For the first 10 years I lived in Boston, I thought fried clam perfection was found only at Woodman's. After one too many bad fry jobs (and one unspeakable atrocity I saw in the kitchen--you don't want to know), my wife and I swtiched our allegiance to the Clam Box. Not impressed with a few years worth of long lines and mediocre food, my fellow 'hounds directed me to both Farnham's and then Essex Seafood...but still I was unfulfilled (under-frying, soggy coatings, clams of questionable quality). And then one day last fall, I was dragged into Tom Shea's (an old-school sit-down joint across the street from Woodman's), and, with low expectations, ordered the fried clam plate. I've been back to order the same thing three times, and in my mind, these are the best fried clams around--with an unbeatable price (I was there yesterday, and the plate was $13.95). Crispy but light coating with a crunch that holds, unfailably (okay, so I'm 4 out of 4, but still...) plump, fresh, fat-bellied bivalves--declicous. And the fries are fresh-cut (I think) and nicely fried (no rings). I gotta say, I'm a believer. Especially with Ipswich Ale on tap to accompany, and a clean (if a little outdated) dining room. Now that I have that off my chest...
Hit Cambridge 1 Fenway before the game on Thursday; the place was empty at 6. My wife and I both ordered half pizzas (only pizzas and salads on the menu, per Cambridge 1 Cambridge). I had the half lobster pizza with corn and scallions, which was tasty but not quite worth the $13--lobster meat had a chew that whispered "frozen," but did have a subtle sweetness that worked well with the corn and scallion (especially with a good glug of the chile oil they have on the tables). Wife enjoyed her sopressata pie with fontina. Both pies featured their signature "grilled," (quotes because these pies sure seem like they're baked in a very hot oven) ultra-thin crusts. Tasty enough, and fast service (there were only a few other tables at 6 pm), but somehow not as satisfying as Audobon (same ownership group, and a block away). Maybe it's the miminalist decor, but it just seemed to be without a soul.
Had an ASSBAR lunch today of their gobbler (turkey, stuffing, cranberry) and a pressed "hot" Italian cold-cut sandwich dressed with a chopped olive salad. Cranberry was the weak link; tasted like some rookie tried to "spice it up" with ginger and coriander, and it just didn't work. Italian was tasty but brought no heat. We got ours to go, but were surprised that it was packed at 12:30.
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