Cap’N Cats Clam Bar & Tavern – West Deptford, NJ
Cap’N Cats Clam Bar & Tavern (CNC) feels a bit out of place in West Deptford, New Jersey. The exterior and interior of CNC seems more fitted for an on the water back-bay sort of local seafood bar, not a landlocked standalone establishment. Doing the best they can with no water around them, I give CNC credit for doing it up in the middle of nowhere. I just wish they would have given as much thought and energy towards the food as they did the decor.
Ever hear of the saying what goes up, must come down? Well that is how my meal went at CNC. Things started out quite nicely with an order of Steamed Shrimp. They were generous in size, seasoned beautifully, steamed to perfection, and came with a nice cup of melted butter that most places do not give with an appetizer of shrimp. The sweet shrimp combined with the warm salty ooze of the butter had the shrimp just melt in my mouth.
The downhill spiral started to begin my cup of Snapper Soup. The soup was extremely light in any aspects of snapper or seasoning being in the soup and it almost had a taste of being thinned out. I do not know if they were running out of the soup and decided to stretch the last bit out for me or if this is how it is always served. If this is how CNC always serves it I would recommend anyone who has never had snapper soup to try it here first as it is a light version of a very thick and hearty soup that I am used to and if you like CNC’s version of the soup you will love other places that do it even better.
To finish the evening, my scallops with a side of french fries were served. I will begin my rant by stating they were served with double-breaded french fries. Anyone who has followed me in the past knows my feelings of a restaurant copping out by using these cheap incarnations of something resembling a french fry, but are far from it. To make matters worse, the scallops were so overcooked it might have been easier to digest a bouncy ball instead of these things. Scallops are such a wonderful treat to eat when done well, and a terrible tragedy when done wrong. I had such high hopes for CNC after the steamed shrimp, but sadly things ended much worse than they started out.
CNC has a nice bar area and an even nicer seafood display as soon as you open the door to enter. I have a feeling I may have ordered completely wrong at CNC. They call themselves a clam bar and I shied away from eating even one clam from them. If someone was to invite me to have a drink at CNC, I would order the steamed shrimp again and try my luck with something clam related. I could even see myself just buying some fresh seafood from the display case and taking it home to enjoy. I just can not see myself ordering the snapper soup or scallops again.