Thanks to everyone who helped me select a place south of Ipswich/Essex for fried clams. Since I only had last Thursday night free on my trip to Boston, and since I was staying near the Prudential Center, I decided that I'd better go to the Barking Crab for my fried clams outing. Quincy and Medford would have been too far that late at night.
My flight on Thursday from SF was delayed due to a woman from Taiwan who complained about feeling "hot" right before we were about to take off from SF. The pilot wasn't about to risk the health of all 160+ passengers and crew, so he got out of the long departure line, and let her off the plane. So we got into Boston at 9:00PM, an hour late.
I made it to my hotel at 9:50, raced up to the room to drop off my bag, called the Barking Crab to make sure they were serving until 10:30 like their recorded message says (the woman who answered confirmed this), and I jumped into a taxi. I arrived inside the door at the Barking Crab at 10:19--11 minutes to spare--so I thought.
I asked the barmaid if they served food at the bar and she said that the kitchen was closed. I explained a bit about my situation, coming all the way from California, the flight delay, Chowhound recommendations etc. She went into the kitchen to make sure they had closed, and she came back out to tell me the bad news. She told me that a place called the Seaport, just down the street, served until midnight. When I reminded her that I had come for the best fried clams in Boston, she said that the Seaport's were 2nd best. I was about to take her recommendation, but wanted to let the owner or manager of the Barking Crab know about my disappointment.
A young woman came out of the kitchen to speak with me. This was the manager. I explained my situation and told her I knew the kitchen was closed, but wanted to ask her why the recorded message and a live person both told me that the Barking Crab serves until 10:30 on Thursdays. She told me the kitchen closes at 10PM on Thursdays. I didn't want to accuse her of lying, but I did tell her to change the recorded message. She was not very apologetic and seemed to care not the least about my story.
So I strolled down the street to find the Seaport. I walked into the lively bar scene and asked a waitress if the kitchen was still serving. She told me they closed the kitchen 40 minutes ago, at 10PM. Oh well. I hadn't seen this place recommended on Chowhound for its fried clams, so it wasn't too major of a disappointment here.
Now I needed to find something to eat, and a taxi back to my hotel. I wandered into the Seaport Hotel and looked at the bar menu there, which was still being served. No fried clams, and pretty much just standard bar food, or so it seemed from my cursory glance at the menu. I decided to cab it back to the Back Bay thinking that something might be open.
I got back to the Sheraton and the concierge told me the only thing open at this point was Marche upstairs. I actually had a halfway decent 1/2 roast chicken at 11:15PM and excellent yukon gold fries there. They also had a good and inexpensive Shiraz of which I downed 2 glasses.
Well, no fried clams this trip (back in SF now), unfortunately, just $27 in cab fare to and from the Waterfront for one of my biggest culinary letdowns in recent memory. Should I write a letter to the owner of the Barking Crab, or should I just drop it?