Pitkin Street in East Hartford isn’t exactly Restaurant Row. But if you’re passing by on I-84, I-91, Routes 2, 5, or 15, it’s easy to find. And for fans of good seafood, it’s worth the detour. There’s not much to it, amenities-wise. No tables or chairs, no service other than a friendly smile when you step up to the counter after reading the menu posted up above. Place your order, pay, then wait for the clams to be fried, the lobster roll to be assembled (summer only), or chowder to be ladled. In the mornings, Mickey’s otherwise seafood-centered menu offers an array of breakfast sandwiches, warm muffins, and home fried potatoes; and at lunch if you are a fish frowner, there’s an assortment of good-looking hamburgers and grinders.
When you get your paper plates of food, you find a place along the long, blue counter that rims the interior of the little drive-in and eat standing up. At the meal’s conclusion, heave your refuse in one of the trash barrels arrayed throughout the dining area.
Fried clams are reliably excellent – either the gooey full-bellied kind or chewy little strips, the former sometimes costing the better part of a $20 bill. We like the fried shrimp, scallops, and fish, too – all prepared in a crunchy batter of which Mickey’s is justly proud. Recently we had a chance to try a blue crab roll: heaps of claw meat piled into a bun and dressed with a peppery “Key Lime” dressing. It was a distinctly elegant sandwich … in a decidedly inelegant setting.