Freddy’s Lobster and Clams, Bethesda, MD

(See the May 17, 2011 Review here.)

Did you go to Discount Day at Freddy’s Lobster and Clams?

If not, you missed not only the $5 drink special, not only 15% off your entire check, but also Gillian Clark’s fried chicken. This was enough to get me back in.

And the first thing I did was ask Chris Cunningham for the $5 drink, his take on a Bay Breeze, while my young dining companion – bellied up to the bar next to me – had his Raspberry Tea ($2.00).

It was a given that we were ordering two Fried Chicken Dinners ($13 each), but temptation penetrated, and I also had to try a pound of Steamed Clams ($15).

The clams were incredible – a bowlful of spanking fresh Ipswich clams (as fresh as you’ll find in these parts, I guarantee you), and they really didn’t need any drawn butter or clam juice (but came with them anyway). If you like steamed clams, think you might like steamed clams, or even if you think you don’t like clams, get these – they are truly special (there’s a natural sweetness to them).

I’ve had Gillian’s chicken a Gazillian times – I had her incredible Lilliputian Fried Chicken at Colorado Kitchen, and I had the chicken at General Store and Post Office Tavern. She can fry rings (no pun intended) around anyone, and I hold her up on a pedestal when it comes to the underrated art of frying – either pan frying or deep frying.

She was at Freddy’s, looking fit, trim, and happy as a, well, clam. Matt used to come up to her belt line, but he is officially taller than her now (by a fair margin, actually).

Okay, I’m dancing around saying that I didn’t love the chicken, and I hope Gillian takes it as a compliment that I didn’t. The beer-battered recipe at Freddy’s is not hers (although I believe she batters the chicken), and the deep fryer takes this batter, and imparts a thickness, a heaviness, that just didn’t appeal to me. I thought this would be a no-brainer thing to order, but I was surprised to find that I merely “liked” it; didn’t love it. Still, let’s remove the external factors and remember that $13 here buys a pretty darned good three-piece, dark meat chicken dinner with fries and homemade cole slaw.

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