Victor Tango's Fried Ipswich Clams: This Ain't Long Jong Silvers, Matey

Categories: Eat This

Victor Tagos Clams.jpg
When I was a kid, I thought clams were irregular, long rubbery strips of sweet protein covered in cornmeal breading. It wasn't my fault. Even though I grew up on the Eastern Shore, my parents grew up in central PA. They weren't seafood people, so most of the seafood meals from my early youth were eaten at Howard Johnson's, Long John Silvers, and on special occasions Phillip's Seafood House. If you're not familiar with these places, they pretty much take everything you can think of that comes out of ocean, batter it, put it in a fry basket, and then serve it in a paper basket. It's not great.

Those clams I remember weren't really clams, though; they were clam strips, which are an invented sort of seafood cut from the foot of humongo sea clams. There's nothing wrong with fried clams feet, but if this is what you're used to, and you happen to order a plate of fried clams at Victor Tango's, you'll see the old "strips" leave a little to be desired. They've also branded "fried clams" as something they were never intended to be.

The foot of a clam is a large, meaty muscle the bivalve uses to burrow in the sand. It's got a sweet, delicate flavor, but can be as tough as rubber bands.

Victor Tango's uses a whole soft-shell clam, though, just like they do up in New England (and other places that give a damn), so in addition to the foot, you're eating the entire animal. It's more tender, delicate and has a much fuller flavor. The spicy tartar and red wine vinegar sauces VT's serves them with don't hurt things either.

Eat these. They're good, and they're worth the 14 clams they'll set you back.

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22 comments
Rodneyz Stanky Feetz
Rodneyz Stanky Feetz

I'm confused about their menu.The clams are listed with the Small Plates.Then there are the Large Plates.Are "small plates" just another name for "appetizers"?

ThumbsMcgee
ThumbsMcgee

Its clams WITH bellies.  Not clam bellies.    I will have to go check these out.  Im sure they arent as good as Land & Sea in Peabody square.

twinwillow
twinwillow

Sea Breeze in Plano had them for the rip off price of $24.00 a plate!AND, they were soggy not, crispy. YUK!

NewsDog
NewsDog

I remember the Long Jon Silvers and Howard Johnson clams. When I was a kid I thought they were great. Then in high school (30 + years ago) a friend's mom sauteed littlenecks in a lemon/butter/white wine sauce.Don't think I've done fried since. Maybe I'll have to try and go back.  

sass
sass

I've been searching for fried Ipswich clams here for a decade. How did I not know they were on VT's menu? Time to rearrange the weekend schedule.

Rodneyz Stanky Feetz
Rodneyz Stanky Feetz

Thanks, I've been looking for someone that served those ever since I got back, without success. Until now. Happy fuckin Friday!

Ralphy
Ralphy

As a kid I always ordered the fried clams (on grilled hot dog roll) at the Holiday Inn (jersey turnpike - Dolly Madison exit I recall).

They were great then.

Tango's looks better.

jon from TJs
jon from TJs

yes, clam bellies are same thing as what is being described here.

Rodneyz Stanky Feetz
Rodneyz Stanky Feetz

When I was in Boston, we had something my friend called the "clam bellies", which were astonishingly good. Is that what we're talking about here? If it is, I'm there. Tonight.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Ahhhh, the greatness of Peabody, hard by Salem town.......... greatness!  In the area, I recommend:

-Gloucester, Plum Island, Spot Pond, Sheepfold, Nahant, Walden.

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

Actually -A Lobster Roll is more the New Englandy

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

 Do it.... they're really good. And way better than your childhood memories.

Ralphy
Ralphy

Sorry NOT Holiday Inn;  but Howard Johnson !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ts
ts

Lucky you got in that disclaimer.  

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

Being a West Coast guy, I have to extol the virtues of the Razor Clam. Part of my Mother's family had a place on The Oregon Coast in Gearhart, and we would go to the beach and dig for Razor clams, and then my grandmother would clean them and fry them up. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P...

They are BIG, you can only eat 2 or 3. 

BIG Jon Daniel
BIG Jon Daniel

But, I can eat about "fitty" (50) in one sitting; along with:-a baby calf-a dinosaur rib plate-a bull moose carcass-and Arizona.

JD Out-fellow middle aged twitter facebook hipsters!

ps-before the interwebs I just sat home and played with me balls. 

twinwillow
twinwillow

They're great sliced thin and eaten raw as done in better sushi bars. Same thing as "jumbo" or, "giant" clam.

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