Thursday, July 4, 2013

Woodman's, Essex, Ma

The final stop on my clam tour was Woodman's.  Now Woodman's is legend among fried clams.  Their founder was Chubbie Woodman, he who first started frying up the bivalves and serving them up all the way back in 1916.  The family of Woodman still runs the restaurant, which is now an institution that sits mid way between Farnham's and Village.  Of course it has grown over the years and now the restaurant offers far more than just fried clams.

Walking up to Woodman's front door is an experience.  As you round the corner from the expansive parking lot, the smell of sweet lobster wafts towards you and there you find, just outside the front door, a friendly group steaming up fresh lobsters to order.  Then, as you venture inside, that is if you can resist those bright red lobsters calling out, then you survey the expansive menu.  Fried clams kick it off, but their fryers handle a whole lot more than just clams.  Shrimp, scallops, fish and even lobster hit the hot oil and all are fried gluten free using just corn flour.  They also serve up a variety of sandwiches, including their famous packed lobster roll, and accompaniments like onion rings.  

I had the opportunity to chow down on their clams, and their onion rings.  The
clams were fantastic.  Hot out of the fryer, crispy, and a great mix of the sweet corn and the natural sea flavor of the clams.  Woodman's uses big belly clams, sourced from long time Essex based clam diggers and they are the freshest they could be.  I can say this much- by the time I had gotten to Woodman's last in my day, and after two other plates of fried clams - I couldn't stop eating these they were so delicious.

Of course the other side of my plate held their onion rings.  The onion rings are are one of the only things on the menu that are not made gluten free automatically.  They are made with a wet batter, which, when fried, puffs up and coats the thin onion circles in a wonderfully light, airy and crispy crust.  These were, hands down, some of the best onion rings I've had.

Woodman's is a time honored tradition for a reason- their dedication is clear, their ingredients are quality and their processes are spot on.  Woodman's is worth the trip.    

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