Allen's Clam Bar

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ChrisOC
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2009/08/22 15:44:21 (permalink)

Allen's Clam Bar

We had to travel to Mystic Island the other day, and the Trip took us through New Gretna around lunchtime.  That called for a stop at Allen's Clam Bar.
 
The sign is a little hard to see.  I had to step around a bush to get this picture.
 

 
But there is no problem seeing the shark coming out of the roof!
 

 
The decor is fairly simple, nautical style.
 

 
 

 
The placemat is your menu.
 

 
I went with the Deviled Clam platter($6.95)
 

 
The clams were in those aluminum clam shells but they were very good.  Lots of pieces of clam and the filling was well seasoned with a fresh, herb flavor.
 
Ms OC wanted the soft shell crab sandwich but they were out of soft shells so she settled for the fried oyster sandwich. ($7.95)  The oysters were good, with a nice crispy crust on fresh, juicy oysters.  They seemed lost on the kaiser roll though.  The waitress offered a choice of bread, hamburger bun or kaiser roll.  Ms OC thinks she would have prefered the hamburger bun.
 
 

 
Both orders came with Fries and their own fresh made coleslaw.  We both enjoyed the meal and I am sure we will return.
 
 
We also saw how they repair the parking lot
 
 

  
 
post edited by ChrisOC - 2009/08/23 17:57:08
#1

25 Replies Related Threads

    mar52
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/22 19:04:45 (permalink)
    We need a west coast version of this place.

    I'd be there!
    #2
    agnesrob
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/23 11:13:55 (permalink)
    Looks like a nice place to stop next time I'm down that way. Thanks for posting Chris.
    #3
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/23 11:30:41 (permalink)
    ChrisOC -

    Nice photos...thanks for inluding the menu shot...gives an idea on range of offerings and price!
    #4
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/24 09:56:54 (permalink)
    So I thought Dungeness was a West coast thing?  All the food looks terrific Chris--thanks!
    #5
    newfie29
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/24 12:50:26 (permalink)
    We've been going to Allen's for years - next time get the fried shrimp or the fried scallops or any combination thereof - you won't be disappointed!  Also, their steamers are really fresh...
    #6
    leethebard
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/24 13:13:48 (permalink)
    Thanks for the tip...looks like a great Jersey Shore stop...will try it out!!!!
    #7
    Scorereader
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/24 14:19:11 (permalink)
    I hate to be the lone dissenter, and before I move forward, let me say first: the report was well done. Super reporting.

    from the pics though, things don't look as good as described.

    The Deviled Clam is obviously a version of a stuffed clam. But deep fried in an aluminum shell rather than taking the time to broil them in the shell. They sell broiled food, so I think they've made the wrong decision on this. From the pic (maybe due to how it was cooked) I don't see the clams, nor the herbs that were described. Here's a pic or two (taken from the web) that shows more of what I'd expect if I ordered that menu item:


    or:



    (The second one could use a spot longer under the broiler, but it does show the clam really well)


    As you admitted, the kaiser roll they served completely envelops the three oysters in the fried oyster sandwich. But really, 3 oysters? They should offered it on a split-top New England Roll.

    The fries are uninspired and obviously pre-frozen steak fries. And the coleslaw looks plain - just cabbage and mayo, and a carrot peeling. A little spinkling of pepper, or paprika, or even Old Bay would've make the coleslaw sparkle - even though it was served, in one instance, in a small plastic cup.
     
    On a plus, and not at all to be facetious, the tomato and green leaf that accompanied the oyster sandwich looks bright and fresh. Given how they skimped on the oysters, that beefy tomato slice looked like it could be savored all by itself with maybe a couple grains of salt thrown in for fun. That is a nice looking slice of tomato, and the lettuce leaf looks wonderfully fresh and green.  

