THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Cheap eats

Double duty at an inland clam shack

Email|Print| Text size + By Sheryl Julian
September 29, 2005

John and Joseph Loblundo, who are twins raised in Somerville, opened a fish market in Concord in 1991. Joseph ran it -- and still does -- while John worked as an engineer. About five years ago, the two opened a Belmont location in a building that once housed the legendary Greer's Seafood, which John now runs.

Like Greer's, Twin Seafood is a fish market that also offers cooked seafood dishes. There are two dozen seats in the room, in addition to the market, and the place, somewhat predictably, sports a fish-motif decor. Instead of being entirely take-out, you can order lunch or supper and eat it on the spot. There's no table service. Instead, Twin operates something like an indoor clam shack. You go to the counter to place your order, act as your own busboy, and eat dinner from Styrofoam containers. It's a toss-up as to whether this is more appealing than a shack at the beach, where you're eating at a picnic table beside the parking lot.

Regardless, there are many things that Twin does well. Fried clams ($14 for small), with plump little bellies, are generous in their paper serving container, and so crisp and delicious that you have to tell yourself to slow down. The rings of calamari ($11 for small) aren't as seductively crunchy as the tentacles, which are golden and crusty with batter.

Slender fillets of grilled trout ($12) are lovely and moist. An ample tuna steak ($15) is right at the point of doneness -- and not a spot more. Swordfish kebabs ($15) are also perfectly done, but the nuggets look forlorn in the takeout container, and there aren't any grilled vegetables accompanying it.

Fries, heaped into their containers, go from the Fryolator to your table very quickly, and they're golden brown and incredibly good. Large golden furls of fried fish with chips ($8) are always cod, says John Loblundo, who only uses canola oil for his frying. The brothers have about a dozen fried entrees, and about 15 grilled items. There are several pasta and shellfish dishes, as well as a few chowders and stews. Haddock chowder ($2.50 for a cup; $4.50 for a pint; $9 for a quart), is pleasingly creamy and briny, and not over-laden with fish or potatoes.

The shop stops accepting take-out orders on weekends at 7:45 p.m., which seems a bit early. On Fridays during the dinner rush, Twin can put out 400 to 500 meals. Then the market gets quiet.

"In Belmont, sidewalks roll up after 7 p.m.," says Loblundo.

He's trying to put together a dinner and movie package with the funky theater across the street. Customers would purchase dinner and their tickets at Twin, select one of two entree choices (such as the clam plate or sword kebab, he says), and head for the film. "It's a great spot," Loblundo says, "but there's not a lot of action down here."

TWIN SEAFOOD

Cuisine: Seafood

Address: 2 Church Street, Concord

Phone: 978-978-9030

Hours: Mon-Thurs, 11-6:45; Fri-Sat., 11-7:45; Sun., noon-5:45.

Prices: $6-$15

Web site: http://www.twinseafood.com/

more stories like this