I recently went on an eating tour of New England, and among the things that I ate were fried clams, at Essex Seafood in Essex, MA; and The Clam Box in Ipswitch, MA. I've never really had these before, my only other experience with fried clams is the crap that I had in college, prior to that, I've never even heard of a fried clam.
I know that this is something that New England ex-pats pine for when they move to LA. I also had a craving for them myself so I decided to try them at the only place in LA that I know has them. The Jar on Beverly offers "Fried Ipswich clams, cocktail and roasted garlic tartar sauce" for $15.
I got a small bowl with about 10 or so clams on a bed of what is probably fried vermicelli. In Ipswitch $15 will get you a huge plate with fries or onion rings and a cole slaw (the picture below is what The Clam Box will serve, not what the Jar serves). Nevertheless they tasted very good and very fresh. With a delightful clam taste that is still present. The batter may even be a touch crisper than the ones I had at The Clam Box and Essex Seafood (I liked the former more than the latter). One negative is that I encountered grit in some of the clams. In the many many clams I scarfed in Massachusetts, I didn't encounter a single gritty clam.
I've heard rumors that The Jar buys their clams from Ipswitch Shellfish Company, where the other place gets theirs from. I've also heard that The Hungry Cat uses them too. As of yet, I haven't seen any fried Ipswich clams there, but I'm waiting.
8225 Beverly Blvd
The Clam Box
246 High St
Ipswich, MA 01938
143R Eastern Avenue
Essex, MA 01929