    Although my instincts tell me otherwise, I do know that flavor often wins over presentation. Perhaps, though not well presented, the food is as good as described - so if I'm in the New Gretna area, I might go in for a try given the recs here and your well done review. However, I will suggest they use the clam shells for the stuffed clams instead of as pot hole fillers - although, they work well for that too, I suppose. I'd also skip the fries and coleslaw and give the other sides a chance, like the tossed salad ~ which should be pretty good if the tomato and lettuce leaf is any evidence.

    post edited by Scorereader - 2009/08/24 16:03:38
    #8
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/24 14:53:27 (permalink)
    Ah, Scorereader, I'm glad to know I'm not the only person who was underwhelmed.
    #9
    newfie29
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/25 10:57:17 (permalink)
    Allen's charm is in its lack of charm, if you will.  The pictures posted are following a somewhat extensive renovation over the winter - used to be concrete floors and mismatched tables - I was kind of disappointed to find it spruced up, as that was part of the Allen's experience.  Tossed salad?  Fuhgddabouit!  Doesn't exist - you choose from fries, cole slaw or apple sauce (believe it or not) - that's it.   However, choose wisely, alter  your expectations,  and you'll leave with a happy belly stuffed with really fresh seafood!  
    #10
    myterry2
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/25 11:41:51 (permalink)
    Michael, I have to agree with you..I was also underwhelmed.
    #11
    Scorereader
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/25 12:30:39 (permalink)
    newfie29

    Tossed salad?  Fuhgddabouit!  Doesn't exist - you choose from fries, cole slaw or apple sauce (believe it or not) - that's it.  

     
    their own menu advertises: "choose a tossed salad for a extra buck."
     
     
    (of course, that should read "an" extra buck, but that's a direct quote - the menu used incorrect grammar, not I)
     

     
    #12
    californyguy
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/25 13:38:59 (permalink)
    Allens is one of those places where the setting is just as important as the food...located on `the back way' to AC, in a little rural hamlet, its just one of those  places you do not forget.. As to the food there, its been awhile, but I esp rememeber the manhattan clam chowder which was as good as my Grandpa used to make after a day of clamming in  Barnegat Bay...we used to get bushels and bushels...them were the days!!! 
    #13
    ChrisOC
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/25 14:05:08 (permalink)
    The whole purpose of going to a clam bar vs a restaurant, is to enjoy good, fresh seafood, primarily clams, in a rustic, no frills location.  That means no menu except the placemat, aluminum shells, plastic plate, etc.  But the seafood is good.  And look at the price.  $6.95 for the deviled clams.  At the Crab Trap that would be $15 or $16. 
    By the way a proper deviled clam (unless it is part of a broiled combination) is breaded and deep fried, whether it is in a real or aluminium shell.
    #14
    mayor al
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/25 14:33:23 (permalink)
    OK, I won't enter the debate about good vs cheap etc, but I have a real question. What is the difference between "Deviled Clams", "Stuffed Clams", and  "Clams Casino" ??  I recall enjoying some "Clams Casino" at a couple of Ocean County establishments back in the days when I called New Jersey 'Home'.
    #15
    Scorereader
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/25 16:48:56 (permalink)
    AL: clams casino typically has bacon. However, the terms are often used interchangably - and it's not always a regional thing. But, in my travels you can pretty much always expect bacon in clams casino.


    ChrisOC: believe me when I tell you, I am no stranger to crab shacks, clam shacks, oyster bars and the like.

    The proper way for THAT place to make deviled clams is to deep fry them. Personally, I prefer them broiled. Since the clam shack in question here does actually broil some foods, they should really choose that method. Broiling would actually bring out the flavors of the clam and herbs. In the shacks I go to - and I mean shacks, sometimes more easily accessible by boat than by land - deviled and stuffed clams are one in the same and are broiled. But, I don't care how it's cooked, if I can't see the clams and herbs, it doesn't look good.

    I whole heartedly disagree that stuffed clams of any sort should be served in aluminum shells. The rustic, no frills outer banks to chesapeake to eastern shore up to maine shack I've been to makes that dish on the half shell. THAT'S no frills. Serve it right in the shell that god gave to the clam instead of some man-made aluminum clam shell knock off.

    As I said, based on your rec, I'd give it a try, but honestly, it doesn't look as promising as your description, based on the photos of the food. That fried oyster sandwich looks sorry. I don't care if the place has a dirt floor, bamboo walls and a tin roof - my comments are strictly about the food pics I see, not the building.

    And, as I said, I thought your report was good. But there's nothing wrong with constructive criticism of any place. This isn't a critique of you - you did a great job, my critique is what that place served you based on the pics.  You say there's lots of clam and herbs in the deviled clams, but the pic shows none. See my lower pic of the same dish - you can plainly see the herbs and clams (although, in that pic, it needs more time under the broiler). THAT is a stuffed/deviled clam -whether it's served on china or on brown paper.

