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The Clam Box – Ipswich, Massachusetts

Clam Box lobster roll

When a place is world famous for having the best of one dish, as Clam Box is for their fried, whole belly clams, chances are excellent that is the thing to order.  Such is the case with Clam Box, at least I assume.  I don’t actually eat much in the fry food group and haven’t developed a taste for the whole belly, so I can’t personally vouch for them.  But, judging by the line I’ve seen multiple times here, they must be good.  I’m glad I found a day with a minimal line, because if I had waited for this lobster roll for over an hour, I think I may have felt a bit like the woman in front of me at Red’s who ordered a grilled cheese…stupid.

I knew when I got to the window to place my order and asked my questions that I was glad I hadn’t been in line too long.  The lobster meat is not cooked or picked there and yes, it is previously frozen lobster meat…  I was still holding out hope that it would be the good kind of frozen meat.  I mean, frozen meat, to me, has never been as good as fresh, but it can be decent.  For $18, ($3-$5 more than I’d paid for fresh picked that very same day) I expected at least decent.  As I took it into their cozy, mid-century, not modern, but cute cape cod, knobby pine vibe dining room, I still thought it sure looked like a good lobster roll.  The standard bun was buttery grilled, but one bite told me, this lobster roll was not for me.  What was curious was that the meat actually had lots of large chunks of tail meat in addition to claw, highly unusual with frozen meat.  In fact, I can’t remember ever encountering frozen tail meat in a lobster roll, this is a first.  Unfortunately, this tail meat seemed to take on an unpleasant, grainy texture, and none of it had much flavor at all.  It had minimal mayo, but in this case, I think more may have helped.

On the up side the onion rings were tasty.  Apparently, they change their frying oil at least once during the day, impressive.  The clam chowder was truly amazing, not to be missed.  As I should have expected, order what they are known for, fresh clams and fried food, skip the lobster roll.

Weighed in at 7.6 oz.

Visited October 2012

Clam Box of Ipswich (Reopens Feb. 16) on Urbanspoon

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