After four lunches at P. J. Clarke’s, we’re tempted to say they’re doing almost everything right…except the salads. From the superlative burger to belly clams fried right, this is real Amurican food done with passion and good ingredients — in other words, food the way über-American chef Larry Forgione has always done it.
We’ve been eating Forgione’s food since the mid-80s, when his An American Place restaurant on Lexington Avenue in NYC was a must-stop on any foodie’s resumé-building itinerary. Then and now, he had a way of taking an American classic — be it meatloaf or hush puppies — and making it sing.
And sing is what these clams did. Crunchy and creamy at the same time, all they need is a squirt of lemon to make them tango across your tongue (block that metaphor!). Technically, only clams that come from a certain area around Boston are proper Ipswich ones, but the term pretty much applies to most soft shell, belly clams with a long foot/neck used for feeding in brackish water. We forgot to ask Forgione about the provenance of these…because we were too busy shoveling their clammy, salty, seafood goodness into our pie hole.
Before we got to them, however, we were treated to angels on horseback — clam-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon — and clam fritters that might be the last word in deep-fried, piss clam satisfaction.
And what does your friendly neighborhood restaurant critic do after he gorges himself on fried clams, stuffed clams, clam chowdah and clam fritters? Why polish off some double chocolate-y chocolate pudding of course, before repairing to Vosges chocolate shop two doors down for a little Aztec Elixir pick-me-up.
Great clams followed by chocolate on chocolate followed by chocolate…now that’s a way to spend a Saturday!
P. J. CLARKE’S
In The Forum Shops at Caesars
3500 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109