Best fried clams in the USA

Old Aug 26th, 2009, 08:14 PM
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Best fried clams in the USA

Okay ... we are back from our fourth trip to Europe, and now planning to try an adventure in the good old USA. We are looking for the best fried clams ... maybe will build a whole vacation around some good seafood.

We have time and air miles ...

Anyone have any suggestions?
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Old Aug 27th, 2009, 04:15 AM
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Wow! What a quest!

I assume you mean real fried clams, the sort with whole bellies, like chewy oysters?

Everyone has his favorites, but the sort of Vatican of the Fried Clam begins in Rhode Island and goes perhaps as far as Portsmouth, NH.

Understand that clams are highly variable in flavor and water content, so today's brilliant clam is tomorrow's damp and flavorless (or off-flavored) disappointment.

Places that I have enjoyed (and I can't wait to see other peoples' lists) are: Cooke's Seafood on Iyanough Road in Hyannis, MA; Woodman's in Essex, MA, who claim to be the inventors of the fried clam; the Clam Box on Quincy Shore Drive in Quincy, MA; and, yes, Jasper White's Summer Shack, including the ones in Terminal A at Logan Airport.

While you are at it, I urge you to try a couple of white clam pizzas here and there, just to vary your eating, and if you are in Boston, go to the original Daily Catch (Calamari Cafe) on Hanover Street in the North End and order Black pasta with white clam sauce. This isn't on their menu, but you will think you have died and gone to heaven if you like (a) clams and (b) garlic.

You are living my dream!
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Old Aug 27th, 2009, 05:14 AM
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Why do you want to mess them up by frying them ? Just eat the little buggers.
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Old Aug 27th, 2009, 05:58 AM
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Usually we visit Maine in search of perfect lobster but refresh our palates with fried clams and onion rings. We did not care for the clams at Woodman's #2 in Litchfield NH but mostly because the atmosphere is loud. You should check Chowhound/New England for past threads about fried clams ... and I don't believe fried clam strips are really clams. There must be bellies to be true clams. The Sea Basket on Rt 1 in Wiscasset ME is very good. Not on the water but one of those order at the counter places. We think you can get excellent fried clams inland, as well. Our current favorite place is a new 'local place' called the Pizza Market in Franklin, NH. The market price last week was under $16. They let you sub onion rings for fries and the cole slaw is good. Even piggos such as ourselves had to leave some rings and slaw on the plate. I think at some point along the Maine coast the batter style changes to more like breading. We generally vacation in the mid-coast area with Wiscasset being an excellent central location for lobster shacks (many are weekends only in Sept and close after Columbus Day). A visit to a great farmers market like the Friday one in Brunswick will allow you to stock up on fresh baked goods and local fruit. Bring bag chairs, binnoculars and find a good spot to enjoy the ocean and rest up for your next meal.
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Old Aug 27th, 2009, 06:42 AM
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Here's another vote for Cooke's in Hyannis. The only problem I have there is deciding what to pick off the menu....
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Old Aug 27th, 2009, 07:14 AM
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Unfortunately, I have no suggestions. But just have to say that this sounds like such a fun trip! I'm jealous! And will be watching this thread to see what recommendations you get in hopes of being able to use them sometime.
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Old Aug 27th, 2009, 02:18 PM
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One very good spot for them is the North Shore area of Boston -- specifically in Ipswich (The Clam Box, a clam shack type place) or Essex (of the clam shack spots, I prefer J.T. Farnham's over Woodman's, and for a sit-down place I like The Village Restaurant).

SAnParis2, while I too am a big fan of clams raw on the half shell, I'm also very fond of the fried version (greatly prefer the whole bellied ones, not the strips). There's also steamed clams, which are local to New England and delicious.
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Old Mar 30th, 2010, 01:34 PM
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Must try The Lobster Shack in Plymouth MA!!! Great fried lobster, too.
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Old Mar 30th, 2010, 03:06 PM
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What a great quest!

I'd like to submit the Sea Swirl in Mystic, CT for your consideration. I thought the clams there were a cut above what we normally find, with a light and crisp batter.

Local lore has it that you don't want to show up at the clam shops too early or late in the summer. Most of these places are seasonal and it takes a while to train a good cook. The usual recommendation is early July to late August (when the newly trained cooks depart for school).
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 05:55 AM
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Aaahhh, the Sea Swirl. Found that several years ago on its last open day of the season. Now, we regard it as our Cape Cod gateway. I know, that makes no reasonable sense, but many nice things fit in that category. Heading east, it's our last stop before Hyannis.
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 09:14 AM
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Yes, Sea Swirl, get off at exit 90 from i 95 go south on rt. 27 for 1.6 miles then left on rt 1 (north, but really east) Sea Swirl is on the right just a little way up across from the Inn at Mystic.
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 09:42 AM
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I had my first "real" fried clams at Browns in Seabrook NH. Now I get my fix at Kate's on Cape Cod.
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 10:23 AM
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Riverview. Sneads Ferry, North Carolina. Just off Topsail Island, between Wilmington and the Camp Lejeune Marine Base in Jacksonville.
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 10:29 AM
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I work for a clam distributor on the eas
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 10:36 AM
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Oops - I'm on an iPod and screwed up. Anyway - I work for a clam distributor on Long Island. Varney's, a tiny non-descript place spot on Montauk Hwy is my fave. I prefer them on the half shell, but they are yummy!
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 12:25 PM
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If you like fried scallops, I've had no better than Riverview in Snead's Ferry.
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