Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant really is a fish market. When you walk in the door you are confronted by glass-fronted refrigerator cases filled with filets and whole fish; and to the left, a saltwater tank holds live lobsters. Farther back are the interior dining rooms; for good-weather dining, there are rows of picnic tables on a broad deck that circles around the restaurant and under a canopy out front.
If you choose clam chowder to start, the waitress will ask if you want clear or creamy. Creamy is classic New England style; clear is the rarer kind unique to southern Yankee shores — steel-grey, briny broth loaded with hunks of clam and pieces of potato. If you like a super-plush soup, an alternative to chowder is lobster bisque — creamy, butter-rich, and laden with spoon-size hunks of sweet pink meat.
The menu is extensive, from raw clams and oysters on the half shell and crusty fried clam fritters to whole lobsters and six kinds of shrimp (scampi, blackened, Creole, steamed, stuffed, fried). The fried seafood is masterful; we love the virtually greaseless, yet intensely luscious, fish and chips; and the whole-belly clams are major-league satisfying.
Flanders Fish Market ships lobsters anywhere in the U.S.A. The lobster hotline is 1-800-638-8189 nationwide, 1-800-242-6055 in Connecticut.