When one is in Maine, you can expect to spend most of your time eating amazing seafood. People who know me also known that I am a fan of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives show. When the possibility arose that I would be close by one of the spots featured on the show, I couldn’t help but want to check it out. So, on our drive down to Maine from Montreal, we stopped over in Kittery to check out Bob’s Clam Hut.
Bob’s is pretty much exactly what you would expect from a local joint that over time has become well known with travellers and tourists all while the Kittery Outlets have developed around it. It is a typical looking New England Seafood diner/ fast food joint with line-ups, loud speaker call-ups for orders, pickup windows, a huge menu and sadly high prices for what you think you are ordering. However, for me personally, if the food holds up, these are all minor complaints.
First up, we had the clam chowder. Now, at Bob’s, the chowder does not have a rue. This gives their chowder none of the creaminess one associates with a typical chowder. It still has nice fresh clams and chopped up potatoes so you still get the taste you want. The difference comes as the richness you would get from the rue comes from the buttery broth. A little too buttery for my personal preference but a good “chowder’ nevertheless.
My mother had the lobster roll. Didn’t try it so nothing I can say here except that I love the size of the lobster pieces they use. Thank you Maine for reminding me what a REAL lobster roll should look like.
Bob’s Clam Hut is known for their fried clams so of course I would be having fried clams. Now, they have 2 varieties – Bob’s and Lillian’s (named after their long time employee who passed away earlier this year). Bob’s go straight into the flour mixture (3 parts corn flour, 2 parts white flour). Lillian’s gets a egg-wash before going into the flour. Anyone who was watched the Triple D episode knows the “debate” about which is better. I decided to order “the Clams 2 ways” and try them both. The order came with a side of fries that I would describe as underwhelming so let’s focus on the clams. Both varieties came in the same basket and honestly the differences between the 2 are pretty minor. Essentially Lillian’s have a crunchier texture but the taste stays the same in my opinion. Great fresh clams although they were a little oilier that I would have like. The homemade tartar sauce was quite nice as well – nice and creamy with a little crunch from the pickles. There was also cocktail sauce but I hate that stuff so we won’t talk about that here.
I am happy that I got the chance to try out Bob’s Clam Hut. It is always nice to add a place to my “Triple D” list of visited restaurants. I enjoyed the clams but it probably didn’t necessarily hit the high notes that I had hoped for. Part of that may have been my expectations, partly the overly “commercial” feel and partly the price. I don’t usually ding restaurants on cost but 23.00$ for the basket I got seems a tad excessive. Given their level of fame, I really shouldn’t be surprised by these issues but I had hoped for otherwise. In the end, I would recommend going to try their clams but as a snack to share amongst your group and enjoy a Maine staple.