    #16
    saps
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/25 19:04:45 (permalink)
    Why is it so necessary to critique food that you haven't tried?  And if the criticism is truly meant to be constructive, it would be directed to the restaurants management, rather than the reviewer.
    #17
    Scorereader
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/25 23:45:14 (permalink)
    I guess the same could be said of all comments that say how great the food looks. So, I guess my thoughts are no more or no less necessary than those comments, saps.



    #18
    ellen4641
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/08/25 23:57:56 (permalink)
    californyguy

    located on `the back way' to AC, in a little rural hamlet, its just one of those  places you do not forget.. ...... its been awhile, but I esp rememeber the manhattan clam chowder which was as good as my Grandpa used to make after a day of clamming in  Barnegat Bay
     
    Not as rural as it used to be, though...
    Wal Mart, Target,  K Mart, and Costco are only about 10 miles north...
      

    post edited by ellen4641 - 2009/08/26 01:43:17
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    harriet1954
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/09/02 17:20:43 (permalink)
    Hi. I'd like to put my two clams in before this thread is no longer seasonally-relevant. We made our first visit to Allen's Clam Bar on 7/19/09. What you see is what you get there, except for the fact that everything is very fresh and good. There's nothing fancy, as ChrisOC said. Here's my pics:
     
    I also had to step around a bush to get a picture of the sign. I actually had to step right out into the street. This looks pretty much like ChrisOC's picture, but I don't care! I'm posting it anyway!

     
    The front door:

     
    That shark's head from another angle:

     
    Posting another picture of the menu would REALLY be redundant, so I'll skip over that one.
     
    This is what I ate; the broiled combination platter. It was GOOD! Everything on it was just GOOD. The potato salad was unbelievable - actually it tasted like mine. Brian said that you can tell good potato salad when it melts in your mouth. Uh huh! Good description and it sure did. The scallops: not rubbery. Most are in most places. not here. The shrimp? Just REALLY nice, and the flounder, while not huge pieces, was very good and cooked just right. And I thought applesauce went well with it:

     
    Brian had fried shrimp that he called "hammerhead" shrimp because of the shape:

     
    Oyster crackers and all of that:

     
    Regarding this whole controversy about the clams, I have nothing to add, because I don't eat them like that, all stuffed and baked or whatever. I'll just do raw bar, but really only cherrystones.
     
    Expensive? Everything's expensive when you're closer to the shore. But in my opinion, this was well worth whatever it cost. And we'd go back.
    #20
    mar52
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/09/02 20:28:04 (permalink)
    Plastic plates?  I don't mind eating fish and chips off of paper in a basket, but plastic plates?

    I love stuffed clams.  I'll eat them off of the plastic, but I'll still whine.
    #21
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/09/02 21:37:56 (permalink)
    That place looks like they know how to cook fish--so the shrimp were butterflied?
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    harriet1954
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/09/03 15:19:42 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza

    That place looks like they know how to cook fish--so the shrimp were butterflied?


    Nance, I don't think they were butterflied...just a little odd-looking in shape, like a few seemed to be like two shrimps pasted together. LOL!
     
    @Mar -- places like this always give you plastic or paper. Paper or plastic!? We didn't even care. It's a Roadfood place and like I said, what you see is basically what you get at Allen's Clam Bar. We weren't there even for the ambience. Just for the food and that was really it. The crab places that are for real, esp. on Maryland's Eastern Shore, when you get the crabs, you get a mallet, a roll of butcher paper...and that's it.
    #23
    newfie29
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/09/03 16:57:13 (permalink)
    They're butterflied, and they're spectacular!
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    Greymo
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/09/03 17:08:45 (permalink)
    saps

    Why is it so necessary to critique food that you haven't tried?  And if the criticism is truly meant to be constructive, it would be directed to the restaurants management, rather than the reviewer.

     
    Sheesh!  Someone is giving their opinion on how the food looks to them.  Looking at the photographs, I would not have been happy with that oyster sandwich or the clams.  I think this might be a fine place to eat  but  if I went there I would not choose these items.
     
    It is like many pictures of food that I see posted. Judging by the picture, it is nothing that I would ever order and so what is wrong with that?

    #25
    mar52
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    Re:Allen's Clam Bar 2009/09/03 17:52:13 (permalink)
    Maryland's Eastern Shore, when you get the crabs, you get a mallet, a roll of butcher paper...and that's it.


    Now that is one of my favorite types of meals.

    I have just never seen plastic plates being used.

    It IS all about the food!
    #26
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