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Jul 7, 2011 11:27 PM

Fried clams

I know I'll miss alot but then it seems next to the infamous fruit cake going around the world, fried clams (or fried clam roll or lobster roll, too) remain an alluring item on a menu sure to disappoint, especially when everyone else is talking about their great meals.

Clam chowder is for another post; that, too, seems to be lost or at best two things come to mind if you dare-"what were they thinking" or obviously that chef has never put a toe in the water up near Maine-

Back to fried clams-they get sweeter as the season progresses and Ipswich does have a meaning-easily ignored-strips or whole belly, fresh or frozen, taken from what water when, and fried in what oil, and the bread for the roll certainly matters, too, as does the tartar sauce, etc. and the rest of the typical afterthought -fries sometimes, soggy vegetable and if they are really going great guns-lemon.

I travel up the Connecticut coast from Milford to New Haven and my optimistic or foolish nature brings me to order any and all of the above from time to time. I swear I saw that same fruitcake on the menu at most of these places next to fried clams or was it just a de ja vu I was having? That can't be since my wallet was noticeably lighter as I left.

Any experts out there who can contribute what probably is the obvious but unfound?


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  1. Whole belly at Turk's in Savin Rock. Eat in the self serve section (to the right as you walk in, not worth the higher price in the server section).
    We dirve there every other week from Trumbull. Chic's and Jimmie's are not worth eating and much more expensive.

    1. I have to agree on Chick's, but have no recent opinion on Jimmie's.
      Try The Glenwood on Whitney Ave in Hamden, their whole bellies have been great

      6 Replies
      1. re: mmalmad

        lived in Hamden 18 years and regularly ate at Glenwood, BUT the OP was specific about Milford to New Haven on the coast. That means: Milford, West Haven, New Haven.
        Anything north of the coast-Hamden, Orange, North Haven is off topic, so I didn't bother mentioning Glenwood or Dino's, etc.

        1. re: bagelman01

          Please go off topic and expand this to fried clams anywhere in Connecticut. I yearn. I hunger, I search in vain. I get my fried clam fix for the year when I go to the Vineyard in August and go to the Bite. A classic. In Connecticut, and I don't get to the shore line clam shacks and the only barely acceptable, fried clams, I have found inland are on the appetizer menu at Max Oyster Bar. But the portion is sparse, and they seem to hold back the big juicy bellies. Please tell me I am missing some place. TIA

          1. re: chrism23

            The best are close to the shore,
            Lenny and Joes
            Clam Castle (Guilford)

            Not fond of most inland places. See:
            for a report of the great clams and fry kit delivered from Diggers Choice in Wareham, MA.

            These were some of the best fried clams I've ever had. I was present for this 2005 fry, eat and report

            Clam Castle
            1324 Boston Post Rd, Madison, CT 06443

            1. re: bagelman01

              @bagelman01- Very Cool web site. Thanks

        2. Lenny's in Branford has very good fried clams and oysters.

          205 S Montowese St, Branford, CT 06405

          1 Reply
          1. re: junescook

            Forget Lenny's in Branford was there this week and the clams were terrible. Hugh clams that were extremely tough.
            Where they found soft shell clams that were this large is beyond me. Adding to the experience was a bad clam. If anyone has ever bitten into a bad clam you know the awful taste that lingers with one all day long. Try any other place listed on this post.

          2. Anyone with advice for the coast south of New Haven?

            My wife was craving fried clams, so we went to Overton's in Norwalk yesterday. They were unimpressive, but we knew that on the way there. We also knew that SoNo Seafood on the other side of the bridge would be about the same.

            Sadly, we agree with trumbull1 - nothing around here even resembles Maine.

            6 Replies
            1. re: SteveSCT

              SteveSCT, I had some pretty good ones at Savin Rock Roasting, I was at the West Haven location, but they have one in Stratford across from The Dock at exit 33. They make a good RI clam chowder as well

              1. re: mmalmad

                Thanks for that tip, mmalmad. I'm also a fan of RI clam chowder, which is hard to find.

                1. re: mmalmad

                  I wasn't a fan of Savin Rock's(Stratford) clams., but I did have excellent ones at Flipside (of all places) in Fairfield. Stowe's in West Haven has never disappointed me, either

                2. re: SteveSCT

                  This thread reminded me of a story from a few years back in the NYT where the reporter drove and ate fried clams all the way from CT to ME. He found pretty good clams at Lenny's in Branford.


                  1. re: SteveSCT

                    Westfair Fish and Chips in Westport.

                    It's tucked in a nondescript strip mall, behind another nondescript strip mall, out of view from the road. It's tiny, and the atmosphere almost non-existant. But they have really good fried seafood.

