Lenny and Joes in New Haven
The new Lenny and Joes Fishtale is open in New Haven. Immediately adjacent to I-95 for travelers. Apparently had a soft opening on November 19 per our server and an article in the newspaper made it official yesterday. We dined there this afternoon around 3:30 and it was just about full. Quality of the food was excellent and service was friendly though maybe a little slow due to the volume of diners. The waitress said last night it was a madhouse. I think they have a winner with this location.
I have to preface my comments by saying that I don't like eating fried food; I hate the way I feel after I eat it, so please take this with a grain of salt. Had been to L&Js Westbrook location years ago and could not understand the hype. Went to New Haven on a Tuesday night to try it since it was close to my job. Very empty and loud just like Scupper and Leon's was. I was surprised that they didn't make much changes to Leon's/scupper decor. Looks like jut a new carpet and some seafood wall hangings. The stuffed sole was disgusting, overcooked and the stuffing was unflavorable and dry. I enjoyed their cole slaw. My sister said her scallops were sweet. And my young son loved their "shark bites." I think you really need to stick to fried food here. I just don't get it. I guess people just love seeing mounds of fried food piled on top of frozen large crinkle cut fries. I'm sure they will do well; similarly to Jimmy's in West Haven.
I eat at the Westbrook L&J's quite a bit and hardly ever order anything fried. Their entree salads are great and can be topped with shrimp, scallops or lobster. Their charbroiled salmon and swordfish are excellent and much lower priced than similar offerings at other restaurants. Lobster rolls, hot or cold, are another great alternative to fried L&J menu items. Agree with you on the cole slaw. You can also get steamed vegetables or a salad as one of your two sides....
Disclosure: I am NOT a fan of Lenny and Joe's in Madison or Westbrook, but my MIL is.
Today, at my MIL's insistance we had lunch at Lenny and Joe's new location in New Haven. The location and view is wonderfuld. I had enjoyed many an evening in the Rusty Scupper and Leons in years past.
We arrived at 12:20 and were seated immediately in a half filled restaurant. We were given a window front table overlooking New Haven Harbor. The view was beautiful. The noise level in the resataurant was deafening. It was impossible to carry on a normal conversation at our table. Lenny and Joe's did little to renovate this restaurant and the hard ceiling and lack of any acoustical deadening on walls or floor makes for a very noisy visit.
There were many stafff members, we were visited by at least 5 servers and a manager during our visit. This made for far too many interruptions to our meal and hurt the dining experience.
Now for the food and reviews.
After being asked for drink orders before my wife could even finish removing her coat and being seated, a server arrived with a loaf of cold whole or crack grain wheat bread on a board with a knife, butter and bread plates.
SUGGESTION: Warm bread would be a better idea for winter dining.
My MIL ordered the fried two-comination lunch special. Fried shrimp, fried whole belly clams (upcharge $1), french fries and cole slaw.
The plate arrived with 3 shrimp and 4 clams, a handful of thick french fries and a plastic soufle of cole slaw. The clams were cold. The shrimp was tender and sweet, the potatoes mealy. My MIL rejected the cole slaw, saying she did not like the mealy dressing.
My wife looked at my MIL's portion, compared it to other plates at our table and then complained to a server about the meager portion. The server replied, we weigh everything and walked away. Another server overheard this, and 4 minutes later arrived at out table with a small plate with 6 additional clams. A manager stipped by and commented "you got more clams, goo' and walked away.
My wife ordered the combination with fried shrimp, fried oysters and onion rings. Again the shrimp was good, the oysters were without taste. My wife received 5 shrimp and 4 oytsers. The onion rings were battered dipped and totally without taste. No one seasoned the batter, or seasoned the onion rings when they were removed from the fryer. Half the onion rings tasted were raw and cold inside. My wife did not even taste the cole slaw.
I ordered the broiled scrod, as I am not a fan of L&J's fried items (see my posts on other L&J threads on this board).
The fish was dry and overcooked. The onion rings were flavorless as noted above. I, however liked the cole slaw and ate it all.
Normally, I make excuses for new restaurants, BUT L&J has been an institution on the CT shoreline for years and did not have to try out new recipes. They do however have to train their staff.
