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Restaurant Review: Campbell's Boat House

This week food writer Clara Park reviews Campbell's Boat House in Upper Providence Township.

Restaurant:

Address: 1250 N. Providence Rd., Media, PA 19063
Rating: (out of 5 stars): ★★★ 1/2
Style: Casual seafood restaurant and bar
Food: Tasty seafood appetizers, salads, sandwiches and a few entrees
Atmosphere: Lively neighborhood bar and restaurant
Parking: Lot
Service: Friendly and casual
Price Range: Moderate
Unique Features: Steamed crab legs, Tuesday nights kids eat free and the kitchen is open late

While certain seafood items like lobster and caviar are associated with luxury and white tablecloths, other seafood items like steamed clams and fish sandwiches are more closely associated with casual eateries. Personally, I would much rather roll up my sleeves and dig into a pile of Maryland crab than sup on caviar and champagne. I was so excited to dine at Campbell’s Boat House in Upper Providence Township for some no fuss seafood in a relaxed environment.

We arrived the night of a Phillies game and it was playing on all four screens. The bar was filled with neighborhood patrons avidly watching. Campbell’s is the kind of place where you can enjoy a cold beer and a bowl of steamers while watching the game, stop in for a fried fish sandwich at lunch or have a nice three course family dinner. We were seated in a booth and ordered some steamed clams and crab legs. The clams were swimming in a buttery herbal broth that added wonderful flavor to the bivalves and was worthy of bread dipping. The clams were perfectly steamed and delicious.

The snow crab legs were also nicely steamed and served with clarified butter on the side. The meat inside was sweet, tender and good enough to be enjoyed on its own (although the butter didn’t hurt the flavor). My only complaint was that it didn’t seem to be a full pound.

For our entrees we had the Bob Bob’s sea combo, the fish and chips and a soup and salad. The sea combo with fried jumbo shrimp, clam strips and broiled crab cake was a maritime bounty. The shrimp were nicely fried and paired well with the cocktail sauce. The crab cake appeared to be full of crab meat but was slightly underseasoned. The stars of the platter were the clam strips. Slightly crisp on the outside and succulent and subtly sweet on the inside, these fritters were addictive and the clear favorite of everyone at the table.

The fish and chips were a step up from the typical pub fare in that the fish was haddock and the batter featured local favorite, Yuengling beer. Instead of a few pieces of fish, there was one giant piece of fish which was a bit overwhelming. The fish had a deep golden crust and flaky and moist interior. While it was tasty, the tartar sauce was a bit lackluster.

My remaining dining companion wanted just a soup and salad. The garden salad with romaine, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and croutons was a very good salad. While some other restaurant may offer up only iceberg lettuce, a dried out slice of cucumber and some rubbery bits of carrot this salad tasted fresh and was generous in portion despite being labeled "small." The thousand island dressing was thick and wonderfully sweet and savory.

The homemade white cream of crab soup was very rich and heavy on the cream. The crab taste was faint but the soup was somewhat satisfying. While I wouldn’t recommend ordering it everyday, it would be ideal on a cold winter’s evening. My companion loved it and couldn’t stop raving about it even if I found it somewhat one-dimensional.

The service was casual but friendly. Our server seemed to be slammed and was constantly speed walking throughout the establishment. Most of the patrons seemed to be regulars and though it was our first time there, we felt welcome. Next time I get a hankering for some seafood, I know where to go. I could eat those clam strips everyday.

 

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