Bargain Bites: Costello's Clam Shack In Noank

The Hartford Courant

One of the rituals of summer is going out for a lobster roll. We had matinee tickets to a play reading at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford on a Sunday, so after the show we drove over to Costello's Clam Shack in Noank Village.

It's just down the street from its sister restaurant, Abbott's, in the Noank shipyard.

We parked, took a stroll along the dock, admired the boats and walked up to the order window.

Vibe: Costello's, like Abbott's, is casual dining. There are outdoor tables on a lower and upper deck. They are under cover in case you hit a rainy day. It's perfect for sightseeing and dining. You can feel your blood pressure drop as you inhale salty air and watch the boats go by on Long Island Sound.

Food: Classic summer seafood is on the menu: What they call Noank-style clam chowder (with clear broth, also known as south-coast-style), lobster bisque, crab cakes, steamed clams and mussels. And fried corn on the cob, clam fritters, onion rings, fish and chips, scallops, coconut shrimp and fish sandwich. Lobster rolls come in two varieties: a quarter-pound in melted butter on a toasted roll or one with dressing. Whole-belly clam rolls, clam-strip rolls and tuna salad rolls also are offered. All are served with potato chips, a pickle spear and coleslaw. You can also get traditional steamed lobsters. B.Y.O.B. There are daily specials and desserts, including fried dough. Coca-Cola products get free refills.

Prices: Steamed lobsters are market price. Lobster rolls are $13.95; a clam dinner, $17.95; coconut shrimp dinner, $11.95; crab cake appetizer (two cakes), $7.95. Landlubbers pay $8.50 for a bacon cheeseburger, $11.95 for a barbecue half chicken, $3.50 for a hot dog and $3.95 for grilled cheese.

The particulars: Open daily through Sept. 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. There is live music Wednesday nights from 6 to 8 through Aug. 26. Major credit cards are accepted.

The verdict: Worth a trip along the scenic Connecticut shoreline for a casual dinner with a million-dollar view.

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