                    1. re: plien69

                      was about to recommend Westfair as well

                  2. The Glenwood in Hamden does whole belly Ipswich clams, and good lobster rolls and onion rings.

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: Veggo

                      Stowes in West Haven...a block or two down from chicks

                      1. re: jesoda

                        I love Stowe's, BUT they ONLY accept CASH.

                        This is just an FYI for those who have never been there.

                        1. re: jesoda

                          BUMP TIME>>>>>>>>>>>>>
                          Took some friends from the midwest to Stowe's for lunch today.
                          This year fried seafood boats including cole slaw or french fries are still $10
                          Lobster Rolls are $12.50 Hot or cold styles
                          Fried seafood Rolls are $5
                          Clams, whole belly or strip
                          Scallops...hear that Kattyeyes?
                          Calimari (labeled squid)

                          The best value on the menu is the Fried Lobster Meat.
                          They take a whole lobster tail, bread and fry and serve on a toasted split roll for $12.50-14 market price.

                          All prices include tax.

                          All food is delicious

                          Cash Only, rustic outdoor and very limited indoor service--place order and pay at counter get a number, everything breaded and cooked to order.

                          So rustic that there's a port-a-potty in the yard, no rest rooms.
                          Directly across from the beach. Closed Mondays. Tues-Sat 11-7, Sun til 6. Last orders must be placed 15 minutes before closing. They do not stretch the times. The entire staff works one shift open to close.

                          1. re: bagelman01

                            I heard that loud and clear, bagelfriend. :) Those prices are insane--how do they do it? Oh, wait. One word: port-a-potty. Serious biz, sounds great.

                            1. re: kattyeyes

                              Low overhead, been in the same shack for years and own the land. Basic costs are food, labor and utilities. stone parking lit, picnic tables. no real decor, refrigerated trailers for walkins...........
                              great food, low prices, limited hours, just cross the two lane road and you're on the beach.....
                              When I was a kid we used to go to their former location about a mile away.

                              BTW>>>the prices are the same as last year.
                              NO alcohol, 12oz Foxon Park glass bottle soda or 20 ounce bottle water $1.50

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                Love Foxon Park, too. I must tell my mom.

                            2. re: bagelman01

                              Clam update.............
                              Took wife and MIL to Stowe's for lunch today.
                              Whole Belly Clams are crossed off the menu boards....
                              Seems all the storms this past week (aftermath of the first hurricane of the season that landed in NC) has created a shortage of fresh whole belly clams. Owner says that suppliers expect normal availability in about a week.

                              1. re: bagelman01


                                I'm about to leave from Norwalk in search of whole belly clams for my brother and SIL visiting from Atlanta. Final destination is the Clinton Outlets. I've never been to Stowe's but have only heard good things about their clams. I called earlier to check that they are offering them today. I got a response "probably but I may run out" I guess Maine is closed now so they are very hard to source. Can you recommend either a backup place or a better choice to sit and enjoy our meal? Thanks!

                                1. re: zackly

                                  Since you're going to be on I-95...........
                                  Clam Castle in Madison
                                  Lenny and Joe's Madison

                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                    We ate @ Stowe's,and everything was excellent, some of the best NE Clam Chowdwer I've ever had, belly clams (huge portion for only $10.00)beaufiful, sweet sea scallops, cod fish & chips. Not a place to go if you're looking for an upscale dining experience (Porta-Potties out by the dumpster) which was fine with us.

                                    1. re: zackly

                                      $10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's a bargain! ( Unless they only gave you 3)

                                      1. re: zackly

                                        Now you know why they've been my favorite shack for years. I believe it was more than 50 years since my mother first took me to their original location.
                                        It's all about the fresh seafood, not atmosphere, except in season when one dine's at the picnic tables and the breeze comes across the street from the sound.

                                    2. re: zackly

                                      Bagleman is right on about Stowe's as a first choice, I had fried clams there on Thursday and they were great.
                                      My choices up the shoreline would be exit 62, the Hammonasset State Park exit, left at Rt.1 to Lenny and Joes on the left or The Clam Shack on the right, although I have not been to The Clam Shack since it was taken over by new owners but it used to be my favorite.

                                      1. re: chefstu

                                        Clam Castle had a shaky start under the new owners, but they adjusted fast and understand what the customers want and expect. They no longer rotate kitchen staff from their restaurant next door, but have dedicated seafood fry cooks, etc in the Clam Castle.
                                        It is still, or again the best in the area, and unlike L&J Madison serves fried oysters.

                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                          Thank's for the good news, Bagelman!