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Happy as The Clam

April 11, 2014

This pretty much described how I felt walking out of The Clam, one of the newest spots bordering Soho and West Village.  I was skeptical about yet another seafood centric restaurant in the already densely populated neighborhood.  After all, we were already have two awesome choices between Pearl and Mary’s Fish Camp.  However, ever since it had opened a few weeks ago, The Clam has become a rather difficult reservation to secure so I was happy just to join AD for dinner Friday night after she nabbed a reservation for two.

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The minute I walked in, I could tell immediately that this was not going to be like the other two spots.  The spacious and rather handsomely decorated dining room with walls of exposed brick was filled with light thanks to its western as well as southern exposure.

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Dinner here started off with a butter Parker House roll, a buttery sweet roll that was still slightly warm when it arrived on my plate.  It is always a good sign for things to come when the bread is so delectable that I was half expecting to be charged for it.

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AD and I were in agreement on the dishes that caught our eye so no comprises there.  We began with a beautiful plate of scallop crudo with pear, hazelnut, lime and chives.  A little bit of frisee and pickled onions to juxtapose the sweet tender scallops – a great refreshing way to start the meal.

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Next, we shared a bowl of steamed little necks in their natural broth.  This was a house specialty and a must when you are dining in a restaurant named The Clam.  The restaurant did its namesake proud with a simple and light preparation.  We were happily soaking up the remaining natural broth with bread even long after the clams were gone.

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For our main courses, we decided to split the clam fried rice and the clam and spaghetti.  The fried rice was on the lighter side and studded generously with bites of clams and fatty pork belly.  A rather odd preparation that seemed a little out of sync with the rest of the Americana menu but I accepted it happily as I shoveled bites of rice onto my plate.

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The Clam was thoughtful enough to split our order of the spaghetti into two plates, a gesture that was much appreciated.  Unfortunately it did rob from the photographic aspect just a little.  Nonetheless, this was a fabulous take on the red sauce spaghetti and a must order.  The sauce was spicy and buttery, assertive yet smooth.  The arugula was a nice touch but I could have easily devoured an entire bowl of this with or without the greens.

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We completed the meal with a side of market carrots with a spiced labne and pumpkin seeds even though the creamy kale was also an extremely compelling choice.  The carrots were roasted to perfection, sweet and tender, and the spiced labne was a great way to add some exotic touches to a familiar vegetable.

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We opted to skip dessert but I am happy to report that there were some pretty enticing options, saving them for a return trip soon.  To think I was this close to writing off The Clam as another seafood restaurant and risked missing out on one of the best plates of spaghetti and clams.  That’s what I love about New York, just when you think you know what to expect, you will find some place that will prove you wrong.

The Clam | 420 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014 | http://theclamnyc.com/

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