King’s CLAM BAR officially opened on Friday, and we were lucky enough to get a preview a few weeks before. Here are some more shots of the preview and the space in mid-facelift so you can see some before and afters (below, along with the menu and our first meal):
On Saturday, we popped by for our first official meal as customers. In the few weeks since we had been there, they finished painting and decorating.
Now the front chalk board glimmers with the delight of a big (delicious) beer list that Heather, drink guru, will happily guide customers through (probably while dancing and making everyone feel like friends).
There are high tops right outside the miniature kitchen and up front. Then a a few lower tops and booths in the back and the patio behind that.
Speaking of the miniature kitchen… this is the whole of it with just 2 induction burners and a double oven.
But somehow Chef Bill is still cranking out delicious food.
We sat out back where we got to hear about how someone read about King’s CLAM BAR right here on NYCNomNom (thanks readers!)
We also ran into friends of Mike’s (it’s in the neighborhood). So we got to share a lovely meal.
Each of the tables has lanterns and menus with a check-off list for ordering.
Menu page 1:
Menu Page 2:
The goal is to order the individual components of the meal that you want to eat and then put it together. Most items (the baked fish and suckling pork sliders, for instance) come pretty basic and then you can add sauces and pickles and salads to your hearts content. Or mix-and-match or share so everyone gets the toppings they want.
We ordered from a little bit of everywhere on the menu.
First stop, the fish. We went with tile fish and it was perfectly cooked and tasted great on its own. But when we added the black garlic and dill sauce, it was heavenly.
The mussels were the same recipe that made me fall in love with Bill’s food in the first place.
The mussels themselves weren’t as plump as when they are at their peak, but the sauce makes up for it in spades. The only thing missing was bread to soak up all that sauce (which I still want to bathe in), but we made-do with some buns from the kitchen. Chef Bill should be adding homemade biscuits in the near future to take care of this small issue. Though I still think crusty bread is the way to go.
As for sides, we tried the purple cabbage slaw (fresh and tasty)
And the potato salad we loved at the tasting. The bacon in this really makes it an exciting update on regular ol’ potato salad.
We also had to try the lobster roll. This had a great balance of flavor with no component pulling too much away from the great lobster flavor. The grilled bun was a nice touch and I appreciated the big chunks of lobster interspersed with smoother smaller pieces.
We decided to get oysters for dessert… which wound up being the only flaw of the evening. While the oysters themselves were good, apparently they do not have a shucker hired yet, so another member of the staff was shucking. It took a long time to get them and when we finally did, they weren’t too easy to eat. Hopefully they will find their shucker soon!
As this place finds its sea legs, especially with Chef Bill’s food as the backbone, I think it will be absolutely fantastic. The waitstaff still needs some training to teach customers how to best take advantage of the menu, but considering this was day 2, they get a pass.
Can’t wait to go back.