Posts Tagged ‘Clams’

Brown’s Lobster Pound (Seabrook, NH)

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010 by virginia

The day after our nephew Alexander’s first birthday party in Massachusetts, we had half a day to spend with the family before we had to make the drive back home to NJ. Instead of staying around my sister’s house, we decided to head across the border into New Hampshire and try out the lobster at Brown’s Lobster Pound in Seabrook. According to my sister, this place has been featured on the Travel Channel and is famous for its lobster rolls.

It was about a 45 minute drive but the restaurant is just past the border so it wasn’t bad. We pulled into the packed parking lot and there was a huge line of people waiting at the windows where you can order fried foods.

People lined up to place their orders

Since we were getting lobster, we headed straight inside to place our order. If you’re ordering lobster and fried food, you can order inside where the line was much shorter. However, if you’re only ordering fried food, you have to do it outside. We got a few 1 1/4 lb lobsters, a few lobster rolls, a fried oyster plate for my dad, and a fried chicken plate for Adam, who hates seafood (seriously, what kind of New Englander is he? I guess you can’t expect much from a Red Sox/Patriots fan… haha j/k! Or am I?) We also wanted some steamers, which we had to order from a different counter inside.

The menu behind the lobster tanks

They gave us numbers for our orders, and we settled down at some picnic tables in the corner. The restaurant is pretty big, and even though the parking lot was full there were many picnic tables still available. The restaurant serves soda, coffee, tea, etc., but you can bring your own beer and wine. Most tables had coolers of beer, and one couple behind us was tucking into huge lobsters while drinking champagne from flutes. Pretty neat idea!

Rows of picnic tables

Our orders of steamers came up first, and we eagerly dug into the piles of clams. To eat a steamer, you pull off the skin around the neck, swirl it around in a cup of hot water to clean off any grit, dip it in melted butter, and eat.

Piles of steamers

These steamers were fresh and briney, with a pleasing texture that wasn’t too chewy. We swirled, dipped, and ate them until the rest of our food was ready.

Swirling a steamer in hot water

I opted for a lobster roll instead of a whole steamed lobster. Although value-wise whole lobsters are a better deal (they were about $12/lb while one lobster roll was $12), I wasn’t in the mood to get all messy. The lobster rolls weren’t huge, but they weren’t tiny either. There were big chunks of meat, and just enough mayo to keep everything moist and together but not overpowering. The bun was the New England style top loading hot dog bun that I love, and the outside was buttered and toasted so that it was slightly crisp but still delightfully chewy. It was only the second lobster roll that I’ve had in my life, and it was pretty good.

Lobster roll

Josh opted for a whole lobster, which was just steamed and came with melted butter on the side for dipping. It was approximately 1 1/4 lbs, and the meat was sweet and fresh.

Steamed lobster

Some of the lobsters had roe and tomalley, which my mom and I both love. They have a complex flavor that turn a lot of people off so I guess it’s an acquired taste, but we consider finding roe to be like hitting the jackpot.

Lobster roe and tomalley

Josh and I also split a cup of New England clam chowder. The chowder had great flavor and lots of clams but it was surprisingly thin. When I think of New England style chowder, I think of thick, velvety, rich soup. This soup had buttery and creamy flavor, but it was watery in texture. I didn’t really mind because it was a hot summer day, but if it were wintertime, I prefer something with more body to it so that it sticks to your ribs.

New England clam chowder

My dad isn’t as into lobster so he opted for a fried oyster plate. The oysters were decently big but they weren’t as briney in flavor as I would have liked. They were also pretty heavily breaded, and while the coating was nicely fried and crunchy, it kind of made the oysters feel overly dry in my mouth. We dipped them in lots of tasty tartar sauce but I felt like that defeated the whole purpose of having oysters. We could have dipped anything into the sauce and it would have been the same. At least the fries were good.

Fried oysters and french fries

Overall I liked Brown’s Lobster Pound but I think the appeal is the kitschiness of the atmosphere. You’re basically eating in an oversized shack, and the food is simple, hearty, and straightforward. Price-wise it’s probably comparable to other similar seafood joints, but if you’re going just for steamed lobster then it’s overpriced. Lobster at the supermarket is definitely cheaper than $12/lb (we actually stopped somewhere on the way back to my sister’s house to buy lobsters that were only $3.99/lb). Lobster rolls, however, cost $15 and up in NYC, so $12 is a relative bargain. If I lived nearby this probably wouldn’t be a place we would go to regularly, but as a tourist, I thoroughly enjoyed it. While the oysters weren’t great, the steamers and lobsters were very good, and it was a fun experience. The BYO aspect is also another huge plus.

