Next door to a fast-food sandwich shop is an unassuming hole-in-the-wall specializing in pan-Asian cuisine -- emphasis on Thai dishes (naturally, pad Thai is available) and curries -- with a smattering of American fried favorites from land and sea, like fries, clams and hush puppies. Many of the menu options, which can be seen posted in the shop's window or read on the sidewalk chalkboard, are less than a 10-spot. One of the winners here, the made-to-order old-fashioned burger, has customers raving and returning in droves. Word to the wise, though, the lunch crush can be almost intolerable. But with food so cheap and varied, it's easy to see why Tops is so popular.
There is something so Cape Cod-ish about fried clams—the smell, the tartar sauce, the rubbery taste that rebounds the mouth with each chew—it makes you want to cozy up to a boiled lobster and suck out those green guts without questioning what the hell you're eating. Oh, of course, we have never been to Cape Cod or Martha's Vineyard or anyone's vineyard for that matter. So maybe our memory is more primal, something from our youth—yes, that's it—it's from the fried claims at the Howard Johnson's on North Central Expressway that closed in, what, the early '70s? That's the memory that's triggered when you order fried clams at New Top's, which is the same as the old Top's, only newer, and relocated next to the downtown library after the lease on the old Top's Main Street location was not renewed. Hang the cholesterol count, the clam strips at New Top's are fried but not greasy, likely frozen but fresh-tasting, inexpensive but not cheap-tasting. The owner, who doubles as the order-taker and triples as the cook, will fry just about anything: shrimp, chicken, beef, fish, hush puppies, and her burgers are downright delish. But it's the clams that keep us coming back for reasons only our inner HoJo can comprehend.
Flat screen TV count: 1 Friendly behind-the-counter lady: 1 So, I was at the Dallas Central Library, totally engrossed in Jewel's A Night Without Armor (an oldie, but a goodie) when I smelled the smell of fried wonderfulness for less than 10... More »
There is something so Cape Cod-ish about fried clams--the smell, the tartar sauce, the rubbery taste that rebounds the mouth with each chew--it makes you want to cozy up to a boiled lobster and suck out those green guts without questioning what the hell you're eating. Oh, of course, we have never been to Cape Cod or Martha's Vineyard or anyone's vineyard for that matter. So maybe our memory is more primal, something from our youth--yes, that's it--it's from the fried... More »
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