the old frozen HoJo's stuff. Guess I'm really dating myself.

                                                          2. re: treb
                                                            devilham RE: treb Jun 7, 2012 11:57 AM

                                                            HoJo's clam roll is a long lost guilty pleasure of mine (probably would hate it now), was my favorite HoJo order when I was a little boy. Used to be one right near Blue Hills reservation (building is still there actually) and would go there for lunch with my mom on the way to visit my Nana in Hyde Park.

                                                            1. re: devilham
                                                              Kat RE: devilham Jun 12, 2012 09:27 AM

                                                              I remember the HoJos clam strips, they were a favorite treat when I was a kid. Now that I have a shellfish allergy, I remember them fondly!

                                                              1. re: Kat
                                                                Science Chick RE: Kat Jun 12, 2012 09:48 AM

                                                                My family would occasionally go for the "all you can eat" fish and clam nights. Man, I would put away a boat-load of those strips!!! :)

                                                    2. re: barleywino
                                                      opinionatedchef RE: barleywino Oct 25, 2011 03:51 PM

                                                      I've told you a hundred times not to exaggerate. :-}

                                                    3. s
                                                      sleeloo RE: opinionatedchef Jun 7, 2012 09:31 AM

                                                      Would someone be willing to post a description of what it is like to eat a big belly clam? I have been reading about these things for ages and drooling at the thought of them but haven't had the guts to order them. I have eaten the small bellied ones and observed that the bellies are full of black grimey stuff. If you were a little freaked out by that (but not too much), would big bellies be a no go?

                                                      39 Replies
                                                      1. re: sleeloo
                                                        total13 RE: sleeloo Jun 7, 2012 10:39 AM

                                                        I think you might be a bit skeeved out by the extra large bellies.

                                                        1. re: sleeloo
                                                          StriperGuy RE: sleeloo Jun 7, 2012 11:21 AM

                                                          Big bellies just have more "black grimey stuff!" Though I don't think of it that way. More "gooey yummy essence of the sea." YUM.

                                                          1. re: StriperGuy
                                                            sleeloo RE: StriperGuy Jun 7, 2012 11:34 AM

                                                            Thanks to StriperGuy and total13! I know the answer eventually is going to be "you're just going to have to find out for yourself" but I'll press my luck. When you bite into the belly is it gritty? Does black, gunky juice ooze down your chin?

                                                            1. re: sleeloo
                                                              devilham RE: sleeloo Jun 7, 2012 11:58 AM

                                                              I am in the minority I think in that I prefer the smaller bellies, but to each their own says I.

                                                              1. re: devilham
                                                                Jenny Ondioline RE: devilham Jun 7, 2012 01:12 PM

                                                                I don't think that's necessarily so: both Allstonian (who's lived here her whole life) and I (comparatively recent settler) prefer smaller-belly clams if there's a choice. Not that we think big-belly clams are necessarily gross or anything, more along the lines of might as well leave the big bellies to those who prefer them.

                                                                Heck, I've even been known to order strips. It's not like they're the rubber-band things that come out of the Mrs. Paul's box or anything.

                                                                1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                                                  MC Slim JB RE: Jenny Ondioline Jun 8, 2012 08:26 AM

                                                                  Another lifelong coastal New Englander here who prefers small bellies.

                                                                  As to the "unquestionably the best in Boston" issue, I try to avoid saying what I think is best, which smacks of the Chowhound-anathema pretension to authority, in favor of merely saying what is my personal favorite.


                                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                    devilham RE: MC Slim JB Jun 9, 2012 02:30 PM

                                                                    Oh yeah, born and raised in NE to, it's just a texture thing for me, too squishy and I gag :(

                                                                    Can't eat summer squash unless it's COMPLETELY raw either for the same reason.....kind of a freak like that

                                                                    1. re: devilham
                                                                      TheButterflyWithin RE: devilham Jun 10, 2012 06:00 AM

                                                                      I am a lifelong New Englander also, but I cannot understand how people like the big bellied clams. I prefer the small bellies always.

                                                                      Taking a page out of McSlimJB's book, I won't say which I think is best, but my personal favorite for clams is Ipswich and my personal favorite for scallops is Woodmans.

                                                                      Devilham, funny. I like summer squash in all forms, but my favorite is raw in a salad. Not a big fan of cucumber so I prefer chopped zucchini and summer squash in salad.

                                                              2. re: sleeloo
                                                                StriperGuy RE: sleeloo Jun 7, 2012 12:06 PM

                                                                I like big ones... some times. Some times I prefer the smaller bellies.