Brown’s Lobster Pound
407 NH Highway 286
Seabrook, NH

Hilton Head Day 5 – Flying Fish Seafood

Saturday, August 28th, 2010 by virginia

We only had half a day of free time on our last day in Hilton Head. I spent the morning by the pool with the girls while Josh and his dad got in a round of golf. We met up at the pool for a quick dip and then headed inside to shower, change, and do last minute packing. We had a little time to kill before we needed to get to the airport so we decided to grab lunch. Our first choice destination was the Sea Shack, which is pretty well known on the island for its cheap seafood joint that was also featured on $40 a Day with Rachael Ray. Josh’s parents, Lisa, and Jess have gone there before but Josh and I never made it. Unfortunately, we got there at 3:10 in the afternoon only to find out that they close for lunch at 3 pm. Rats. We debated other options before deciding to check out Flying Fish Seafood, which replaced one of our favorite restaurants, Stripes.

The space definitely looked very different from when it was Stripes, but the menu was pretty well rounded so we decided to stay and have lunch. Josh, Lloyd, and I chose to have beer with our meal, and they have a pretty decent selection of bottles in their fridge. I had Palmetto Ale, a local beer, while Josh and Lloyd tried out some craft beers. We all shared an order of fried clam strips to start. The clams were clearly freshly fried as they were burning hot, but they didn’t have much flavor. They were pretty tender though, and came with a nice marinara sauce for dipping. I just wish there was a bit more brininess, and the portion was kind of small as well.

Fried clam strips

Josh and I decided to split the seafood platter so that we could try as many different items as possible. The platter came with a house garden salad first. I chose the wasabi cucumber dressing, which tasted like horseradish sauce. The dressing was actually pretty interesting, even though the salad was standard.

House garden salad

The seafood platter itself included steamed snow crab legs, scallops, shrimp, fish, and french fries.  We had the option of fried or broiled, and obviously we chose fried (because broiled fish tends to be drier). We liked that the seafood was only lightly breaded, but unfortunately it was pretty soggy. The steamed snow crab legs were pretty good though, but there was only one small cluster. The shrimp and scallops were decent, but the fish was probably the worst of the bunch. In general it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrendous.

Fried fish, steamed snow crab legs, fried shrimp, fried scallops, and french fries

The seafood platter came with one side, and we opted for the mac ‘n cheese. Sadly, it was pretty bland and not very cheesy or creamy. I dumped a bunch of salt into the bowl but even that didn’t help. It was definitely not something I would choose again.

Bland mac 'n cheese

Josh wanted to try fried pickles, so we got an additional order of those as well. I was expecting the pickles to be coin shaped, but they were actually spears. They were also very lightly breaded, and while I liked the contrast of the hot, slightly crisp exterior with the cooler, juicy interior, the pickles were super salty and made my mouth pucker. They came with marinara and ranch dressing on the side for dipping. The marinara was an odd choice, but the ranch was kind of refreshing and helped offset the saltiness a bit. I can see the potential in fried pickles, but these just weren’t a good example.

Fried pickles

I was pretty disappointed that we weren’t able to go to the Sea Shack for lunch, but I was interested to try out Flying Fish Seafood since we’ve all been curious about the restaurant that replaced Stripes. While I liked how many different options the menu had, I wasn’t really that impressed with the food. All of our fried seafood entrees were pretty soggy and limp. It wasn’t that the seafood itself was bad, it was just poorly prepared. In addition, the restaurant was empty when we were there, yet service was really spotty. It took a while to get our food, and while they kept our soda cups filled, we repeatedly asked for, and never received, extra tartar sauce for our fish. The experience was kind of a letdown, and I don’t think this is a place we’ll be returning to. It was a bummer to end our trip on a low note, but exploring new restaurants is one of my favorite aspects of visiting Hilton Head each year. I look forward to trying out new places the next time we’re down there!

Flying Fish Seafood
32 Office Park Rd.
Hilton Head, SC