It’s Clambake Time!
From now through Labor Day, take advantage of the summer’s bounty and host a seafood feast outdoors. Hire an experienced clambake crew from the local listings below, and leave the details in their capable hands
Oven-Roasted Chatham Cod with Artichokes and Lemon Risotto
One of the pleasures of our county by the shore is its proximity to the fruits of the sea. Nothing says summer like a clambake, or a lobster feast. Whether your preference is a mollusk or crustacean, or both, a number of caterers can bring the party to you, at your own home or a location of your choosing.
Many of the companies below will offer full service catering: anything from informal buffet-style meals with paper goods and plastic utensils, to more formal arrangements. If you need them, most companies can arrange for tents, tables, chairs, china, crystal, and whatever else will make your party perfect. However, customers often prefer an informal bake, which includes food, cooking, service, and disposable serving and eating supplies and utensils (including lobster bibs!) When prices are noted on the caterer websites, they will usually indicate a minimum number of guests for that price (If it doesn’t say, ask). Most basic menus (buffet, paper goods, no beverages and not including tax and gratuity) hover in the $30 per person range, but will slide upward depending upon options, extras, and whether extra servers are needed. For those guests who don’t like seafood, caterers usually offer alternative entrees when you advise in advance; you should also ask about a children’s menu, if kids will be on your guest list.
A basic clam/lobster bake menu usually consists of steamed clams, one steamed lobster per person, corn on the cob, potato and/or cole slaw, and watermelon or fruit cocktail for dessert. The details vary, but everything, from set up and cooking to service and clean up, is handled by the caterer. So you’ll have no muss and no fuss, and plenty of time to enjoy your guests.
Here are some well-known sources to choose from:
219 Culloden Road, Stamford 203-967-3991;1-800-656-1101
Owner Philip Balestriere has been serving the Tri-State area for more than 30 years. In addition to the lobster, clams and steamers (with potato, corn and watermelon) in the basic package, other options can be customized to your needs. For meat lovers, Balestriere also has a variety of BBQ menus at competitive prices.
53 East Avenue, New Canaan 203-966-6300
Dan Mallozzi worked at this New Canaan landmark when he was in school; after graduation from college and a few years out of state, he returned to buy the company. Dan custom tailors catered events to his clients’ needs, serving groups from 10 to 250. Check out the company website for his large and detailed variety of menu options.
42 Van Zant Street, Norwalk 203-855-1129
Michael Gilmartin has owned Outdoor Cookers since 1985 and will arrange a clambake at the client’s home, as well as at one of many outside venues, if that is the preference. His menu offerings are extensive. Gilmartin recently worked with clients on a wedding party for a couple from Connecticut and Louisiana. On the menu: lobster and crayfish.
Schoolteachers Marc Cehovsky and Jeff Seganos spend their summers impressing customers with their clambake cuisine. The basic bake includes two appetizers plus lobster and sides. Tasty alternatives to the lobster include rib eye steak, grilled marinated chicken, teriyaki glazed swordfish and even a vegetarian option
2439 Black Rock Turnpike, Fairfield 203-374-1577
A Fairfield landmark, Swanson’s motto is “You pick the place. We cook it fresh—on site…then serve it buffet style.” Swanson’s simple formula has earned repeat customers year after year; a simple menu offers a choice of two appetizers (from four options), plus lobster, corn, potato, cole slaw and watermelon.
1781 Post Road East, Westport, 203-255-3184
This much-loved road food stop on the Post Road also caters to clambake lovers, and has many local fans in Westport and vicinity. Their basic package is priced competitively with the others listed above, and meat entrees plus other side dish options are also available.