                                                                But yes, a bit gritty, a bit murky, usually not so much goo that it runs down your chin.

                                                                1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                  Bob Dobalina RE: StriperGuy Jun 7, 2012 01:26 PM

                                                                  I personally cannot tell the difference between the grit of the clam and the crunch of the fry coating. Just avoid looking at the black grimey stuff.

                                                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                                                    sleeloo RE: Bob Dobalina Jun 7, 2012 01:33 PM

                                                                    I was thinking that might be my best bet - to not really look at it.

                                                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                                                      MeffaBabe RE: Bob Dobalina Jun 7, 2012 01:42 PM

                                                                      Just have to pop the big ones in your mouth and never look! Just enjoy the awesomness of the briney sea!

                                                                  2. re: sleeloo
                                                                    ScubaSteve RE: sleeloo Jun 7, 2012 02:16 PM

                                                                    As a life-long Clam Box customer I've never had a bit of grit in either regular or big belly calms.

                                                                    1. re: ScubaSteve
                                                                      StriperGuy RE: ScubaSteve Jun 8, 2012 06:13 AM

                                                                      Do you swallow them without chewing at all? Steamers (which are what is used for fried clams after all) generally have some muck/grit in them. No comment on quality, just the nature of the beast.

                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                        ScubaSteve RE: StriperGuy Jun 8, 2012 09:22 AM

                                                                        I like to pop the belly against the roof of my mouth with my tongue and then chew a reasonable amount.

                                                                        And the photo below is a plate of steamers I had at The Lasting Room in Haverhill a couple of weeks ago and there wasn't a bit of grit or sand in the lot.

                                                                        1. re: ScubaSteve
                                                                          Infomaniac RE: ScubaSteve Jun 8, 2012 01:57 PM

                                                                          I'm guessing they were farm raised clams which I never find sand or grit in them.

                                                                          With steamers, I like to get two or three out of the shell and pop them all in my mouth and just chew away. I just can't get any satisfaction popping then in my big mouth one at a time.

                                                                          1. re: Infomaniac
                                                                            ScubaSteve RE: Infomaniac Jun 9, 2012 01:09 PM

                                                                            They were local Ipswich. I always ask.

                                                                            1. re: ScubaSteve
                                                                              Infomaniac RE: ScubaSteve Jun 10, 2012 07:05 AM

                                                                              That's great! One of the guys who runs that small kitchen is a Johnson & Whales Culinary grad. Glad to see he is being smart serving local clams.

                                                                          2. re: ScubaSteve
                                                                            treb RE: ScubaSteve Jun 9, 2012 06:48 AM

                                                                            is The Lasting Room the old Tap?

                                                                            1. re: treb
                                                                              ScubaSteve RE: treb Jun 9, 2012 01:12 PM

                                                                              Nope. The Tap is still up and running. The Lasting Room is about 4 doors down and has been there for years.


                                                                        2. re: ScubaSteve
                                                                          opinionatedchef RE: ScubaSteve Jun 11, 2012 11:35 AM

                                                                          steve, i also am a Clam Box fan. just curious- a couple i met today live right by the Clam Box but they told me their favs are at Farnhams. Ever tried their clams and how do they compare? (you may have discussed this before, but plse remind me!)thx.

                                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                                            Fly RE: opinionatedchef Jun 11, 2012 12:22 PM

                                                                            IMO, Farnham's are by far the best. Clam Box is good, but closer to Woodman's than they are to Farnham's.

                                                                            But it's all pretty subjective.

                                                                            1. re: Fly
                                                                              opinionatedchef RE: Fly Jun 12, 2012 12:01 AM

                                                                              close to WOODman's?? wow, no comparison imo, but i will try farnham's next time i'm up there.

                                                                              1. re: Fly
                                                                                StriperGuy RE: Fly Jun 12, 2012 06:52 AM

                                                                                I know LOT'S of folks are Farnham's fans, but I had an absolutely rotten meal there a while back.

                                                                              2. re: opinionatedchef
                                                                                ScubaSteve RE: opinionatedchef Jun 11, 2012 02:06 PM

                                                                                I like Farnham's although I find their portions to be smaller and the coating on their clams a bit more substantial. While not a deal breaker for me I still prefer the CB.
                                                                                Also, Farnham's often has cod cheeks which I really like. And Farnham's has beer.

                                                                                1. re: ScubaSteve
                                                                                  opinionatedchef RE: ScubaSteve Jun 11, 2012 11:59 PM

                                                                                  steve, that is a very helpful description. I def don't think i'd want a heavier coating than the Clam Box coating.

