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Jul 8, 2011 08:43 AM


Just got back from the East Coast and had a bunch of great steamers. The whole activity of peeling off the foreskin dipping the steamer to clean off the grit and dunking it one last time in clarified butter is just fantastic. One place in Boston has clam broth for the cleaning instead of warm water. It was so good we just drank the broth at the end of the meal.

Does any place in LA have steamers? I know BP Oysterette does but they aren't served the same way. They cook the steamers in a tomato based sauce instead of the cleaning/dunking method.

BP Oysterette
1355 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

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  1. They are awesome, aren't they?? One of my favorite memories of my childhood - summer clambakes at the beach.

    Problem with this part of the country, they don't either have or harvest soft shell clams here. Manila clams are the closest thing they have. I have made these steamed on the grill, and as long as they aren't too large, they work.

    I really like BPO, wasn't aware of steamers on the menu, last time I was there was the spring. But that is probably the closest you will get that I know of.

    1. Ocean Ave Seafood in Santa Monica has very good Manila Clams steamed, with white wine and garlic.

      Ocean Avenue Seafood
      1401 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

      1 Reply
      1. The Ramp, or is that Gary Bric's Ramp, in Burbank at the intersection of Hollywood Way and Interstate 5, has excellent clams, also steamed in a white wine and garlic broth. If you ask, they'll bring you clarified butter as well. They are on the appetizer menu but it is a very big serving. Not quite the same as the classic steamers I've had on the East Coast, but as good a local alternative as I've found. Reasonably priced, too. If you order the Spaghetti Vongole, you pretty much get the same thing, only with more garlic and in a bigger bowl with noodles as well - which sometimes I'm in the mood for. (They've also got an excellent burger, by the way.)

        Gary Bric's Ramp
        7730 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505

        1. This is exactly why my wife insists I take her to The Galley in Santa Monica on a regular basis. Old School and great service.

          The Galley Restaurant
          2442 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

          12 Replies
          1. re: Servorg

            Are you saying the Galley has East Coast-style steamers, servorg?

            1. re: Ciao Bob

              Yes (according to their menu) but since I've never had them on the East Coast I'm taking their word for it...

              "STEAMED EAST COAST CLAMS (2lbs) Served with clam broth and drawn butter $17"

              1. re: Servorg

                I'll take your word (and your wife's) and give it a try. Thanks.

                1. re: Servorg

                  I'll be the judge. If they can ship Ipswich clams, why not steamers?? Will check them out, thanks SO.

                    1. re: toitoi

                      They are a type of steamer clam, but not all steamers are Ipswich, which is specific to a region of the Atlantic, north of Boston.

                      Apparently, we do have our own version of a steamer, called razor clams, but their season is already over, Nov - April. And in the 17 years I have lived here, I have not found them in the fish market yet, but then again haven't been looking very hard.

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        The razor clams I've seen - I saw them about three months ago in the Ranch 99 Market at Del Mar and Valley in San Gabriel - don't look anything at all like Ipswich clams or any other clams I've ever had as steamers. They're a lot longer and skinnier.

                        1. re: estone888

                          Yes that's right, hence the name, razor. But they qualify b/c they are soft shelled. You wouldn't use a hard shelled clam as a steamer, although Manilas work pretty well, as long as they are small <2 inches.

                          1. re: Phurstluv

                            I've been to restaurants, the Jersey Shore for one, that "Steamers" were listed on the menu. and inquired if they were soft or hard shell.

                            One young lady told me they were clams (period). Another place had no knowledge of soft-shell clams until I described them to the server. And, the clams both places served as steamers were hard shell.

                            I think you'll find that's true here in Los Angeles restaurants too.

                            1. re: toitoi

                              Oh no doubt, the fish counter man at my local Gelsons told my Mother that cherrystones were steamers. He obviously has no idea what he's talking about, which is typical for those out here who did not grow up in New England clamming the shores, as we did. Trust me, you don't want to use cherrystones as steamers; they are fine for raw bar or chowder, but even for linguine & clams, it's better to have a softer shelled clam; they are easier to shuck clean. Steamers have a unique quality of being a sweeter, more succulent clam b/c they are younger and have not grown to be a large muscle that requires a lot more work to pry and chew.

                        2. re: Phurstluv

                          A razor clam bears little resemblance to a steamer (or Ipswich) soft-shell clam.

                          Razor clams can be found sometimes in the Chinese markets in SGV. Frozen ones are available at the San Gabriel Superstore - Valley & San Gabriel Blvds.

                          San Gabriel Superstore
                          1635 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                          1. re: toitoi

                            Yes, apparently the Chinese markets carry them here. Guess I will have to visit one in order to get some and compare them. Thanks for the info.

              2. Cant beat the Galley on Main Street, Venice. Fantastic clams.

                Main Street Cafe
                12939 Main St, Garden Grove, CA 92840