Favorite Dishes #57: Lupulo's Razor Clams

Razor clam salad with a trio of cucumber
Razor clam salad with a trio of cucumber
Zachary Feldman for the Village Voice

At Lupulo (835 Avenue of the Americas, 212-290-7600), the follow-up to acclaimed modern Portuguese restaurant Aldea, camera-friendly chef George Mendes takes a decidedly more relaxed approach, eschewing fine dining and tasting menus in favor of punchy recipes meant to pair with the many beers, wines, and cocktails prepared at the restaurant’s massive U-shaped bar. As such, many dishes — like grilled sardines and piri piri chicken — pack aggressive, bold flavors and sport rustic presentations. Which is why the chef's ethereal razor clam salad feels like a cooling reprieve, as bright and refreshing as a freshly poured pint.

Rather than serve them whole in their namesake blade-like shells, Mendes chops up the clams so that they resemble plump, briny mini-marshmallows. The chewy bivalves get tossed with a trio of cucumbers: raw slivers, crescents of quick-pickle, and charred nuggets, the fruit's sweetness multiplied thanks to the searing heat of the restaurant's wood-burning grill. Anointed with sprigs of dill, which help accentuate the clam's meatiness with verdant savor, it's an elegant dish, and one that almost wouldn't feel out of place at Aldea. That it can be enjoyed in Lupulo's convivial dining room with a glass of vinho verde makes the offering that much sweeter.

Fork in the Road is counting down to our Best of New York City issue in October. We're combing the city every day, one dish at a time, to guide you to the most delicious food in NYC. These are our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2015, in no particular order, save for the top 10.
Here's our countdown up to now:
#100: Laminated Blueberry Brioche at Dominique Ansel Kitchen
#99: Egg Shop's Golden Bucket Fried Chicken
#98: Ramen Lab's Torigara Shoyu
#97: Cannoli at Ferdinando's
#96: Breakfast Sandwich at Dimes
#95: Banana Royal at Eddie's Sweet Shop
#94: Fletcher's Burnt Ends
#93: Almayass's Mante
#92: Empellon Taqueria's Fish Taco
#91: El Rey's Sardine Tostada
#90: General Tso's Pig's Head at the Cannibal
#89: The Vegetarian at Meat Hook Sandwich Shop
#88: The 21 Club's Creamy Chicken Hash
#87: Deep-Fried Olives at Via Carota
#86: Pougi at Loi Estiatorio
#85: Shelsky's Hot Pastrami Sandwich
#85: Pearl & Ash's Smoked Bread with Chicken Butter
#84: Gluten-Free Pizza at Rossopomodoro
#83: Perry St's Chocolate Pudding With Candied Violets
#82: Whit's End's 'Fuckin' Bluefish Dip'
#81: Morgenstern's Salt and Pepper Pine Nut Ice Cream
#80: Levain Bakery's Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie
#79: Delmar Pizzeria's Pizza
#78: Cafe Cluny's Avocado Toast
#77: Brooklyn Star's Cinnamon Bun
#76: Pork Belly Cotton Candy at Carnem
#75: Ippudo's Pork Buns
#74: Mission Chinese Food's Oil-Cured Anchovies
#73: Johnnycakes at LoLo's Seafood Shack
#72: The Starving Artists Steak at Belle Reve
#71: The Spotted Pig's Gnudi
#70: Xi'an Famous Foods' Tiger Vegetable Salad
#69: Crème Brûlée Truffle at Kee's Chocolates
#68: Pok Pok's Muu Paa Kham Wong
#67: Cacio e Pepe at Upland
#66: Pulpo at Toro
#65: Junior's Something Different
#64: Duck Carnitas at Cosme
#63: Banana Miso Ice Cream Sandwich at Neta
#62: Breads Bakery's Chocolate Babka
#61: Braised Lamb Neck at the Gorbals
#60: Dough's Passionfruit Doughnut
#59: Uncle Jesse Bao at Baohaus
#58: Patatas Bravas at El Colmado


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