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About-face on No Name

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About-face on No Name

MC Slim JB | Jul 14, 2003 09:29 AM

I have dissed the No Name up and down for years as a vile tourist trap, the result of a horrific experience there some years ago. A visiting friend with strong nostalgia for the place -- especially its chowder -- dragged me back this weekend.

I was shocked to find it clean, with service a bit brusque (waiting on an endless stream of tourists will do that to you), and featuring a remarkably tasty seafood chowder. It was not the gloppy, potato-heavy junk usually served as "New England style" in this town, but instead had a just-slightly-milky broth with a strong shellfish note, no potatoes, and lots of good white fish (cod and/or pollock, I think), though little other seafood. Really quite good. My friend ate three bowls of it.

I also had a plate of fried smelts, which were perfectly done (a slightly oily pan frying, a nice upgrade from the expected batter-coated-deep-fry), with sides of just-okay fries and slaw. Cheap: under $5 a bowl for chowder, the full smelt dinner $9.

I haven't been wronger about a place in a while, nor happier to be wrong. It reminded me that I need to qualify my opinions with their timeliness, and to not be too harsh on (nor too laudatory of) any place I haven't visited lately. The No Name stunk once upon a time, but has come back from the brink to be a worthy, if touristy, destination.

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