It’s not often that dining forays off College Hill actually deepen my appreciation for the stuff available to us through good ol’ BuDS, but a recent jaunt did the near impossible. I wanted so badly for Blount Clam Shack, the quintessentially New England outpost of fried seafood and 1950s kitsch, to be great. Unfortunately, these expectations proved lofty. Blount’s not awful; it’s just not worth it.
You may recognize the name: Blount is, after all, the supplier of those soups they serve at Jo’s and The Gate. Each year the locally owned franchise goes through some 800,000 pounds of clams, harvested fresh from New England waters, which make for an abundance of hush puppy-esque clam cakes, old-school fried clam rolls and whole belly clam platters. In addition to creamy New England clam chowder and its red Manhattan counterpart, Blount makes a Rhode Island specialty called the clam bake, which tastes like a beachfront cookout poured into a giant stewpot: potatoes, corn, chorizo and clams in a clear, salty broth. Don’t be mistaken; there’s other seafood, too — haddock here and there, scallops and a guest appearance from the lobster roll. They’ve even got a burger section, which is incredibly bewildering since 1) you’re at a clam shack and 2) you’re across the street from Rick’s Roadhouse.