A Tale of the Trip…

Thanksgiving is over…our roast pork and kimchi is all eaten and packed away in the fridge (oh yeah you are getting a heck of a Momofuku cookbook post about Thanksgiving…we are rebels like that)…and people who are unafraid of getting trampled to death are waiting in line at 2 am to get deals on electronics and cologne.  Sounds like a perfect time for another Fritos and Foie Gras roadtrip!  On my family’s way up to Boston to see cousins, I laid down the groundwork for lunch:
1)Must not be a chain (although 3 locations were allowed-mini chains can be regional)
2)MUST have whole bellied fried clams
3) Must bring up memories of summers on the cape, riding on my father’s sloop wearing Ralph Lauren sweaters, and clambakes with Mimsy and Bill Jr. at the country club…okay, those aren’t really MY memories, but the restaurant should make me feel like I grew up in New England ok?!  Yeah I want the food to give me false memories…I am slightly demanding.
The place that seemed to fit the criteria was Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale, in Westport, CT.
When we got there at 11:30, there were already a few tables filled, and by the time we left an hour later the place was PACKED!  Best to get here on the early side!

The place was a large, super casual affair, with paper placemats, ketchup readily available, and pictures of Bill  Clinton and other heads of state chowing down on their seafood.  Well if it’s good enough for Bill…

We started with the clam chowder.  Now, this was not New England clam chowder-there was no cream, no bacon, no thick, rich feel.  It was more akin to Rhode Island clam chowder.  A cloudy, semi transparent broth redolent of salt and sea with no other flavors to mar it. Huge pieces of sweet and briny clams.  Tender chunks of Idaho potatoes added heft and just a bit of heartiness to the otherwise light and seafood focused dish.  This was clam soup for the soul.  I could eat about 7 bowls of this and not feel weighed down or tired of it.  It was just so totally…of the sea.  My sister was not a fan, but I am telling you…if you like clams, this soup is for you.

My mom and I ordered the scrod.  No, scrod is not the name for dried bird poop on your car, though that is what it sounds like.  It is actually baby cod!  Now, I know that people don’t like the idea of eating animals.  But I like veal, I love suckling pig, and hey…did you ever eat an egg?  Ok, I’m getting down off my soapbox and re-focusing on the scrod.  It was thin, flaky, and tasted SO mild and sweet!  It was much more like sole than regular cod, and was perfection with just a squeeze of lemon.  I didn’t even use any of the (truly excellent) tartar sauce.  I saved that for…

THE WHOLE BELLY FRIED CLAMS!!!!  Have you ever had fried clams?  Well, whole bellied fried clams are to regular fried clams as Disney World is to your childhood backyard-that is, bigger, sweeter, and BETTER. Anyone squeamish about trying seafood should start out with whole bellied fried clams.  When prepared well, they are not at all fishy, tough, or intimidating.  And these were among the best I have ever eaten.  You just dip them in the accompanying creamy, relish flecked tartar sauce and pop them in your mouth!  Crispy, greaseless batter crunches beneath your teeth and gives way to a soft pillow of sweet and salty brine.  And that is it.  It is the pure essence of clams with nothing else.  I can NOT recommend these bites of heaven enough.  Get these…or I will shun you. 

We also got cherry neck clams on the half shell.  Unfortunately, these were the one item I did not like.  Though I look forward to the cold and savory rush that raw shellfish delivers, these tasted bitter, over mineral-y, and just generally…off.  Though the cocktail sauce was full of horseradish and delicious, I just was not into these.

My father, the human garbage disposal, had no such issues.
Raw clams aside, Lenny and Joes was a fantastic lunch spot.  It was casual, extremely well priced, and had the most delicious fried clams I have had in quite awhile.  There was something for everyone, and it is one of only two locations-BOTH in CT.  I am a clam lover, and now, I am a Lenny and Joe’s lover!  

Comments

  1. JustinM says:

    A lobster roll for $13.99? Oh man…

  2. Joanne says:

    I can't wait to hear about your momofuku thanksgiving! I would love to pull something like this off but I think my family would be eternally resistant. Gotta love some good New England seafood. THe makings of a great road trip.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The location that you enjoyed from the pictures appears to be the Westbrool location at 86 Boston Post Road. Westbrook, CT. Both locations are great.

  4. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @JustinM-great prices, right? and the portions are big!!
    @Joanne-oh you will definitely be getting a momofuku report! next time we cook from the cookbook you will come to dinner!
    @Anon-you are so right! Thank you for the correction!

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