Yes-- before I start-- I know there are good places in Old Saybrook, Westbrook, etc but The Clam Castle and Lenny and Joes are in my backyard...
So-- on my annual fried clam weekend-- I tried each of these-- Clam Castle first...
On a Saturday lunch, almost deserted and it's a beautiful day! Hmmmm... I order a "king" fried clams-- essentially a double order with no fries or rings. Typical indifferent teenage counter service. Five minutes later they arrive for takeout and I retreat to the picnic tables out back and can't believe my eyes. For 17.95, there are maybe 12 clams in a mushy, wet batter, the accomanying tartar has the thin yellow film on top that it develops from sitting too long. Uggghh. The clams themselves were plump and probably could have been wonderful in a nice crisp batter.
Next stop, Lenny and Joe's. Packed as always, friendly service. I order a double fried clams, no fries or rings. Ten minutes later, I have a huge heap of crispy light clams, good batter and well cooked. Accompanying tartar is fresh and lemons are a good touch. Are they the best fried clams ever? No, but the difference between these two places is huge!
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