The Clam is unfortunately not a restaurant by the sea. Nor is it a Family Guy themed bar where people come and get hammered with their hilarious dogs, which is probably even more disappointing. It is, however, another quaint restaurant in the West Village from the folks who brought you the quaintest* of West Village restaurants, Little Owl and Market Table.
Aside from the misleading and somewhat unfortunate name, and aside from the fact that it kind of looks like every single other restaurant in this part of town, The Clam is actually very unique and really damn good. The idea seems to be that they've gone all New York City on the roadside clam shack, meaning that they put it in the West Village, added tablecloths, and put pork belly in many of the dishes. In your face, New England.
The menu at The Clam is as clammy as you'd expect, with the bivalve at least making an appearance on most of the plates. Not into eating from the half shell? Here's the good news: The things that we actually liked best here didn't even have clams in them, like raw scallop crudo with pear and hazelnuts, and some sort of Mexican seafood cocktail with the shrimp in the sauce. Good luck finding that in Rhode Island. As a matter of fact, good luck finding Rhode Island. Might as well just stick around the city this summer.
*Not even sure if this is a word. Not proud of using it either way.
Food RundownCampechana Cocktel de Camaron
Sounds like a monster of Latin folklore, looks like a mix between chips and salsa and shrimp cocktail, and tastes like f*cking awesome. Why did it take me until this very moment to realize that you should dice up the shrimp and put it IN the cocktail sauce? I suck.Scallop Crudo
Five buttery slices of raw scallop, topped with hazelnuts, pear, lime, and chives. A must order. Incredible.Sliced LI Duck
Another non-clam item that we loved. This duck is excellent, thanks to perfect preparation and the presence of hearts of palm and blood orange. Get it.Spaghetti & Clams
They had to, right? Well, be glad they did, because this spaghetti and clams is excellent. The pasta is fresh and homemade, and the spicy gravy on top provides excellent flavor and a little bit of kick.Fried Belly Clam Sandwich
Light, crispy, and full on awesome. This thing is pretty much straight out the clam shack, except for that perfectly griddled gourmet bun, lobster remoulade, and $24 price tag. It's good, but we're not sure it's that good.Clam Fried Rice
Exactly what you think it is. Clams in fried rice, with pork belly confit, snow peas, and pickled onion. It's tasty and it's fun, but you probably won't order it on your second trip back.Jumbo Lump Crabcakes
I suppose there's just not that much you can do with a crabcake, but these really just seemed like the average crabcakes you'd find at any decent American-type restaurant. You can do much better on this menu.Chili Roasted Brussels Sprouts
A+ for flavor, B- for texture. A little bit too soft to merit high marks.