143 Eastern Avenue, Essex, MA 01929
weeks before i went to boston, i came across somebody's boston trip blog, & a "fried clam" dish caught my attention .. the boston chowhounds pointed me in the direction of Essex Seafood, a very quaint diner on the way from Boston to Rockport ..
i was told there are several establishments serving Fried Clams along Eastern Ave, but Essex Seafood was the best one, hands down .. specifically, Essex Seafood fried whole clams, while some of the others offered "clam strips" -- possibly partial clams mixed with other ingredients, & not as good ..
from the outside, the place looked like a shack .. seemed like my kind of place ..
once inside, the place looks a bit better .. you order your food from the counter, grab a seat & hang tight .. the menu included fried clams, calamari, scallops, shrimp, even steamed lobster ..
naturally lit bright indoor seating, as well as backyard patio seating if the weather's good ..
this seemed like a perfect place to try New England clam chowder (Large, $6.00 USD) .. and tasty it was .. full of clammy goodness in every spoon, but not overwhelmingly seafoody either -- my S.O. usually dislikes creamy soups & anything fishy-tasting, but had no problem taking in spoonful after spoonful .. nor was it too starchy with potatoes .. the restaurant website claims that they shuck all clams fresh in the kitchen !
the plate of calamari ($6.95 usd), with squid piled on top of battered fries & thin-batter onion rings .. unlike most calamari i've had, there was very little salting & seasoning in the batter ..
the plate of clams ($15.95 usd) were also piled high with similar fried accompaniments .. the higher price is a result of this year's earlier red tide problems, severely limiting the availability of clams .. the clams were fried crunchier than the calamari, but had a wonderful clamminess, almost reminiscent of fried oysters, but smaller .. my S.O. found it too clammy, leaving most of it for me -- i had no quams about this arrangement .. :)
will definitely be heading back next time we're in Boston, especially since it's right on our way to a wonderful little beach we found in Rockport .. get some take-out clam chowder, some fried goodness, making for an afternoon of beachy goodness & greasy foodness ..