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$29 & Under: Ocean Blue Fish Fry does seafood right

Sunday, May 4, 2008
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— It doesn’t take much of a leap to imagine you’ve been spirited off to the seashore as you peruse the menu board at Ocean Blue Fish Fry.

The kitschy interior of the restaurant, which is across Route 9 from Clifton Park Bowl, could easily be that of a seaside eatery what with its tiki torches, straw umbrellas and a menu featuring just about any seafood you might imagine — crab cakes, lobster rolls, yellow fin tuna and baked stuffed flounder, among other dishes.

Ocean Blue Fish Fry

WHERE: 1663 Route 9, Halfmoon. Phone: 348-0212

WHEN: 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays and Saturdays, 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Fridays.

HOW MUCH: $29

MORE INFO: MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover accepted. Handicapped accessible. Kids’ menu available.

It was a couple of Saturdays ago when we dropped in for lunch, settling on a sunny spot near a window. You can also sit outside at picnic tables but the spring warm spell hadn’t kicked in yet — so inside seemed a better choice.

Ocean Blue offers more than seafood, of course. You can get a burger or a hot roast beef sandwich or even a roast turkey dinner, though why you’d go to a seafood restaurant and order turkey eludes me.

One of the indicators of a seafood place’s quality is to be found in its chowder. I had a cup of Manhattan clam chowder ($2.50) and found it to be excellent, a savory tomato broth lightly spiced and with lots of clams, potatoes and other veggies. The similarly priced New England chowder chosen by my lunch date was also well made, thick and creamy as it should be, with generous quantities of clams and potatoes.

Haddock stick

I chose one of the everyday specials at Ocean Blue, a fish fry dish for $6.75, a big breaded haddock stick served on a roll. It was quite good, the exterior golden crispy and the fish itself flaky, moist and flavorful. At Ocean Blue, you place your order at the counter, pick up your beverages and then find a seat and your food is brought to you. You also help yourself to condiments, which are the basics: ketchup, cocktail sauce and tartar sauce.

The fish fry came with coleslaw, which was fresh and crisp and in a mayonnaise sauce with a bit of a tang, and french fries. Manager Gail Breda, who has been with Ocean Blue since chef-owner Herbert Ellinger opened up nine years ago, says they’ll happily swap side dishes for you. Choices, which sell for $1.60 à la carte, include fries, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, baked beans, macaroni salad and potato salad.

My dining partner’s entree choice was a cold lobster salad roll ($12.95), a bountiful mound of luscious lobster-mayonnaise salad served on a roll with coleslaw and fries on the side. It was a good choice, clearly freshly made and quite tasty, with plenty of actual lobster.

Reasonable prices

Ocean Blue’s prices are quite reasonable. You can get a clam roll for $3.95, a sea scallop roll or clam belly roll for $7.95.

Under fried seafood, the menu offers a crab cakes dinner for $10.95 — crabcakes, two side dishes and a roll and butter. The priciest item I could find was a twin lobster tail dish with two sides for $26.95. There’s also a baked ocean platter featuring lobster tail, scallops and shrimp served over rice with choice of two side dishes for $17.95.

You can also order side salads and there are the usual appetizers like mozzarella sticks and onion rings, but you can also get little neck clams on the half for $3.75. There are also chicken dishes, surf and turf combos and a couple of pasta dishes. Under “House Specials,” Ocean Blue offers frog’s legs, fried or sautéed, for $10.95.

Besides various soft drinks, you can also get a beer or a glass of wine.

The service was friendly and efficient, and our check, for chowders, entrees and sodas came to a reasonable $29 with tax and tip.

Napkin Notes

It wasn’t in Paris but in Hudson Falls that I recently savored a very French tidbit. Our party hostess warmed slices of wonderful pate de foie gras and served them on toast points with a sauternes-onion marmalade. The wine was a sweet muscatel, the traditional accompaniment to pate. The only thing missing was the butter. The French butter their toast points before smearing on the foie gras because, you know, pate alone might not clog your arteries sufficiently.

 
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