Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Aug 29, 2007 10:39 AM

steamed clams, anyone

does anyone know where i can find a bucket of steamers in chicago

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. My all time favorite is Half Shell on Diversey a couple blocks west of clark on the north side of the street. I have been going to this place for over 20 years. Its a hiddin gem..You will love it . CASH ONLY! This is a total dive bar (fyi)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mr Food

      Sort of off-topic, but I wonder why their king crab is so fantastic. I would think that most restaurants get their crab from the same wholesaler, but their crab is just heads and shoulders above the crab I've had elsewhere. I love that place. I ate there the first night I moved to Chicago (I was at the Day's Inn next door) and return as often as I can afford it.

    2. I don't know any restaurants that serve genuine steamers, but Dirk's Fish on Clybourn often sells them retail and they are quite simple to prepare.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Willa

        That's where I bought them last week. Funny that you don't see them on many menus, alto the mussels at Hophouse come close to satisfying that craving for me.

        1. re: chicgail

          Real steamers, quahogs, don't travel well. Glory used to fly their own in to insure freshness. I have heard that Dirk's sources its steamers directly too. I grew up in New England and that's the one thing I really miss about it.

          There used to be an oyster bar next to Nick's Fish Market that offered steamers and terrific fried clams. I went there several times and the manager told me that they literally brought in a batch every day from a supplier in Maine.

          1. re: Pete Oldtown

            I bought steamers at Dirk's recently and they were the best I have ever had! Big bellies, too! So sweet and tender. I was very surprised.

            1. re: Willa

              I've done the same from dirk's and enjoyed them. Half shell is good not great. Try new England seafood company, they do both steamers and fried clams, they're a whole sale fish market with a few tables in the shop. Recently bought lobsters there to prepare at home, you can literally taste the sea. In the best possible way.

      2. They're an appetizer on the dinner menu right now at Mitchell's Fish Market in Glenview - my favorite seafood restaurant in the entire Chicago area.

        12 Replies
        1. re: nsxtasy

          Steamed Little Neck Clams, while delicious, aren't really "Steamers" like the OP requested...

          1. re: Ketel Guy

            They're not? What's the difference?

            1. re: nsxtasy

              Steamer clams have shells that are very thin compared to those of a hard clam. The shells are so thin you can break them easily with your fingers. This is probably why we don't have them here very often. I have ordered them in the past from Whole Foods..The shells are white and elongated. The entire clam does not fit inside the shell; the neck hangs out which is kind of weird looking! And you have to peel 'skin' off the neck before you eat them. But they are divine

              1. re: jan

                And then you dip them in broth to wash away any residual sand -- and then in the melted butter -- and then they melt in your mouth. And if you're a real steamer aficionado, you sip the broth, being careful not to drink any sand that has gone to the bottom.

                My mouth is watering as I read your post.

                1. re: chicgail

                  Drinking the broth at the end is the best part. Man I miss eating steamers.

                  1. re: jesteinf

                    and let's not forget a big basket of fried clams!!!!! I usually get some of each, and I even made my own mouth water!!

                    1. re: jan

                      Ha ha! I do that too when I am lucky enough to be on the East Coast. Fried clams. Steamers. Oysters.....

                2. re: jan

                  Some people call it the neck, some call it something else! You are right. They are delicious with tons of crusty bread to dunk in the broth...I've seen people eat the "skin"...No, thanks!

            2. re: nsxtasy

              Mitchell's Fish Market in Glenview has been replaced by Jameson's! Did it close or just move?

              1. re: Willa

                Unfortunately, it closed. Last year, I think. Mitchell's is a chain; the nearest one now is in suburban Milwaukee.

                1. re: nsxtasy

                  I really liked the restaurant. It was a chain, but nice job with the fish. Never saw a bucket of steamers there. I'm pretty certain that you cannot find a restaurant out here or maybe anywhere in Chicago that has a bucket of steamers on the menu. Possibly now and then as a special. I think people are just not familiar with the type of clam and they are very perishable. So your best option is to buy them at Dirk's on Clyborn, or that other seafood retail store that someone mentioned and I must find and try. You can also ask Burhops in Glenview to order steamers for you. You will be cooking them at home. Burhops is not as good as I remember it to be 20 years ago, when it was in the city. I am really disappointed that they only stock blue point oysters. If you want something else (and I certainly do I do not like blue points), you have to plan in advance. That isn't always possible. When the need for oysters strikes, it must be satisfied. You used to have a Shaw's in Deerfield. Gone. You might find a McCormick & Schmick's in that area. They won't have steamers either but pretty good variety of oysters. It is a chain based in San Francisco.

                  1. re: Willa

                    I really liked Mitchell's Fish Market too. I thought it was the best seafood restaurant in the Chicago area. But oh well, it's gone. We still have some good ones, the best of which IMHO are Parker's in west suburban Downers Grove, Shaw's Crab House (gone from Deerfield, but still in Chicago/River North and Schaumburg), Hugo's Frog Bar (Chicago/Gold Coast, Naperville, Des Plaines), and Reel Club (Oak Brook). (I don't know which, if any, have steamed clams.)