Popei's Clam Bar Coram Reviews
A little local seafood flair in central Long Island Aug 29, 2009
Located smack-dab in the middle of Long Island, Popei's is about the localest of seafood joints you'll find. This place is particularly good if you're in the mood for a low-key, family-style seafood atmosphere, but the reasonable prices are really the main draw.
Although we were there on "ribs night", Popei's has a different all-you-can-eat special every day of the week. They're particularly renowned around here for their $30 snow crab leg special, on Tuesday and/or Wednesday. It's probably a good idea to check their website ahead of time to find out what the special will be for the night you plan to visit.
All the dishes are served in large, family-style portions; they can definitely be taken home in a doggie bag for the next day's lunch.
We each had a (decently priced) local draft beer, and the fried oyster appetizer (which was my favorite of the items we ordered). The oysters were large and juicy, the fry coating was light and not greasy at all.
As for entrees, I was less impressed. I had the Stuffed Eggplant (eggplant stuffed with shrimp, scallops, sealegs, broccoli, & ricotta cheese then topped with marinara & mozzarella)and my friend had "Mike's Unforgettable" (tortellini in a cajun alfredo sauce with shrimp, scallops, sealegs & veggies).
In case you were wondering, "sealegs" is just a euphemistic term for "fake krab meat", and I'm sorry to say it comprised the majority of the "seafood" in my dish. Hers was a little better, as she had visible tortellini, but I was hard pressed to find a single piece of eggplant until after 5 minutes of digging way to the bottom of the hot mess that comprised my dinner plate. To be fair, I wasn't really that hungry; if I had been, perhaps I could've given a more positive review. But I barely touched my food (I was a little turned off by the "sealegs", honestly) and gave the leftovers to my family. I think next time, try to stick to the basics (fried shrimp, fra diavolo whatever) and stay away from anything smothered with melted mozzarella, as you can't see what you're eating (maybe they do that on purpose...?).
On the upside, they do have a huge menu: if it swims in the ocean, Popei's probably carries it. They also have a "landlubbers" menu for those who don't eat seafood. Another high point is their full bar and outdoor seating area. The drinks are priced pretty well, you can smoke out there (which, believe me, is very important to the regulars), and the service was excellent. Our waitress was friendly and seemed shockingly normal compared to the roughness of Popei's' patrons.
The clientele, as you may imagine, is comprised only of locals. Think: 40-year-old-townies looking for a good time. Whether you like this kind of atmosphere is debatable - on a Friday or Saturday evening, be prepared to deal with loads of drunk, possibly rowdy, but ultimately fun-loving bargoers. If you're not really into that kind of scene, the indoor dining area is decidedly more low-key and family friendly than the outdoor tiki bar, so make sure you sit inside if that's the case.
All in all, Popei's is reasonably priced, for both food and drinks. Seafood restaurants are getting more and more expensive and Popei's manages to keep the costs down. There are so many chain-alternatives, such as Red Lobster, that it is tempting to ignore local places like this. But if you're in central Long Island, and you're in the mood for seafood in a relaxed atmosphere, Popei's Clam Bar is definitely worth a visit.
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