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FrIed belly clams and steamers recommendations in DC area

m
myhal Oct 24, 2012 09:57 PM

These are one of the foods I miss most after my move to CA- they just don't ship well. I'm in the Tyson's area for a few days but will drive for good clams. I wasn't thrilled with Legal Seafood's last time I was here. Recommendations?

  1. c
    chesapeake72000 Jan 1, 2013 07:13 PM

    Black Salt in Palisades has great whole fried clams.

    1. e
      Ellen Dec 31, 2012 04:26 PM

      We stopped into Liberty Tree on H Street last week for the first time and saw whole belly clams on the menu. I didn't get them as I was craving a pizza. Got the clam pizza. It was excellent and I'll be back for another pizza and to try their clam rolls. if anyone has had anything else there, I'd like your take.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ellen
        monkeyrotica Jan 1, 2013 05:21 AM

        I had the clam roll. It reminded me of the clams at Legal Seafood. Adequate but nothing special. About the best you could say is that they were fried proper and crispy. The clam chowder however was a nightmare. Imagine a bowl of hot bacon ranch dressing with extra salt and nothing resembling a clam in it. Three sips and I had to send it back. It would have made an excellent hot dip for potato chips but as a chowder, it was a buttery gluey nightmare.

      2. w
        Worldwide Diner Oct 27, 2012 04:46 PM

        Passion fish in Reston has nice fried clams and it's close to Tyson.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Worldwide Diner
          Bob W Oct 29, 2012 08:40 AM

          I like Passionfish a lot but have not been there in a while.

          NB: Tom Sietsema seems to think it's gone downhill.

          1. re: Bob W
            p
            PollyG Oct 30, 2012 05:10 AM

            Not that we have noticed; I think our last meal there was our break-the-fast after Yom Kippur. We hit the lunch specials a lot during summer.

        2. p
          PollyG Oct 26, 2012 08:28 PM

          Fried belly clams are available in a little bucket, with fried pickle slices, at Passionfish in Reston.

          1. monkeyrotica Oct 25, 2012 11:38 AM

            The oysters can be hit or miss, but I've never had bad fried Ipswich clams at Hank's Oyster Bar.

            1. Bob W Oct 25, 2012 07:42 AM

              Check out Ford's Fish Shack in Ashburn. Not too far from Tysons -- take the toll road to the Greenway to the Loudoun County Parkway exit. Boom, you're there!

              It's a madhouse on the weekends -- they're opening another location near me, in South Riding, which should help -- so going during the week would seem like a good idea.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Bob W
                DanielK Oct 25, 2012 08:59 AM

                I haven't been to Ford's, but Ashburn is NOT "not too far from Tysons". In ideal conditions, it's 30 minutes, and anytime around weekday afternoon rush hour, it's 60-90.

                1. re: DanielK
                  Bob W Oct 25, 2012 09:04 AM

                  30 minutes around here is "not too far." Other than afternoon rush, it's an easy drive.

                  Also, the OP said "he would drive for good clams."

                2. re: Bob W
                  Dennis S Dec 20, 2012 02:56 PM

                  Just had Ford's today for lunch. Holy Moley! Wow.

                  It's what I expected in terms of "what" they serve. Fried baskets, I had heard about the lobster rolls already, and a few other dishes. It was that and a little more by the menu, but holy cow was the execution just shy of perfect!

                  Started mild with steamed shrimp. Healthy, and nice sized. Shell on, and I liked that they give you butter and seasoning options on the side and you season to your liking..

                  Caeser salad was only okay. On again off again as to whether they served it with anchovies. Final reply is that they do, but they hadn't received a shipment yet (?). The lettuce and croutons were good. Cheese was average. Dressing was good but glopped a bit at the bottom of the bowl.

                  Then the main dishes for us (again lunch). I was there with my Mom and we split the CT style lobster roll, substituting the fries with mashed. We also got a basket with fried clams and oysters and grilled scallops.

                  The clams were above average. The scallops were cooked PERFECTLY. However they were overly seasoned. I actually can't remember when I've had a more perfectly cooked scallop.

                  The oysters. I have been trying to remember all day when there was a comparable. There was in the past few years but I haven't placed it. They were awesome! I can't say more than that. Plain and simple.

                  Smaller place than I expected. There is usually a wait (we lucked out by minutes if not by seconds). Our server was tremendously good, but the whole staff was top notch.

                  Basically they've struck the chord that the whole region is missing outside of maybe the GAR places. Good solid food very well done at a decent price point and a good atmosphere delivered above par.

                  Go. Or, don't. Cuz I'm going back.

                  1. re: Dennis S
                    Bob W Dec 24, 2012 12:09 PM

                    Hi Dennis, glad you liked Ford's. They are about to open up a new location in South Riding, which should help alleviate the waits.

                    Also, did I mention that Ford's is run by GAR alums (as is the Blue Ridge Grille mini-chain).

                    My brothers Orson W and Lurker W were just up in Maine and had incredible lobster rolls, fried clams, and chowder at a little place called Fishermen's Grill in Portland. Since I won't be up that way until next summer, Ford's can certainly suffice.

                    1. re: Bob W
                      Dennis S Dec 26, 2012 07:43 AM

                      I didn't know about the GAR linkage or about Blue Ridge Grille. It might be a while before I make it to Blue Ridge. If I'm that way it's either something like Windy City, higher end like LIghtfoot, and now Ford's is going to be difficult to pass by for mid-level. Thanks for the info!

                      1. re: Dennis S
                        Bob W Dec 28, 2012 07:37 PM

                        YW!

                        When you do make it to BRG, check out the Brentwood Salad -- that's my go-to!

                3. d
                  drewpbalzac Oct 25, 2012 04:34 AM

                  It doesn't get the attention it used too but Kinkead's in the complex at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW still has great fried belly clams. . . . Some of the best I've ever had. Kinkead's is a New Englander so he knows what he is doing.

                  Call ahead to make sure that they have them though, it would suck to make the trip for naught.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: drewpbalzac
                    d
                    drewpbalzac Oct 25, 2012 09:00 AM

                    Oh yeah sit at the bar - the formal dining room is too much for just the belly clams. . .

                    1. re: drewpbalzac
                      r
                      reiflame Dec 21, 2012 11:05 AM

                      They're closing soon, FYI.

                    2. DanielK Oct 24, 2012 11:44 PM

                      Freddy's Lobsters and Clams in Bethesda. A true NE-style clam shack.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: DanielK
                        p
                        Pappy Dec 21, 2012 05:42 AM

                        New England would never accept the blame for Freddys. A recent Saturday lunch included a miniscule basket of shreds and pieces of fried clams (certainly not whole belly), for the outrageous price of $18.95. I think nine (9!) less than perectly fresh but much more than perfectly cooked Steamer Clams for $9.95. A bowl of lobster bisque that was 100% inedible for comparatively cheap price of $6.50. And a pretty good Lobster Roll for the pretty unreasonable price of $19.95.

                        Oh well, at least the beer was kinda cold.

                        1. re: Pappy
                          DanielK Dec 21, 2012 07:15 AM

                          Wow, that's terrible, Pappy. It's been months since I've been there, but my last visit was an overflowing container of perfectly fried bellies, and an expensive but outstanding lobster roll.

                          And one of the, if not the, best beer lists in MoCo.

                        2. re: DanielK
                          ClevelandDave Dec 28, 2012 06:50 PM

                          Blech, couldn't disagree more. A waste of time and money from my experience.

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