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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: June 16, 2014

Clams worth the trip (the rest lacks zip) at Jake’s Seafood in Wells

Written by: Bob Keyes
An overflowing lobster roll and a fried seafood platter containing scallops, clams, haddock and north atlantic shrimp are served with cole slaw and onion rings at Jake's Seafood in Wells. Jill Brady/staff photographer

An overflowing lobster roll and a fried seafood platter containing scallops, clams, haddock and north atlantic shrimp are served with cole slaw and onion rings at Jake’s Seafood in Wells. Jill Brady/staff photographer

I had been craving fried clams since a friend posted a photo on Facebook a few weeks ago. They remind me of my summers in Massachusetts, when our mother rewarded our good behavior at the beach with a stop at one the clam shacks on the North Shore.

No doubt, I was swimming in nostalgia when I ordered a small order of clams at Jake’s Seafood in Wells last week. With their warm stomachs and rubbery necks, and coated lightly, the clams were moist, succulent and decadent.


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But those were just a teaser and the reason for choosing Jake’s over any number of other food establishments down along Route 1 in York County, the beach capital of Maine. I generally do not make a meal out of clams, because I prefer eating food that is not fried. Once or twice a year I will give in to temptation, but I try not to make fried food the centerpiece of my meal.

Lunchtime diners enjoy outdoor patio seating at  Jake's Seafood in Wells for Eat and Run. Jill Brady/staff photographer

Lunchtime diners enjoy outdoor patio seating at Jake’s Seafood. Jill Brady/staff photographer

I also ordered a cup of clam chowder ($3.99), and shared my dining companion’s crab cakes ($3.49 each, or a dinner of two with slaw and fries or onion rings for $11.49). She also ordered lobster bisque ($5.29).

I ordered a salad on the side, and she had a side of coleslaw.

Everything we ordered was good, but other than the fried clams ($12.49 for a half-pint or a small meal for $12.99) nothing was great.

The clam chowder was thick with both clams and potatoes, but lacked zest. The bisque had great taste, but not much substance. It was very thin. If we could have combined the positive qualities of both, we would have had a winning chowder.

The crab cakes were better. They were about the size of a hockey puck and nearly just as thick. They were packed with crabmeat and fried ever so lightly.

The slaw was so-so and the salad unimaginative, with just mesclun lettuce, two huge tomato wedges and a few slices of onions.

Homemade fish chowder is served with oyster crackers. Jill Brady/staff photographer

Homemade fish chowder is served with oyster crackers. Jill Brady/staff photographer

We liked the dining room, which was very neat and clean and inviting. We appreciated the choice of sitting outside, and might have taken advantage of it had there not been a threat of rain. We thought the counter service was friendly and efficient, and we were pleased to see that Jake’s offers some pretty good beers, too. We chose the Long Hammer IPA from Redhook Ale Brewery in Portsmouth, N.H.

It didn’t bother us at all that we ordered at the counter or that our food was served on disposable dinnerware and with plastic utensils. I think that is to be expected at an establishment known for its take-out dining.

We just wished the food had a little more zip.

JAKE’S SEAFOOD

139 Post Road, Wells
646-6771 or jakesseafoodrestaurant.com
HOURS: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
PARKING: Ample parking in the lot
WAIT: Five minutes at dinnertime on a Monday
HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE: Yes

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