top dog (rockport)

Sort of a continuation (or explanation) from yesterday’s post-in-photos of our mini day trip up to Rockport this weekend …

For some reason, we’ve never been to Rockport before.  We’ve gone above it to places like Newburyport and Ipswich, and to places below it like Salem and Gloucester.  Why not to Rockport?  Needless to say, I was so happy we sort of stumbled upon it during a drive up to the north shore on a gorgeous 80+ degree summer day.  It felt so nice to be have the ocean air and a cool breeze come through the window as we cruised up route 127 along the coast.  The downtown area itself is a really cute seaside place full of interesting shops and little restaurants.  Parking was quite a challenge since all of the spots were metered, we had absolutely no quarters, and everyone else in the world was circling around to find a spot at the same time.  After a quick drive back to Gloucester, a restroom stop at a Shaw’s, and exchanging $3 for quarters we drove back to Rockport and luckily scored a spot not too far from the main street.

By this time we were both hungry so we walked around and checked out a few menus before deciding to try Top Dog, and this decision was mostly based around my desire for fried clams.  I mean come on, you’re in the north shore.  You’re right next to the water.  I’m not 100% sure I can eat corn but hey, what the heck, right?  Right.

The funny thing is that half of their menu actually specializes in hot dogs, and the other half in fried seafood.  I say, whatever works!  It’s a cute little place off one of a little side street with some bench seating in front of it with a couple of small tables (photographed here), some bar stool seating inside (though it was quite warm inside today), and two large picnic tables in back that could accommodate eight people each.  By the time our order was ready, two seats opened up out back so we got to enjoy our food in shade and near the water which was really nice.

My husband got the fried haddock sandwich which came with fries and coleslaw.  It was super simple with nothing like tomatoes or mayo added – just lettuce and served on a toasted buttered roll.  It was very tasty, and the fish was nice and moist.  And of course, the fries were very good too.

It had a hard time deciding if I wanted a small basket or a large basket of the fried clam strips based on just looking at the paper basket itself.  I’m really happy I went with the small because I didn’t expect the portion to be piling upward and outward like this!  I ordered the strips (not the bellies – market price for those that day was around $16.50 for a small) because I actually like them a little better than the bellies; sometimes I find the texture of the bellies a little too squishy for my taste.  I also ordered them as a “side” because the “boats” option would’ve come with the fries that I wouldn’t be able to eat.

Maybe it was because I hadn’t had fried clams in so long, but I have to say that these were awesome!  They were perfectly battered and crisp on the outside and not overdone on the inside (just the right amount of chewiness), and perfectly salted.  Just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top and I was one happy camper.  Did I struggle to eat the entire basket?  Yes.  But did I consume the whole basket.  Yes, every delicious bite.   🙂

Top Dog of Rockport
2 Doyles Cove Road
Bearskin Neck
Rockport, MA 01966

(Be sure to check out their website for different seasonal hours of operation.  They are occasionally open during the late fall/early winter too.)


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