The weather might be brutal outside, but walking into The Clam, a seafood-centric spot in the West Village, has the vibrant warmth of a stylish, seaside cottage and the bright flavors of salty, coastal air. Simultaneously it invites you into the coziness of a winter hearth and the whimsy of summer memories.
The passion project of Mike Price whose previous work includes an adored restaurant you may have heard of called Market Table, the welcoming atmosphere and the menu that just seems to smile enthusiastically make perfect sense. Chef Price exudes the effortless intimacy and charisma that comes from a childhood spent along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.
For seafood lovers (and, of course, particularly clam lovers) The Clam has easily become THE go-to favorite, and you very well might find yourself making excuses to walk down Hudson street, despite even a windchill factor of negative one.
Based on our recent visit, here is our unbridled advice for your next one.
First things first, should they ask you about the bread (which they will quite immediately, as it is baked to order) your answer is a resounding YES.
And, if you’re really smart about it, in the same breath you will order a “purple rain” cocktail. Only then will you settle back into your seat, soaking in the flickering candlelight and allow the serenity and sumptuousness of the meal you are about to partake in wash over you.
Now—as your cocktail arrives (as beautiful to look at as it is to sip, and the inspired creation of The Clam bartender, Karla Ricconuono) and your bread is being baked—you can leisurely peruse the menu.
We might be so bold as to say that it is quite impossible to order poorly here. Rather, it is avoiding the act of gluttony and finding the right balance of dishes that is the true challenge. Whatever otherwise strikes your fancy, there should be no hesitation in ordering the “steamers.”
Served as traditionally as it gets—a bowl piled high with perfectly steamed clams, glistening in their shells, vessels of clam broth and butter beside it for dipping—there is nothing that will more completely transport you to a warm, sunny afternoon at a picnic table on a dock. Yet, dock side or street side, these are easily the best steamers we’ve had in recent memory. The briny zing of the clam broth, the salty richness of the butter, the sweet mellowness of the meaty but tender clams—these will haunt your most delicious dreams, of summer days that still seem so far away.
– Ava Fedorov
Photos by Ava Fedorov for Socially Superlative