Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale (CT)

Article by Sam Dostaler

In the state of Connecticut there aren’t many more iconic seafood restaurants than Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale. With three locations (plus a roving food truck) to choose from most Connecticut residents aren’t far from the wide-ranging menu of fresh seafood and friendly service.

On a recent early summer evening we decided to make our way down to the Madison location for some laughs and good food. The Madison location is the most traditional seafood dining experience in the sense that you place your order at the counter and then wait for your number to be called. I was there with two friends and we each choose different meals; myself selecting the Lobster Dinner and Clam Strips Dinner.

Clam Strip Dinner

The Clam Strips Dinner arrived first and as always when you go to Lenny and Joe’s the strips are falling over the side of the plate. Each clam strip is large and tender with just the right amount of crispness in each bite. The meal also comes with a large heaping of french fries.

After getting mostly through my Clam Strips Dinner my number was called again for the Lobster Dinner. I opted to go with the small dinner option (1 Ib-1 1/4 Ib) but you still get more than your money’s worth. For $19.99 you get a lobster, corn on the cob, and salt potatoes. Believe it or not, the entire lobster dinner is just $2 more than the lobster roll.

When your number is called you make your way to the Lobster Stand, where if you get there quick enough you can see them taking your lobster fresh out of the boiling pot. The lobster meat is succulent and even though I ordered the small dinner the amount of meat was plentiful.

We also ordered the Soft Shell Crab Dinner, which Lenny and Joe’s claims are the biggest in the area and we won’t doubt them. When the plate arrives it comes with two large soft shell crabs and french fries. More traditionally found in the Mid-Atlantic, the crabs are sweet, and can be enjoyed in one sitting allowing the diner to enjoy the full freshness of the crab.

Soft Shell Crab

The final dish we sampled during our visit was the Fish Tale Platter. This is one of the more expensive meals on the menu ($25.99), but you get a little bit of everything. The platter includes a combination of scallops, shrimp, cod, clam strips, and a bed of french fries. Everything is tender and tasty and even though the portion is large everything is in the right proportion.

With the exception of the Lobster Dinner, each meal came with a generous side of coleslaw.

If you are still hungry after your meal there is an ice cream stand located near the children’s carousel ($1.50 per ride with the fee going to a variety of non-profits) or you can opt to head back inside where they serve delicious milkshakes. You can either be boring with the milkshake and order vanilla or creative and order mocha.

There is both indoor and outdoor seating available. With the weather being picture perfect we sat outside on the green picnic tables. As we waited for our food your senses come alive as you hear in the background of your conversation the joyous laughter of the people around you and the shouts of enjoyment from the children’s carousel that is continuously running throughout the day.

Memorabilia: Don’t forget as you leave to grab some Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale memorabilia. You can choose from various hat styles, short sleeve and long sleeve shirts of different colors. It isn’t uncommon when traveling around Connecticut or New England to spot someone sporting their Lenny and Joe’s apparel.

Notes: The Westbrook location, just 3.9 miles away on the same road, offers a slightly different menu and is a more traditional restaurant with all seating inside. The newest location is in New Haven (the only location I haven’t traveled to) and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. When sitting on the deck of the New Haven location you are offered a view of the water.

Also, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale Express. Operating out of the New Haven location, the food truck offers a limited menu but that includes some of the more popular dishes.

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