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Get clammy in WNY: 5 places to find quality clams

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

We’ve set sail for seafood season in Western New York, and with Sunday night’s news that the Hatch Restaurant would be equipped with a new clam bar, we’ve decided to lay out a local journey for clam lovers.

According to The Buffalo News’ Jane Kwiatkowski, Mayor Byron Brown announced that $640,000 would be used to create a clam shack (with adult beverages!) and an ice cream gazebo at the Hatch, and the project will be completed sometime in July.

Since Buffalo is located on the shores of Lake Erie—a bastion of fresh seafood—and, while accepting we’re not situated next to an ocean like Boston is, Western New York can do seafood pretty well itself.

The beauty of clams is that they’re infinitely customizable—you can grill, steam and bake them, or just eat them raw (not necessarily for the faint of heart). You can keep them in their shells or shuck them.

Popular toppings include lemon juice, tartar sauce. hot sauce, cocktail sauce, butter, aioli or horseradish, and slightly more aggressive recipes like clams casino, clam chowder or fried clam fritters (although the latter is more a specialty of the Eastern seaboard.)

While purchasing clams from the grocery store and preparing them at home is a popular practice for summer cookouts, WNY restaurants understand the allure of clams, and many vaunt impressive options during the summer months. Here’s list of old and new eateries that take pride in their clams—some are crowd-sourced, others are suggested by Yelp and Urbanspoon.

**Remington Tavern, 184 Sweeney St., North Tonawanda, website, menu:
Clam options: In “Raw Bar,” Remington offers six clam casinos for $10 and 12 for $18; 12 littleneck clams on the half shell for $10; 12 steamed little-neck clams for $12; fried sea clam strips for $11.
Yelp review on clams: “The clams were delicious,”—Melissa G.

**Marotto’s Restaurant, 3365 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, website, menu:
Clam options: Marotto’s raw bar is open from May 1 to Labor Day, and you can see the menu image to the right. Dinner menu options include 12 baked clams casino, 12 clams on the half shell and 12 clams in drawn butter.
Urbanspoon review on clams: “I just love to get clams on the half-shell at Marotto’s. While the view and scenery are not the best (Delaware Ave. traffic), the clams themselves more than make up for it. They are HUGE, fresh, and just plain awesome! We look forward to it every summer!”— greatfoodie

**Liberty Hound, 1 Naval Park Cove, Buffalo, Facebook page, menu:
Clam options: Little-neck clams (chorizo, garlic, green onions, tomato), $12; Clams casino (bacon, bread crumbs, onion, butter and herbs), $12; entree: Cioppino (mussels, clams, shrimp calamari, and cod in a tomato funnel fumet), $18.
Urbanspoon blogger review courtesy of Buffalo Eats: “We started our meal off with the Sauteed Little Necks ($12 pictured above, bottom), a large bowl of clams and pieces of chorizo in a broth with green onion, tomato chunks and onions.  Alli and I haven’t eaten too many clams in our tenure at Buffalo Eats, but the smell coming off the bowl was so good that we didn’t hesitate devouring the entire thing.  In retrospect I would have ordered additional sides of bread to enjoy the broth to the very last drop.  The chorizo gave the dish some heat but nothing overpowering.”—Buffalo Eats.

**Dug’s Dive, 1111 Fuhrmann Blvd., Buffalo, website, menu:
Clam options: Middle-neck clams on the half shell—raw or steamed—six run for $6.50, a dozen run for $11 and six clams casino cost $8. A bowl of New England clam chowder is $3.50, while there’s also a Cioppino that includes rich tomato fennel broth with haddock, shrimp, mussels, clams, calamari and scallops over diced potato, corn and served with garlic toast points for $22. Linguini with clam sauce—and lots of middle-neck clams sauteed in white wine—is $15.
Yelp review on clams: “[Our waitress] came back with our drinks and I asked her what was her favorite and this was her response “I have an addiction with the Cioppino! There will be some nights where I will actually do dishes in the kitchen just so the head chef will make me one!” I was blown away that someone would actually wash dishes (when its not their job to do so) to get a plate of this stuff… and she was right, this stuff was fantastic! I couldn’t even eat the whole thing and I took the rest home.”—Bradley A.

**Boston Hotel’s Steak and Crab House, 5555 Genesee St., Lancaster:
Clam options: While there isn’t much information on Boston Hotel’s offerings on the internet, its Yelp and Urbanspoon reviews are positive in terms of seafood, especially considering the low prices (a dozen clams are less than $4.) One commenter said that Boston Hotel’s owner drives to Boston weekly to bring in fresh seafood, which—if true—is pretty spectacular.
Urbanspoon review on clams: “My family and I all went and all got dinners (which included 2 surf and turf dinners, shrimp scampi and crab legs.) dozen raw clams, dozen steamed and shrimp cocktail.”—Banz.

**Bonus stop: It’s come to our attention, via Twitter user @WNYFoodie, that there’s a local clam legend back in town this weekend on Hertel Avenue, which is awesome.

Here’s how you open clams:

Happy clam hunting!

(Interior photo courtesy of Flickr / bfishadow); header photo courtesy of Flickr / rheault1121).

TAGGED: boston hotel's steak and crab house, clams, clams casino, dug's dive, hatch restaurant, liberty hound, marotto's, remington tavern, seafood

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