The consensus was that we have no desire to return here, if we don't want to drive to the east shore, my MIL and wife would rather go to Stowe's in West Haven.
L&J has a big nut in this prime waterfron location, but inless they improve service and food they will be another 'used to be' in this location
Made our annual pilgrimage to Ikea in New Haven yesterday to pick up some swedish meatballs for our christmas eve smorgasbord. Then popped over to L&J's for lunch. We got there early enough that they immediately seated us by a window. As the lunch hour wore on the place pretty much filled up. It wasn't as quiet as a library, but the noise level certainly didn't prevent us from conversing normally. The servers were pleasant and attentive. No complaint in that regard. The menu is a clone of the one in Westbrook. With all due respect to the posters who eschew fried seafood, I view a properly fried clam (whole-belly, of course) or piece of cod as a thing of beauty and L&J's has that down pat. The clams were fresh, lightly battered and not greasy. When my fried clam dinner came, everyone in our party marveled at how large the portion was and wondered if I would be able to finish it. I did! My only nit is that the french fries, while not bad, are ordinary at best. But remember that L&J gives you the option of substituting boiled red potatoes or seasoned rice. My wife, not an avid seafood eater, said that her fish and chips were excellent. I started out with 1/2 dozen raw oysters. They were fresh, ice cold and perfectly shucked swimming in their liquor. At $9.50 per 1/2 dozen it's one of the best deals on the shoreline. Most other places charge $14-15 for 6. Yes, the decor is fairly pedestrian, but with a view of New Haven harbor out the window, I didn't spent much time staring at the two plastic lobsters on the wall wearing santa claus hats. Sorry about the bad experiences that others had, but ours was great and we'll be back.
Went this past Saturday night- if you are an old Seafarer fan this will be right up your alley- but no more. Limit your expectations to to other Lenny and Joes restaurants, West Haven aterfron fried food locations, Lennys in Branford etc and you'll find this location to be spot on with great service, an awesome view, and a sweet bar to eat at should you be like us and perefer to do so.
ALSO- if you are a Lenny and Joes fan buy some gift cards for yourself NOW and get some real savings of 25 %! I just bought $125 worth and paid $100!
I'll probably be giving it a try at some point. My mother is always jonesin' for seafood and while she likes the food at Stowe's, unless the weather is perfect for sitting outside (not too hot, not too cold, not too wet, not too breezy, etc etc...) she doesn't like it.
So I've had to hump up I-95 more often than not. I've had so-so meals at both of the L&J and also at Lenny's Indian Head.
The thing is, even if this place ain't spiffin' awesome, at least it's in town. And I can stop by Ikea and pick up a HOLMØPZ or a VARKBLARGÜNDOOF or something.
Husband and I like the fried clams at Lenny and Joes in Westbrook and decided to try out the new location in mid-January and it was not a good experience at all. Waitstaff was friendly and attentive but food tasted like warmed up frozen meals from a supermarket.
My husband ordered the fried seafood plate and is used to not being able to finish it at the Westbrook location. The fried clams, along with all the other seafood, were overbattered, lukewarm, greasy and had no taste. Perhaps the quality had something to do with the fact it was January. He finished most of it and certainly didn't want to take home the leftover. I ordered the lobster roll and it was puny looking because it was made up of lobster meat from the knuckle and legs - there was no evidence of tail or even claw meat. Overall this was far below the quality we have experienced in the summer at the Westbrook location.
We had been familiar with the New Haven location when it was Leon's and we noted that Lenny and Joe's didn't totally change the layout from the previous restaurant. We consider L&J a very casual, family restaurant and in comparison to other L&J restaurants, this location looks pretentious in comparison to the other locations.
In all fairness, I would try this restaurant again in the summer in the hopes that fresh lobster and clams will make a difference.
We've been twice for lunch since it opened. It was very good both times. I'd say the food is comparable to the other locations and the setting is certainly a lot better.
The first time we went I had the fried scallops. They were excellent - very sweet and fried perfectly. Not greasy at all. Others in the party got lobster rolls and a shrimp/scallop combo. They all enjoyed it.
The second time I got the broiled scallops. They were also very sweet and tasty, but a few scallops still retained the tough muscle that ought to be removed. That's my only complaint.
I agree with another poster that their fries are nothing special - the onion rings are better.