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OMG !!! - Old Port Lobster Shack – Chowder & Fried Clam Roll

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OMG !!! - Old Port Lobster Shack – Chowder & Fried Clam Roll

rworange | Feb 4, 2006 11:27 PM

Yes, I know. I said I was dieting. But for the past few days I’ve been thinking about ... fried clams.

Since I wasn’t getting over it, I decided, like Scarlet, tomorrow was another day. What a seafood feast!

- Fried clam roll with whole belly Ipswich clams in a New England roll
- THE most astounding seafood chowder with scallops, crab and haddock
- Countless (literally) rope-grown mussels steamed in white wine & garlic
- Lobster cakes (like crab cakes but made of lobster ... how good is that?)

This is just such a good place. I overheard someone asking about Maine shrimp and they said that they would have them based on availability. There was a recent discussion on the General Board about Maine shrimp, so if anyone is interested locally, this would be the place to inquire.

Also, the New England hot dog rolls that are baked to specs by a local bakery can be purchased if you ask. I didn’t buy any but asked about it and was told they hadn’t thought about it, but probably yes.

There seems to be a chowder of the day. Last time it was clam. It’s funny, but even before tasting it, I looked at it and thought, “wrong”. So I was a little hesitant to take home the scallop, crab, and haddock chowder. I opened it took one look at it and before even tasting it thought “WOW”.

It is neck in neck with that Sea Salt clam chowder as the best in the Bay Area. Let’s see, the Sea Salt chowder costs $9. The OPLS chowder costs $4.75.

No thickeners. It is just cream, butter, fish stock, stellar fresh seafood ... scallops cut in half, crab, nice pieces of haddock, and just the right amount of potato in the right size, proportion and texture. Every single spoonful stopped me in amazement with its goodness. You know, even though it is not clam, I just might give it the edge over Sea Salt.

This place knows how to treat the hot dog roll for the appropriate filling. With the ‘naked’ lobster roll it was properly buttery. With the fried clam roll, it was nicely grilled and stuffed with the clams.

It comes with a large paper cup of absolutely perfect of tarter sauce, sweet pickle chips, those great house made potato chips and slaw. The slaw was better this time. Could be a little crisper, but I liked it.

The clams were just perfect. The breading was great and there was a deeply satisfying clam flavor. Enough clams to pick some out of the roll and eat with tartar sauce alone and the rest topped with the remaining tarter sauce and eaten with in the bun. I couldn’t be happier.

The owners’ names are ... I’m sorry, the food distracted me again. The husband’s name is Russell. He said he was disappointed in the clams because they were small. He thought it had to do with the weather on the East Coast, but he was going to talk to the seafood provider about it. That attention to quality seems important to this restaurant.

I loved the clams even better than the fried clams I had at my favorite clam shack in Connecticut. On my last visit home, I thought I was getting too “California-ized’ and had lost my appreciation of fried food. The Old Port Lobster Shack reminded me why I love fried clams so much.

The mussels were mentioned three times by the staff and in the back of my mind I was thinking “fine, fine, fine ... give me the clam roll”. I seriously considered a second clam roll. But when people talk up something so much, it catches my attention.

Those mussels were really fine.

No kidding about countless, I gave up counting, maybe 3 – 4 dozen for $9.75.

They looked so good too ... a lot plumper than most. They were as delicious as they looked with the nice light wine broth with garlic and sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley.

Russell was gone and I asked the cook what was special about rope-grown mussels. He said they are larger because they are exposed to more of the nutrients than those on ocean beds. Very nice that the staff is well-trained and can answer questions.

I noticed that some of the mussels were white and other orange, so here’s a little mussel trivia for you … the orange meats are the females, the whites are males. They both taste the same, by the way.

Here’s a link with more information about the benefits of rope-grown mussels which basically says “Eating rope grown seafood is an excellent way to minimize your consumption of stuff you'd rather not consume!”. In other words, you don’t want the mussels lying on the sea floor, soaking up silt and other bad things:

http://www.newworldhomecooking.com/pa...

Lobster cakes could be ordered as a full order with two cakes ($16.75) or a la carte for one ($7.00). I ordered the a la cart cake to take home. It was a generous serving of a loose lobster patty topped with a corn salsa on a bed of greens. It compared favorably to similar dishes in the Bay Area. I thought the serving was generous for the price. One customer was told that the full order of two cakes had the meat of a whole lobster.

On this visit I paid attention to the draft beers. Thumper beer and The Shipyard beer from Portland, Maine were available. The Shipyard was a lighter beer. I liked the Thumper better, but I know less about beer than I do about wine. I’m sure the beer experts on the board will have better insight into these beers.

The other six draft beers were from a local brewery - Devils Canyon Brewery. They are:
- Full Boar Scotch Ale – dark ale
- Silicon Blonde Ale
- Lager Diabla
- California Sunshine – a 3.2 light beer
- Thomas Morgan Amber Ale
- Hetch Hetchy – hefenweiser

Here’s more information about the brewery which is new to me:

http://www.devilscanyonbrewery.com/pa...

They now have the fish and chips on the menu which are made with haddock - $9.75. Ipswich clams can also be ordered by the plate and as an appetizer. As an appetizer they come in a paper wrapped cone.

Today’s salads made with greens included a lobster salad and a Jonah crabmeat salad. Day Boat scallops were on the menu.

The rolls for today included a Day Boat Scallop roll, fresh crabmeat roll and ... of all things, a carnitas roll, in addition to clam and lobster. Sorry, I have my clam / lobster needs to focus on, so you are on your own about that carnitas roll. It seems they simplified the Maine roll which is now “lobster meat tossed with mayo, the way it’s served in Maine”.

Sandwiches today included fried haddock, cheeseburgers (cheddar, Swiss, Gorgonzola, pepper jack, or brie), Flat iron steak, hot dog and grilled cheese. The grilled cheese is a reasonable $3.50. I found all the prices good value for the portions and the quality. IMO, they exceed Bay Area standards in those areas.

I drove by the place AGAIN today even though the white truck was on the street. If you get to KMART, go back. It is next door to Baker’s Square and across the street from the biggest building on Veteran’s Blvd – Bay Area Bank. It is between Middlefield Rd and Jefferson.

There are too few places like this in the Bay Area and it is what I miss most about New England. I miss the restaurants that are simply about good food without the scene. In the Bay Area it seems that it is either street food/dives or upscale ... with very little in-between.

I don’t have what it takes to look it up, but someone said it brilliantly recently about pizza. It should be about a tasty pie at a good price. To me OPLS has prices that are reasonable for top quality without the pretense. It’s a good place to have a beer and some delicious food.

If you are in the Redwood City area, I highly suggest checking it out. IMO, it is worth a drive from SF, SJ or the East Bay for that New England seafood fix.

So I had my clam fix. Back on the diet. Obviously, I’m never going to make it on Oprah for losing beaucoup pounds because OPLS is on my schedule as a reward for reaching certain goals.

I’m ready to move on. I’m over it, if you get my drift. Really. I’m grateful for the opportunity to shine a little light on this delicious place. Thank you.

Old Port Lobster Shack

851 Veterans Blvd
Redwood City, CA

650.366.2400

www.oplobster.com

Hours (it's a new place so call to be sure)
Closed Sunday and Monday
Tuesday - Saturday: 11 - 3 and 5-8

Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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