We had a whirlwind trip to NYC for the honored 50th anniversary couple celebration, so we decided to go into Manhattan a day early and see some of my relatives for dinner. We got off the plane, dumped our stuff and took the subway to Union Square and took a stroll to the garment district of Manhattan to where the Black Pearl restaurant now resides. The Black Pearl in New York has no affiliation with restaurants in other cities that share its name. This Black Pearl wanted to re-create the Cape Cod or Maine seafood shanty food experience in a Manhattan setting. The offerings include an oyster bar with oysters from both east and west coasts, clam chowder of both Manhattan and New England varieties, lobster roll made in 3 traditions, fried whole belly clams and usually they have steamers too.
My relatives gave us a couple of choices of moderately priced ($20 - 25/person) restaurants to choose from, including this seafood restaurant, and I immediately jumped on the opportunity to get really good seafood. Being landlocked here in TN, it is tough to get really good seafood. Just a reminder about how it goes here in Nashville when asking about oysters... I asked a waitress at a Nashville, self-proclaimed oyster bar, what kind of oysters they had, and I was expecting to hear words like PEI, blue point, malpeque, WA, Canadian, MA, gulf of someplace, and her declaration was that they had two types, raw or fried. I got pork that night. So, I jumped on the opportunity to have New England style seafood that enjoy so much.
I started out my meal with Manhattan clam chowder. I was in Manhattan, so I opted for the red clam chowder instead of the cream based New England clam chowder. Normally I would opt for the N.E. clam chowder, but hey when in Manhattan do as the Manhattans do, and drink a Manhattan and eat Manhattan clam chowder. The soup was a nice veggie based soup with a few clams in it. It was kitchy to get a Manhattan soup in Manhattan, but next time New England here I come.
For my entree, since they did not have steamers this evening, I opted for the whole belly fried clams. I actually cannot remember the last time I had whole belly fried clams. It is quite possibly over 10 years ago while vacationing on Cape Cod. Having waited so long, I was ready for some real fried clams. My relatives were interested in how the clams and fries would be because NYC has now banned all trans-fats (oleo, Crisco, hydrogenated oil, the white fatty stuff) from being served in restaurants, and they had not had fried food out in a restaurant since the ban went into effect. The result is that the fried food is not that different, but a bit lighter in finish. I enjoyed the whole belly clams.
We got done eating, and the rain had stopped outside. The best part about dining in Manhattan and being too cheap to take a cab, you get to walk and take the subway. There is nothing better than taking a stroll after dinner, and give time for the food to work itself out. We all strolled, chatted and window shopped. What a nice evening.
Labels: New York Eats