Sunday, January 27, 2008

Razor Clams and Tautog: Evolution from Earlier Posts

Razor clams were the topic for our post of Dec. 14, 2006. Almost a year before then, on Jan. 29, 2006, a post regarding tautog (also known as blackfish) appeared on this site. Where those two posts were for introduction purposes, I never doubted that in future travels, the opportunity would arise to present both items at a new level. That opportunity came last weekend during a trip to Manhattan where Mrs. Yi's and my palates were bedazzled.

The razor clams were one of more than several small plate dishes comprising our Saturday afternoon lunch at Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich's Casa Mono, 52 Irving Place. The clams were prepared "a la plancha," which means grilled on a small plate. Any butter was eschewed in favor of olive oil and garlic. I'm almost certain the chopped green herb is Italian parsley. I consider Casa Mono's rendition of razor clams far superior to the preparation shared on this site in 2006. It should prove easy to duplicate if and when fresh razor clams can again be locally sourced. The next post of Unique Culinary Adventures will feature the cock's combs that Mrs. Yi and I enjoyed at Casa Mono.

Finding tautog nigiri and on a sushi menu proved for me to be the fulfilment of a long-entertained vision. It happened at owner/chef Soto Kosugi's Soto, 357 Sixth Avenue in the West Village. While puzzled that the flesh color was yellow- brown rather than white as I'd always found it to be in the past, I had no question regarding authenticity or freshness.

Soto's sushi/nigiri menu seemed but an afterthought when compared to the far more complex offerings on its "From sushi bar" and "From kitchen" menus. They included several tantalizing preparations featuring sea urchin, which is one of Chef Kosugi's specialties. In several weeks, Unique culinary Adventures will be posting more about Soto with images and descriptions relating to at least several its owner's sublime creations.