It’s not like fried seafood isn’t delicious year-round, but for some reason, it’s extra delicious during the summer. You can find fried oysters and fried shrimp on menus galore, but fried clams are a bit more obscure. And, once you find them, they are often overcooked, defrosted, room temperature strips of rubber that can barely be called seafood.
Where to Find Fried Clams in Richmond, VA
The fried clams on Pasture’s dinner menu are a revelation. Always fresh and never frozen, the dinner menu features a big honkin’ pile served with spicy slaw and tartar sauce for $10. Apparently when Pasture opened, co-owner Jason Alley was planning to put fried oysters on the menu, but deciding the popular Virginia bivalves were already fairly well represented on menus around town, he gave the iconic New England dish a try instead. The fried clams at Pasture are nicely sized with light breading that’s just the right amount of salty. They are fried crisp, hot, plump and tender, allowing the texture and flavor of the seafood to show through. The cold, spicy slaw and white sauce provide perfect contrasts to the hot fried seafood.
I haven’t been lucky enough to take a trip to New England in the summer, but one bite of these topped with a simple squeeze of fresh lemon, a dunk in creamy tartar makes me imagine a sunny seaside day with a brisk breeze, popping freshly fried clams and sipping cold champagne (what did you think I was going to say, lager?) while watching sailboats drift by.
Try them During Pasture Happy Hour
The fried clams are a small plate and not a snack, but one of my favorite times to sample them is still during happy hour from Monday to Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. when you can enjoy $2 off drafts, $1 off rails, $5 select wines and a $6 bartender’s choice craft cocktail along with $2 off the snack section of the menu. Because if there is one thing better than fried clams, it’s fried clams with a side of $4 pimento cheese or $2 chips and dip. Don’t forget to check out the rest of my favorite Richmond dining deals, too.