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Restaurants & Bars 2

Search for the elusive fried clam Part 2 - Sonny Mclean's

P. | Sep 17, 200510:09 PM

This is a second stop on the search which is earlier chronicled in the post linked below. Sonny McLean's purports to be the be all and end all of Boston bars in LA. I must say it does a helluva job at that. You walk in and none of the real wall surface is exposed. It's all covered in real Bostonian, mostly sports, memorabilia. Not the stuff like at Hard Rock or Planet Hollywood, where you can buy it in the gift shop for over inflated prices. There is something about the vibe which makes you think if you tried to take a piece of it home for you own collection they'd slit your throat for it, though the feel, love, and most of the accents in the place are real. I usually bump into a few fellow Emersonians when I walk in. They've been doing a brisk business as Beantown's teams fortunes have been overflowing.
My GF and I went Friday night after each having a long week at work. NESN was up on all the screens [there seemed to be 20 of them] showing the Red Slobs down by 1 against the A's in the bottom of the 4th. It would seem the place was half full, but having been there 2 years ago during game 2 of the Patriots playoffs, I know that this is only about 1/16th of the people they can shove in here like sardines. There was no hostess and GF took charge and led me to a booth in the back corner, grabbing menus on the way.
The waitress noticed us quickly and took our drink orders. I had a Guinness and GF had a Black and Tan. When they came, It looked like the B & T was made traditionally with Harp and we both noticed how creamy and chocolaty the Guinness was I was even able to draw a Guinness smiley face in the head.
I went for the Clam Boat aka roll. GF was a little more indecisive. she was first thinking of the Fish and Chips then gravitated to chicken wings and onion rings but then went with the Lobster Bun so she could later compare it with the one @ The Hungry Cat when the time comes.
The platters came quickly and they were piled high with food. The first thing noticed were the Bellies; big, fat, and juicy. Then I remembered the ways these don't hold a candle to a real one. First the rolls were Hoagie rolls which was way too much bread for this application. New England Hot Dog Buns are a must! Second they were cooked extra crispy and I wondered why until I bit into one and the clam itself was really mushy. [Long time, no sea] GF said the clams tasted briny. A lot of places will soak clams in Buttermilk overnight to lessen the brininess and use cornmeal and Old Bay in the batter, but this had none of that. The cole slaw which I've had when it's fresh and good there, was limp, fries were OK, but the tarter sauce was excellent, tangy and thick, and the rolls were toasted which is always a plus.
GF's Lobster Bun was on the same hoagie roll as the clams and had identifiable pieces of lobster sticking out, but a lot of it had the consistency of canned tuna. Tasting it revealed only some lobster flavor. While typing this up I went to the menu on the website which revealed the Lobster Bun was Maine lobster meat mixed with baby shrimp and mayo. Ah-Ha! That explains it. There seemed to be a little too many baby shrimp, but that may have just been the part of the roll I had or maybe the price of Maine lobster is high.

But each of these rolls were less than $10 each and as my late father would say "It's a Hot Steaming Deal!" and I would agree. As the Red Slobs were tied in the Bottom of the 7th with the bases loaded and only one out, we had finished our meal and were enjoying the beer and the game, when Edgar Renteria grounded to the A's shortstop who nicely turned the double play and got Johnny Damon and Edgar out. Some things never change. My heart couldn't take it any more. Check Please!
Total 2 Rolls 2 Beers 1 Club Soda. $32.15 + tip
Sonny McLean's Irish Pub and Restaurant
2615 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, California 90403
[The Red Slobs ended up winning when Manny Remirez was beaned with the bases loaded in the 10th. The saga continues........]


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