Posted 19 May 2011 - 06:53 PM
I stopped by this afternoon for an early dinner to try some of the tempting things I had been reading about. I got my food as a take out order but I tried to eat some of my food in my car because I knew ol_ironstomach was surely as right as he always is when it comes to the inevitable sogginess of the fried foods in those insulating styrofoam containers. My overall of takeaway from this one meal was pretty positive, but I feel a little more reserved in praise than some of the other reports.
My clear favorite was the whole belly clam roll. I'm a sucker for properly cooked clams, and these fried clams managed to raise the temperature of those slimy suckers to scalding hot while still keeping them liquidy/squirty/juicy. The strips are attached, too, and those didn't get too rubbery, either, and that's the greater challenge. The batter for me was just pretty good but not great. For me, it was certainly better than average, just not great enough to make this dish as transcendant as I was hoping for. But it did do the important job of preserving the clams. Though it's not a perfect dish or other-worldly, it's definitely damn good. Certainly good enough that it will be tough for me to not get the fried whole belly clams again.
All the rolls come with a huge side of shoestring fries, which, being fried potatoes, are inherently tastier than most foods in the world even if the chef effs them up, so these were a welcome and generous accompaniment. Great fries? No. For a comparison, I'd put them a notch or two above Mussel Bar's fries, which are neither praise worthy nor embarrasments, so it puts Freddy's solidly in the middle of the pack.
My wife wanted a cold lobster roll and I knew she would expect me to immediately take a bite, so I did and I liked what I tasted and concluded that it warrants future research. I'll go for the hot butter one, though, and I'll compare it to the heavenly Red Hook Lobster Truck Connecticut roll I had at the Landon Azalea Festival a few weeks ago that was overflowing with claw meat (my personal preference anyway). If memory serves me right, there was more meat in Red Hook's.
The last item I ordered was the regular(online menu)/large (chalkboard menu) portion of the lobster stew. The previous descriptions of the broth and the amount of lobster are spot on, though I found my lobster meat to be fairly rubbery, which, if it's cooked and left in the pot seams inevitable, but it'd be better if it could be avoided. The $12 price I'm sure will be seen as steep by many people, but there is certainly a lot of lobster chunks, the broth is tasty, and, let's be honest, if that soup was served next door in Grapeseed, Jeff could charge $12 for a third of the serving that you get at Freddy's. I think that's a pretty important realization to keep at the forefront of one's mind, but I also think I'd be less forgiving of rubbery lobster meat.
Lastly, the muffin that comes with the stew was not a success at a for me. This was the item that I ate last (about an hour later) but I did open it up to see what it was in my car. It looked undercooked, so I felt it and it was overly most. By the time I ate it, it was downright soggy, but I presume that wouldn't happen to someone dining in. It just wasn't close to the great blueberry muffins I've had twice now a few blocks away at Tout de Sweet.
Now, I hate to end my description of my experience on such a negative item review after saying in my opening that overall I had a positive experience, but I think it might be appropriate b/c I also l wanted a little bit more from Freddy's and I hope that it gets stronger when I come back over the next few weeks. It could have been ol_ironstomach's summoning the spirits of Bobby's Crabcakes, but I felt Bobby's was a better overall experience. Maybe that's not fair though, especially b/c Bobby's is shuttered and Freddy's I think will be successful. One thing I'd love for Freddy's to do though: steal Bobby's french fries. (a little more lighting inside wouldn't hurt, either). I'm going to be back with high hopes and an empty belly.
P.S. The bar area and outdoor seating will be great spaces and I also hope they'll have a happy hour (especially a teacher-friendly 3 PM start time) so I can sample some of those beers on tap.