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Steamers

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.

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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.

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      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.)

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        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.

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          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. http://www.thetasteoforegon.com/wp-co... 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.

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                          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.

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

                1. I have NEVER found them here. What you will find is that the waitress will promise you steamers and then just bring you steamed clams. Their soft shells mean they don't travel well. Just give up now! haha

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Hershey Bomar

                    "Their soft shells mean they don't travel well. Just give up now! haha"

                    Your comment is so untrue. You can go to any decent fish monger and they're get them for you. Bristol Farms got them for me. Whole Foods probably would too. And as Baron posted below, Quality in Redondo Beach has them. I've eaten them there many times, and have bought them to take home.

                    1. re: toitoi

                      Last I knew, WF would not sell live shellfish. Guess they are making a distinction in the live shellfish they will sell. The guy behind the counter told me at the time it was a considered "cruel" to sell live lobster & crabs, according to their whack-job owner, John Mackey. As if the crustaceans are more "sensient" than mollusks. Either way, they lost my business for good.

                      But now I must know, what the heck kind of clams are they selling?? Do you know??

                  2. My wife loves steamers. Quality Sea Food at the Redondo Pier has them live and in tanks. They will cook them up for you or you can take them home and do it yourself. Most west coast people dont know what your are talking about. (My wife calls them piss clams)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Baron

                      So the Galley doesn't actually have real steamers. It's a very unique east coast experience that I miss in LA. It's probably one of the only things you can't get out here.

                      @Baron - are you or your wife from the East Coast? I'm willing to make the trek out to Redondo if these are real steamers. My wife would die.

                      1. re: js76wisco

                        Am from Long Island. Have eaten real steamers at Blue Plate Oysterette, and they were very good. Call first to check, but that place has had 'em in the past, and I've eaten 'em there.

                    2. Hi, just saw this thread...sorry to come on board a little late, but I think I can help. BP Oyesterette have East Coast Steamers on the menu but they're not prepared the classic way; steamed, and served with just salt water and drawn butter, BP Steamers come in some kind of broth more like a version of a Moule. It's been a while since I eat them, but they're good - just a different take on Steamers.
                      Also, Santa Monica Seafood on Wilshire & 10th in Santa Monica sometimes get REAL East Coast Steamers. You can by them by the sack, or by the pound. Call ahead and ask, make sure you talk to the manager as the people working there generally has no idea what you're talking about, unless you ask about very common West Coast fish. When you pick up your steamers, make sure they give you the right thing...a friend of mine came home with a sack of mussels - probably all the same to the guys at SM Seafood ;) I have also seen Chatham Cod here on occasion, but so rarely it almost feels like a mirage... Good luck!! :)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: liliswe

                        Thanks for the heads up on BP Oysterette. I noticed them on the menu when they first opened but also not the classical east coast preparation with drawn butter but some kind of tomato based broth. It's just not the same for me.

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                        BP Oysterette
                        1355 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                      2. I always get them at Quality Seafood in Redondo Beach. They have them quite often and they are delicious.

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                        Quality Seafood
                        130 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA

                        1. You are looking for ipswich clams which are often referred to as steamers. THhe only menus I have seen them on n the L A area are B P Oysterette (just fair here) and Longboard's in Huntington Beach. I went to Longboards just to eat them and I promise you it was worth the ride. The reast of the food was nothing special but those sweet clams were amazing. The Old Place has very good steamed cams but they are not ipswich neither are the clams at The Galley. Santa Monica Seafood gets them in on many Fridays but they do not sell them in the restaurant - only to cook at home. If you find them anyplace else let us know. I like them so much that I even ate them for breakfast on The Cape.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: flowergirl

                            Right on this thread is where you can buy them.

                            My wife loves steamers. Quality Sea Food at the Redondo Pier has them live and in tanks. They will cook them up for you or you can take them home and do it yourself. Most west coast people dont know what your are talking about. (My wife calls them piss clams)

                          2. Tusquellas Sea Food Market, at the Farmers Market on Fairfax and W 3rd St has them. Saw them there today, Kind of pricey - $6.98/lb.

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                            Tusquellas Sea Foods
                            6333 W 3rd St # 138, Los Angeles, CA