                                                                                  I wonder if any CHound has actually compared them side by side. I've not ever seen a report of that- Farnham's and Clam Box clams sampled together. I may just do that next time we're up there.(Of course, the take-out clam would suffer by being lukewarm or cold by the time it was joined by the eat-in clam, and an insulated bag would prob promote sogginess.)

                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                                                    treb RE: opinionatedchef Jun 12, 2012 05:59 AM

                                                                                    2nd the cod cheeks at Farnham's and agree with Scuba on the clams, heavy coating, I prefer CB.

                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                                                      LStaff RE: opinionatedchef Jun 12, 2012 07:04 AM

                                                                                      In case you have never seen this ipswich area clam crawl write up in the Boston Globe from a few years ago...


                                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                                                        ScubaSteve RE: opinionatedchef Jun 12, 2012 07:17 AM


                                                                                      2. re: ScubaSteve
                                                                                        phatchris RE: ScubaSteve Jun 12, 2012 02:59 PM

                                                                                        I've had great fried clams (on a slow weekday) and mediocre fried clams (busy weekend) at Farnhams.The great ones IMO were better than waiting an hour for the clam box.

                                                                                        1. re: phatchris
                                                                                          ScubaSteve RE: phatchris Jun 12, 2012 05:07 PM

                                                                                          To avoid the lines at the CB we go mid-week around 3pm.

                                                                                          1. re: ScubaSteve
                                                                                            opinionatedchef RE: ScubaSteve Jun 13, 2012 12:43 AM

                                                                                            surprisingly, there was no line even at 1pm midwk when we went last month.whew!

                                                                                    2. re: ScubaSteve
                                                                                      opinionatedchef RE: ScubaSteve Jun 11, 2012 11:38 AM

                                                                                      my experience as well, such that it never even occurred to me that they might have grit in them.

                                                                                2. re: sleeloo
                                                                                  eatntell RE: sleeloo Jun 8, 2012 10:50 AM

                                                                                  Not sure what you and the other hounds consider to be "big" or "small". I like mine to have a belly about 1.5" to 2" in length, not including the neck. Less than 1" would be too short for me. That's the size I would pick when buying fresh ones, and I don't think I have come across any longer than 2" fried.

                                                                                  The "black grimey stuff" of the belly is what makes it special. Texture wise, it is not unlike a lobster's or crab's tomalley, which I crave also. When dining with those who think it is disgusting, I would be in seventh heaven and offer to take it off their plates.

                                                                                  I have yet to fry clams at home, but have steamed them often. Perhaps that's an easy and inexpensive way to taste test one. Here's how I clean them:


                                                                                  1. re: eatntell
                                                                                    ScubaSteve RE: eatntell Jun 8, 2012 12:49 PM

                                                                                    I remember when fish mongers used to have lobster tomalley in their cases, haven't seen it like that in years.

                                                                                    1. re: ScubaSteve
                                                                                      StriperGuy RE: ScubaSteve Jun 8, 2012 01:35 PM

                                                                                      That I never saw...

                                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                        ScubaSteve RE: StriperGuy Jun 9, 2012 01:10 PM

                                                                                        Rowand's in Beverly had that and there was a place on the Marsh Road in Lynn, or maybe Revere that used to do it. I'm also going back about 25+ years.

                                                                                    2. re: eatntell
                                                                                      opinionatedchef RE: eatntell Jun 11, 2012 11:29 AM

                                                                                      thx for being thoughtful enough to link that! i'd never heard that the cornmeal didn't work so this is very useful info!

                                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                                                        eatntell RE: opinionatedchef Jun 12, 2012 10:22 AM

                                                                                        I've never cleaned shellfish with cornmeal, so can't tell if it works or not.

                                                                                        It may be one of those "urban legends in cooking", which can be an interesting forum topic.

                                                                                  2. MeffaBabe RE: opinionatedchef Jun 7, 2012 01:39 PM

                                                                                    I too can only eat really good, not greasy fried clams. I usually don't make the trip to the North Shore because I have Moulton's Seafood 178 Winthrop St Medford right down the street. I can eat buckets of their clams (I usually get with a baked potato or rice) and have never been disappointed. Clams are fresh daily and cooked to perfection.

                                                                                    All their other seafood is excellent as well. To be honest, I usually get an appetizer (med. clam box) and then order my broiled scallops for dinner.... Saves me from having to make up my mind which I want to eat!

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