Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale

Review by: Michael Stern

Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale in Westbrook, CT | What to expect

Lenny & Joe’s opened as a roadside fried-clam stand in 1979. It has since become big business, its two locations on the Post Road in Madison and Westbrook offering broad menus of not only the fried seafood for which it is famous, but of broiled, char-grilled and sauteed seafood and, of course, lobsters. You can start a meal with classic clear-broth chowder and, in the summer, side it with good, fresh sweet corn.

What to eat at Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale

Whole-bellied fried clams vary in size, but you can bank on Lenny & Joe’s to deliver them with toasty, golden crust that melts when you crunch it. We love the fried shrimp and scallops, even simple fried fish. All fried items are available in an ample regular size configuration as well as a “super” plate with double the amount of fish. This is one restaurant where the undecided customer who craves the crunch of fresh-fried seafood will be happy ordering a variety platter with some of everything. It is a gargantuan meal, accordingly priced, including crinkle-cut French fries and a cup of cole slaw. The only other necessary item would be an order of fried onions; they are slim and sweet with crust that is impossibly fragile, making them impossible to stop eating.

Lenny & Joe’s serves a good hot lobster roll, meaning chunks and shreds of lobster meat glistening with butter heaped into a butter-toasted long bun. This avoids all the whole-lobster hassle of shell-cracking and meat-extraction. In season, the kitchen also offers a soft-shell crab roll that is divine.

By the way, seafood frowners: Lenny’s split hot dogs are pretty darn good.

NOTE: In addition to the Westbrook address listed with the review, Lenny’s is located at 1301 Boston Post Rd. in Madison. The number there is 203-245-7289.

What To Eat

Fried Shrimp

Fried Scallops

Onion Rings

Hot Lobster Roll

Whole Belly Clam Dinner


Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale Recipes


What do you think of Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale?

One Response to “Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale”

Cliff Stehle

May 29th, 2008

Lenny & Joe’s has been well-known to locals in the South Eastern Connecticut shoreline area since 1979. From its start as a roadside stand with four picnic tables it has expanded to three locations: the “family restaurant” in Westbrook (reviewed here) and two “drive-in” restaurants in Madison on the Post Road (near the entrance to Hammonasset State Park) and in Westerly, RI on Granite Street.

The food quality is so well-known, and the portions are so large, that diners should be prepared to wait for a while if arriving at peak lunch and dinner times (there are no reservations). But oh… is the wait worthwhile. In spring, summer, and early fall one can ask for patio seating, or a booth or table inside all year round. The menu (with daily luncheon specialties) spans the full spectrum of delicious broiled or fried seafood dishes.

The fried Gulf shrimp dinner is a favorite of many diners. Clams on the half shell, steamers, or jumbo shrimp cocktail (and they are JUMBO) can provide a great start (and can be ordered in the bar along with a cocktail, wine, or beer to make any wait much more delightful). An order of freshly baked rye bread with butter is a must to start the events as is an appetizer portion of the fried vegetable combo (fried zucchini and fried onion rings).

One word of caution: order in stages to ensure that you don’t order more food than your party is capable of eating (a definite possibility for the first-time patron). Sharing is in order. Families frequently order several entrees with extra plates (never a problem), offering all in the party the chance to sample a wide range of excellent selections.


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By Jane and Michael Stern Originally Published 2002 Gourmet Magazine ONE COLD DAY in the mid-1940s, Harold “Whitey” Miller, a Connecticut clam digger who sold littlenecks off the back...


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