Clawdaddy’s NYC

Hello friends, I’ve returned. I know, its been a long hiatus, but since I’ve been working two jobs and desperately trying to get my novel off the ground, I think it’s justified. Incidentally if anybody’s got connections to agents and what not, hook me up? Meanwhile, here’s some food porn:

20140108_192013  Here in New York, trade capital of the world , it’s not uncommon to find seriously good seafood, generally at the cost of an arm or a colon. At Clawdaddy’s NYC in the LES, the oysters are seasonal, market priced and all kinds of delicious- which is to be expected. Clawdaddy himself drives to the Bronx twice a week to pick up the catch. Plenty to go round here, but my favorites were the dollar Bay Scallops, offering a delicate edge on the powerfully unctuous taste of oysters. More good things: coppery fresh Kunagiway, the ubiquitous Kumamoto and Blue Point, and also strangely, a ponzu sauce on point with the more delicate tastes.

It’s worth a note here to say oysters are a dangerous business. Even people used to them can get sick from eating too many, since they’re bottom feeders and retain many of the bacteria or toxins in the water. Which is why I highly recommend some kind of alcohol to go with them, and Clawdaddy’s delivers grandly with classic whites and sour reds perfectly at home in a Dornishman’s castle (sorry, been reading Dance of Dragons). There’s a lovely Monterey County Heron Pinot Noir, and the rare stout on tap that isn’t a Guiness, a Left Hand Milk Stout from Longmont CO. It’s a good beer to match, metal enough to jam with the edgy oysters but smooth and creamy enough for the winter’s bite. Here, have a juicy Poboy:

20140108_200835 20140108_200825That about says it all about the attitude in Clawdaddy’s. Big rolls of paper, fake newsprint service, and plastic silverware gird the tables, whilst the ribs of a canoe and some minimalist rigging hang from the high, spacious ceiling. It’s not too in your face about the seafood theme, and it’s roomy enough for noisy parties to jam and get messy. Do not wear a suit to this party, Barney- you WILL get juice on you from the plastic bags of cajun boil. They’re not bad, either- a selection of big flavors like classic cajun and garlic butter scratch that Louisiana itch just right. You just don’t want to have it on your first date. Third, all right, by then she knows who you are, and won’t mind how silly you look in a lobster bib.

Okay, now to the unfortunate part. Clawdaddy’s is still new, but they already have some bad reviews on Yelp. Frankly, reviews of seafood restaurants are shifty at best. The competition is high, and client reactions vary. Mainly, the competition here is from the nearby cajun seafood joint, The Boil. There are weaknesses to Clawdaddy: for one thing, the menu is bipolar, from delicate raw food to big, rock-opera spices. There aren’t many vegetarian options, and the deserts, while technically perfect, are boring. A perfectly executed lava cake with 90% lava is still one of a thousand chocolate lava cakes in every restaurant in the city. Seating is spacious, but designed for families to dig in, or friends to banter, not so much for comfort. Clawdaddy is making some adjustments to the menu, so look forward to some deviation from the cajun theme.

In a nutshell: should you go? If you’re looking for a party place, with crowd-pleasers galore, I would. Clawdaddy is a bit like their decadently crunchy cajun wings. They’re hot with spices, with the meat still juicy inside, but not everybody has the gumption to eat them that way. Just specify if you don’t like it pink- I do!


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