Clam Strip vs. Clam Strip
Writing something down is a powerful act.
Last year, I completely missed out on Gene’s Fish Fry. It’s the seasonal fish fry place in East Greenbush, and one of my favorites. A lot of that has to do with its non-traditional versions of the classic condiments: tartar, chili, and cocktail.
Anyhow, just yesterday I was lamenting that it looked like another summer might go by without me popping in for a visit.
But by writing down my desire, I was able to make it happen. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I had a burst of inspiration from a fellow local food blogger.
I don’t know if you’ve seen Melinda’s post comparing the two dueling East Greenbush Fish Fry places. Well, she tried the foods side by side and declared Off-Shore to be better than Gene’s.
For a bit of historical context, when I did the Tour de Fish Fry way back when, the piece of fish I received across the street at Off-Shore Pier was oddly tough. One killer about judging food, is you have to judge the food in front of you, and not the better plate sitting next to you. Still, most of the attendees found Off-Shore to be the best of the day, and that same crowd was also less enamored with the non-traditional sauces at Gene’s.
So I don’t dispute Melinda’s outcomes. But I was curious to extend the trial a little bit.
You see, after Bob & Ron’s closed up shop, the Fussies were left with a giant clam strip hole to fill. Those clam strips at B&R were the best for miles around. What set these specimens apart from all the other contenders was the thick layer of breading.
It’s easy to understand why heavily breaded clam strips may be unpopular. It could seem as if businesses are trying to bulk up portions with cheap flour. When you are paying for clams, you want clams, and not fried batter.
But that batter was critically important. It protected the delicate clam strip from the searing and toughening heat of the oil.
I couldn’t remember having clam strips at either place, so we decided to follow in Melinda’s footsteps and try them both. Little Miss Fussy was indignant that we might have to get into the car to simply cross the street, but East Greenbush clearly isn’t meant for pedestrians.
At Gene’s we ordered a basket of clams and a small cole slaw.
Given my stupid diet, I mostly ate cole slaw. I did snack on a couple of the clam strips though. And while they weren’t quite as consistently tender as what we remembered from Bob & Ron’s, they were certainly solid. The breading was seasoned, and the coating crisp.
For what it’s worth, I have a soft spot for what I consider to be KFC-style slaw. It’s almost totally white, finely chopped, with a thin, slightly sweet dressing. When I saw that this was the style of slaw served at Gene’s it brought a smile to my face.
At Off-Shore Pier we did the same thing. Except there, it came as a dinner plate with the cole slaw and fries already included in the $10 price tag. It seemed like a pretty good deal. What I didn’t like right away was the placement of hot fried food on styrofoam plates. It always gives me the willies that the plate will melt into the food.
Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Unfortunately, the clam strips just didn’t measure up. Most were notably tougher, and most bites resulted in the clam strip being yanked from inside its fried shell. And the shell itself seemed less seasoned than Gene’s across the way.
Off Shore’s slaw also left a little something to be desired. Although I could see some people preferring this more coarsely chopped, more savory, and more thickly dressed version.
So there you have it. I still love Gene’s. But it’s clearly not for everyone. That said, we continue to be on the lookout for our new favorite fried clam strips.