- scene: Bright and open, minimal but comfortable
- sip: Wine, beer, speciality cocktails etc
- savor: Osters Rockefeller; spaghetti with clam sauce; soft shell crabs; raw bar
- sit: With a girlfriend; on a date; at the bar alone
- spend: $$
- address: 420 Hudson Street at Leroy
- phone number: (212) 242-7420
- website: www.theclamnyc.com
What a gem The Clam is! Such a cool, tasty, non-pretentious place, a real briny shot of sea water to wake up our dull restaurant experiences. Everything about the Clam is straight forward- the atmosphere, the service and the menu, refreshingly devoid of gimmicks and attitude, just how downtown dining should be. The Clam could be a neighborhood place, with a seafood heavy menu that is equally well-suited to a casual night dining at the bar and a more planned outing with a group at a table. The tunes are good, the room is attractive, and the food is fabulous.
I arrived before my friend and was happily allowed to wait at the table, which I love. The Clam is located on Hudson, on the small strip that is slightly more commercial than the residential cuteness of the street north and south of this area. The rstuarant is basically one big square with lots of windows, but not cold or hard at all. Servers seemed to be dressed in their own clothes, all fairly hip and springy but not contrived or hipstery. This come as you are attitude is carried over to the menu, where you are free to build your own meal from the listed categories, without being told how many courses per person the chef recommends. Admittedly we went a little overboard with our food, especially given how yummy the parker house rolls where, but since it was our first time we wanted to try everything; when I go back, I will try to order less. We apparently ordered a dozen oysters although I thought we only ordered a half dozen, and I am not sure if I was told which oysters were which, but they delicious ( Daryl says oysters are a waste of stomach real estate, but on a summer night, I beg to differ). We also had the oysters rockefeller, a classic kicked up by crumbled Ritz cracker and absinthe, and a scallop crudo that was beautiful to look at and light and yummy to taste.
Now this is where things get really good: The spaghetti with clams, and the soft shell crab. Daryl raved about the spaghetti with clams, and the soft shell crabs were popping up on crab round-ups for a few days; both lived up to their billing. The clam sauce is in a tomato base, spicy and garlicky, on toothsome, thick pasta and some arugula mixed in. The soft shell crabs were crunchy and huge (two whole crabs!) and had a nice cole slaw underneath for added crunch and to cut some of the flavors. Perfection!
Shockingly we had room for some sorbet for dessert, yuzu and something, fresh and satisfying. I am totally crushing on The Clam…