Clam strips at Bob & Ron's

clam strips at bob and ron's

Clammy.

By Daniel B.

Locals have been coming to Bob & Ron's for generations. Transplants, not so much.

I am continually amazed at how many people I encounter who are unfamiliar with the concept of fish fry. Not simply fried fish, but the very special local incarnation that starts with a hot dog bun and ends with chili sauce. Nestled in the middle is a very narrow foot-long piece of crispy deep-fried fish.

At Bob & Ron's the fish fry gets top billing. However it's their clams, that seem to be no more than an also-ran on Bob & Ron's iconic neon sign, which steal the show.

Sign at Bob and Ron'sClam strips get a bum rap. They are far too often stringy, chewy bits of rubber under a thin, crisp breading. It's their full-bellied cousins that get all the glory, and deservedly so. Full-bellied clams are magnificent.

But just as one can appreciate a dry-aged well-marbled steak and still enjoy a magnificent hamburger, there is a place in my heart for fantastic clam strips.

What sets the specimens at Bob & Ron's apart from the pack is the batter.

The batter here is thick, and it produces clam strips of substance. Biting into these brawny strips is a delight. The delicate clam meat is protected from the searing heat of the oil with a significant coating of batter, which keeps the muscle tender and preserves its subtle sweetness.

Regardless if you get them on a roll, as a half-order, or a full-order, get just enough to eat them while they're hot. It kills me to see how many people are getting their fried foods to go. Even if they could be packed in such a way as to prevent them from steaming, fried foods degrade as they cool.

As a bonus, you can feel good about eating clams. Traditionally, Bob & Ron's fish fry has been made from cusk, but given that this species has been almost over-fished to oblivion, I have also observed them making it from cod and haddock. Whereas a tasty cusk sandwich may find you enjoying the last 5 percent of a species, clams are so abundant and plentiful that regardless of their source or how they were caught, seafoodwatch.org gives the "thumbs up" to their consumption.

Delicious, sustainable and deep-fried aren't three words that typically go together. But Bob & Ron's isn't your typical restaurant. It is a local institution that has withstood the test of time. And although the sign has seen better days, they still have it where it counts.

Daniel B. is the proprietor of the Fussy Little Blog.

Earlier on AOA: A bunch of retro signs from around the Capital Region (including Bob & Ron's, of course)

Find It

Bob & Ron's Fish Fry
1007 Central Ave
Albany, NY 12206

Comments

Bob and Ron's is indeed delicious. Ted's Fish Fry in Troy was a favorite of mine growing up, too. I haven't had the two back-to-back before, so I'm not sure which is better... sounds like a fish fry tour is in my future.

First the Jewish Food Festival, then the Tour de Soft Serve, and now Fish Fry. I am on a diet and you are SERIOUSLY CHIPPING AWAY AT MY RESOLVE!

Thanks for the reminder, though. As a transplanted New Englander, I miss my fried fish and Bob's is barely a mile from my front door.

I prefer the strips over the bellies and hang my head in shame when I order strips on our yearly jaunt to Maine. I just wait for the servers to tsk and shake their heads and they never disappoint!

I have to say (and I'm sure I will get the verbal smackdown for this) that I find Bob and Ron's actual *fish* fry kinda..well, lame. The fries are SUPER lame, and their fish just doesn't do it for me.

but knowing they have clam strips....hmmmmm

People who have no concept of the fish fry are no friends of mine. I used to get the fish fries at Cousins all the time. Pure joy. I haven't tried the clam strips from Bob & Ron's yet, so I must get over there.

Coincidentally, I discussed the noble cusk the other day. For more on Mr. Brosme Brosme, click below.

http://www.ridiculousfoodsociety.net/2011/04/delicious-cusk-brosme-brosme-at-bob-and.html

@rebecca there's something about the batter on the fish that i just can't get with.

on the other hand seeing those clam strips, i ran out to the car only to realize that they'd be closed when i got to albany. mmmm clam strips.
on a side not, there are no good fish frys in saratoga, some one needs to fix this

I've been going to B&Rs since childhood and, despite changing ownership a few times, the quality is still there.
Everything I've tried there is wonderful, even the cole slaw.

But as a family, we usually get a fish fry apiece and sides of clams, onion rings and french fries. Even their shakes are very good.

And yes, we make sure we eat the onion rings before they get cold!

The best fish fry in the region.

I didn't know that cusk was over fished. I'm sorry to hear it, because I really like it. It's so clean and mild in flavor. I knew someone who worked at B+R's, and he told me their fish was cusk about 80% of the time, and that some customers were so devoted to it that if it was a non-cusk day, they'd take their business elsewhere.

I also love the coating, though I can see how some would not care for it. It's sort of an unusual not-quite-batter, not-quite-breading hybrid. It makes me think of food from somebody's grandmother's kitchen rather than restaurant food. I dig that.

Is it bad that I like my fish fry to be haddock?

Also, I grew up on Clay's fish fries. Yum. I was so excited when that new sign was put in many years ago but nothing came of it. Ah well, it wouldn't have been the same, anyway.

@Anne - As a transplant to the area I have nothing bad to say about Fish Fry made of haddock. From a sustainability standpoint, Seafood Watch indicates that the haddock available to us is okay to eat. So it's got that going for it, which is nice.

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