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Uni pasta and razor clams in NYC

  • r

Hey guys, I need your help. I'm headed to NYC next week and am searching for uni pasta and razor clams, neither of which are available in the CA Bay Area where I live. Which restaurants would you recommend? I prefer roasted clams to raw, but would be happy with either. As for the pasta, I'm looking for something that's light on the butter and cream and heavy on the uni. Thanks so much!

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  1. search the board for threads about Esca on West 43rd Street - i'm pretty sure they serve *both* dishes!

    1. The Razor Clams a la Plancha at Casa Mono is hard to forget.

      4 Replies
        1. re: RCC

          I whole-heartedly also agree! Most everything at Casa Mono is delicious.

          1. re: ttoommyy

            I third the casa mono rec. Also, doesn't Scarpetta have an uni pasta dish?
            JeremyEG

          2. re: RCC

            We weren't going to get them but ended up with them anyway last night. Delicious and garlicky and perfectly tender.

          3. I would look to (some of) the top Italian restaurants in NYC for sea urchin pasta. They tend to also use crab meat, as its sweetness tempers and complements the richness of sea urchin well. The following suggestions all use fresh, house-made pasta:

            Marea - Spaghetti with sea urchin, crab, tomato and basil
            Convivio - Malloreddus, Sardinian saffron gnocchetti with sea urchin, crab, and tomato
            Esca - Maccheroni alla Chittara with sea urchin and crab

            The Esca version is simpler and heavy on the sea urchin. Both the Marea and Convivio versions feature tomatoes prominently; while the sea urchin is more subdued, the sauces are incredibly well balanced and vibrant, and the breadcrumbs sprinkled on top of the pastas add a nice textural contrast. You will probably prefer the Esca maccheroni given your request.

            However, the single best sea urchin pasta in NYC is at Le Bernardin, which has a linguine dish in a obscenely rich sea urchin and butter sauce, topped with a generous heap of Osetra caviar. Unfortunately, it is an off-menu item and carries a very hefty supplement (like in the neighborhood of $100).

            1. I've tried the Uni Pasta at Scarpetta, Convivio, Alto, Marea, and A Voce Columbus - my blog has pics and longwinded descriptions of each but I'd rank them as follows:

              Scarpetta (more creamy and nuanced) = A Voce (more citrus/buttery) > Alto (spicy, but nice) > Convivio (good, and gnochetti are awesome) > Marea (far too heavy handed with spices and tomato)

              1. Esca's version is lovely, and better than Scarpetta's, which is very light on the uni and also too garlicky. I'm sure you have plenty of fine Japanese restaurants in your area, but you might also consider Soba-Koh, which serves a cold soba with uni and ikura that may suit you as well. No butter, no cream!

                http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

                1. Allow me to suggest something a bit more downscale. The linguine with sea urchin and basil at Basta Pasta, an Italian-Japanese restaurant on 17th St., is a good dish. It's $18 at lunch and $19 at dinner but half portions are available.

                  For razor clams, I am partial to the versions at Szechuan Chalet (2nd Ave/73rd St) and Congee (on the west side of Bowery, a couple of blocks north of Canal)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    I was going to suggest Basta Pasta.

                  2. There's Tocqueville in Union Square serves uni pasta. Not insanely buttery rich but they were generous with the uni tongues swimming around the bowl of pasta. It's quite good.

                    For photos and my thought about Tocqueville: http://bit.ly/6YpoeC

                    Tina
                    The Wandering Eater
                    http://thewanderingeater.com/

                    1. The definitive uni pasta ranking.
                      http://www.alwayshungryny.com/top-5s/...
                      For razors I favor Casa Mono

                      1. They have a very good uni and clam spaghetti at Greenwich Grill. The calms are not razor clams but still very good.

                        http://www.greenwichgrill.com

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: locomoco

                          I second Greenwich Grill for the uni pasta. Also second Basta Pasta, both are Italian/with Japanese influence.

                        2. Definitely go to Esca. Their Uni with crabmeat and fresh cut guitar pasta is to die for. They also have razor clams on the crudo menu.

                          The Uni and fresh pasta dish is only in the mid $20's and is worth going for.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jdg5005

                            Thanks very much for all your tips! I just booked reservations for Esca and will prob try to fit in Casa Mono too. Cheers =)

                          2. Just ate this weekend at Faustina, Scott Conant's new place on Cooper Square. He does a pasta dish with Sea Urchin that I found amazing. Pricing was reasonable.

                            1. I had some razor clams at Congee Village. It was my first time so I can't say if it was a good rendition. I think I just dislike razor clams cos they are like giant chewy tubes.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: windycity

                                They may have been overcooked. Good clams are not supposed to be really chewy! A little firm, yes, but not enough to be annoying.

                                1. re: kathryn

                                  I suspect I just dislike razor clams. It's like eating fingers or something. I don't like oysters either, just clams and mussels.

                              2. In case anyone is interested, Recette in the old Jarnac space is treating razor clams like clam bellies - breading and deep frying. Nice finger food.

                                1. I'm a little late coming to this, but for future readers I'll comment.

                                  Uni pasta seems to have been covered well enough.

                                  For razor clams, I'm fond of a couple - Rayuela on the LES usually has a good, seasonal preperation of them. Currently there isn't one on the menu, but they rotate it regularly.

                                  My best bet would be one of the better Chinatown restaurants - Oriental Garden on Elizabeth would be my personal go-to. I'd go for the razor clams with XO sauce - also, their black bean sauce is unbelievable. A revelation to those who are used to only corn-starch gloop Americanized Chinese food. Way better than what you'll get from Congee Village.

                                  -----
                                  Rayuela
                                  165 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

                                  Oriental Garden
                                  14 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                                  1. I had a fantastic sea urchin (ricci) special at Spina, the non-descript Alphabet City/East Village pasta house. The ricci was tossed with homemade spaghetti, arugula, and san marzano tomatoes and infused with habanero olive oil. It was absolutely delicious. The ricci was strewn throughout the dish with a large scoop laying on top of the pasta. It was reasonably priced at $24. I asked the GM on my way out and he informed me that the ricci is freshly shucked in the back each night. I highly recommend the dish and Spina in general.

                                    -----
                                    Spina
                                    175 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

                                    1. Just bumping this one slightly to see if the caviar/sea urchin pasta is still available at le bernardin. Is it off menu? I've tried their printed menu's on the website and don't see it. thanks.

                                        1. re: cacio e pepe

                                          OP is from 2010 BTW and hasn't really come back to CH.

                                          1. re: kathryn

                                            hmmm maybe the OP ate some bad uni.