Went down to GF's house in Long Beach this weekend to cook dinner for friends on Saturday night. Sunday while en-route back to the Westside and deciding on lunch options we remembered a post of a place in Los Alamitos which served fried clams. Well, we needed to try it.
The Original Fish Company is located in a multi-building shopping center at the corner of Los Alamitos and Katella Ave in Los Alamitos, CA. The vibe walking in felt reminiscent of the Legal Seafood franchises I've been into on the east coast. Also, there was a small fish market just at the entrance as well as a lobster tank around the corner. Though there were only a few Atlantic lobsters in the tank, they looked feisty and healthy.
GF and I were seated in a booth quickly and early Sunday afternoon the place seemed to be about 2/3rds full. While the service was attentive and quick, we were hungry after skipping breakfast so it was fine, others might find it a little rushed. Last thing to note about the decor were the tablecloths. In a room with lots of wood and brass, the tablecloths though a nice color and pattern were vinyl like you might find on a picnic table. I can imagine with people eating lobsters It makes for easy clean up, but the ones on the patio were cloth. HMMMMMM.
Now onto the Chow: The bread which came to the table were 2 hot mini boules of sourdough which were very tasty and we ended up requesting more to accompany the rest of our meal. As an appetizer we ordered a cup of the clam Chowder. It was very good. Creamy and buttery with out being cloyingly so. There was the taste of fresh clams without a salty briny taste you find in a lot of chowder. There was depth with the addition sweated aromatics like celery. Personally I like a little more herbage in my chowder. With a couple of grinds of fresh black pepper tho, this was the best I've had in So Cal.
On the menu were a fried clam plate and an Ipswich fried clam appetizer. When the waitress was asked whether the plater came with Ipswich clams, her response was no. Though I'm not sure whether the platter has strips or whole other type clams. The appetizer came with a good amount of clams on a bed of fried rice noodles with a side of a blue cheese dipping sauce. The clams were firm but tender, sweet, fresh, not mushy, and the batter was decent. They were a bit on the small side, but that may have been because of recent issues getting the clams from New England Waters. My Mother in Mattapoisett is just aching for spring and wouldn't mind never seeing more then 2 inches of snow Ever Again! So this means a return trip to retest the clams. Yum! The real disappointment of this dish came from the sauces. We tried the sauce which came with it, a Garlic Blue Cheese sauce, which was God Awful. GF who is a blue cheese fiend, whom I just brought several pounds of different Goat Blue Cheeses from the folks who make Humboldt Fog in Arcata CA, declared the sauce too funky for her taste. So we asked for tartar sauce which was the exact opposite. It was really bland mostly mayo with not a lot of the other flavors which make up tartar.
I also ordered the steamed New Zealand greenlip mussels in a spicy broth appetizer. Out came a huge dish of really big fresh mussels, When ordering next time I need to see if they will do a half order. The dish came with a side of buttered cheese toasts which were not big enough to sop up the massive amounts of flavorful broth. This is where the extra boules of sourdough were perfect. The broth was spicy as advertised and maybe a little too much. We think there were chopped jalapenos added for heat, but that seemed to overwhelm all the other flavors in the broth. I said a little more wine would have helped, GF said just reducing the heat a bit would have been fine.
With this we got a side of fries, which were the standard thick straight cut fry which can be found at most fish and chips places on Cape Cod. Nothing spectacular, but a good french fry nonetheless.
GF was going to order for herself fish and chips but realized it would be too much food. She went with a tuna salad on wheat which came toasted and with a side of fresh fruit. The sandwich was big and tasty, with fresh tomato crispy iceberg lettuce, and a clean fish taste with not too much mayo. so good in fact, half was saved for today's lunch. Yippee!
All in all a really good experience. Next time I will have to try and smuggle in my own N.E. Style hot dog buns since they don't offer any clam-lobster-crab rolls on the menu and also bring my own tartar sauce. On the way out the door we saw into the kitchen which had a huge wood-fired grill, which had us dreaming of next time........
The Original Fish Company Restaurant & Fresh Fish Market.
11061 Los Alamitos Boulevard
Los Alamitos, California 90720
Previous Clam Posts:
Search for the elusive fried clam - Neptune's Net
[BROKEN LINK REMOVED]
Search for the elusive fried clam Part 2 - Sonny Mclean's