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Friday, February 15, 2013

Peachy Picks Umberto's Clam House Our Coverage Sponsored by Fresh Origins

Owner Robert Ianiello Jr.

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The crowning glory: Linguine with Clam Sauce!!!!
Finally the uptown girl has made it downtown to Little Italy, and she was happy as a clam to go to 132 Mulberry Street, otherwise known as Umberto's Clam House.  Started by the current owner Robert Ianello's dad in 1972, it is still going strong today and Peachy has been dreaming about waking up in a mountain of linguine with clam sauce, which she has never liked as much as the incarnation that we found here.  She has been telling everyone about it all week!
You know we simply adore strong Italian reds and clearly we were at the right place for it.  Robert suggested the Ruffino, which he likes so much he even drinks it at home.  Thumbs up to this 2011 Chianti that was a successful companion to our meal!
Umberto's Clam House was first featured in Tasty Tidbits, which we'd encourage you to read as it recounts the history of the spot which is just as much fun as the food:
and we are pleased to announce it has joined the ranks of Peachy's Picks!  It was first located at 129 Mulberry from 1972 to 1995 and then moved to 178 Mulberry from 1996 to 2010.  In 2010 Umberto/Robert Sr. retired and Robert Jr. took full control.  Note that not all bread baskets or olive oil to dip in are created equally and this was a superior start at Umberto's.  If you are one that is counting calories forget about it-it is that terrific here.  Emma and Bruno (we know they behave) - we found out that dogs are welcome here - small dogs that behave that is!  Though this is not a touristy spot, tourists are welcome and it is also interesting to note Umberto's Clam House is so popular that on Monday and Tuesday there is an Italian Radio show at the restaurant.
One aspect of Umberto's Clam House that is fantastic is its comfortable atmosphere.  They even had a college basketball game on tv.  You could go in after a day of hardcore shopping in jeans and sneakers or before a glamorous night in your Amo Le Scarpe Italian heels and feel equally at ease.  In fact, we can't remember the last time we went to a spot this casual where the cuisine was this upscale.  Every culinary aspect of Umberto's Clam House we encountered was very good or phenomenal.
Note the nautical theme which is unique in Little Italy-this is a seafood spot, not a pure Italian place though they are in fact, Italian.   And Peachy did wear shoes from Italy on the review...
So, when in Rome...and clams were the first component Peachy tried aside from the delicious bread. Vongole Oreganate -whole clams stuffed with house bread crumbs-were a superb example of simplicity done right.  Robert is so connected he goes directly to a clam broker in Long Island (bypassing the market) for clams and oysters-but what did you expect-this IS a clam house!
Clearly this is where the phrase Happy as a Clam comes in.  They look quite pleased with themselves, rightly so!
Peachy covets Shrimp Scampi, and this version was very good.  The succulent little whole fresh shrimps delightfully danced in butter, lemon and white wine to combine in a symphony of seafood that will tantalize your tastebuds. Green vegetables are an excellent idea and the broccoli side was sauteed just right.
Though the Linguine with Clam Sauce was suggested, Peachy overall loves Shrimp Scampi much more.  We are happy to try everyone's suggestions though, and good thing because in this case, they are right.  The Linguine and Clam Sauce at Umberto's Clam House is the single most coveted version on the planet and when you try it, you will see why.  We suggest you order another order to take home as you will be so upset when it is gone.  Whole little neck clams perfectly sauteed with garlic (love it!) and olive oil over a bed of linguine will make you feel as though all is right in the world when you eat it.  As this family is from Naples, they are into simplicity, fresh herbs and a lot of fish.
Peachy truly laments the passing of this exquisite dish in her stomach.
Less is more and this is simplicity at its best.
Finally for dessert: freshly-made carrot cake boasting tremendous flavor, ideal consistency and the right moistness.  Perfect!
Our esteemed panelist adds:
I don't make it down to Little Italy as often as I would like, but I will make sure to visit more often now so that I can go to Umberto's Clam House! Robert, the owner told us that his father, Umberto opened the restaurant in 1972. Though the restaurant has changed locations over the years, its loyal customers have and will continue to follow them wherever they go. The reason for this is apparent after tasting their menu! 
I started off with the Stuffed Artichoke which was a large artichoke stuffed with parsley, garlic, parmesan and bread crumbs. I loved the chunks of garlic and parmesan combined with the artichoke! 
All of the flavors in this dish showcased the flavor of the artichoke quite well. For my main entree I had the Seafood Marechiaro which was clams, mussels, shrimp and calamari over linguine.
 The pasta dish had a nice spiciness to it! The linguine was cooked perfectly al dente and the seafood in the dish was incredibly fresh! This dish paired nicely with a glass of chianti wine which was full of flavor and depth. We also had the chance to try one of the restaurant's signature dishes, Linguine in White Clam Sauce. This dish was simplicity at it's greatest. The fresh garlic, herbs and clams in this dish truly helped it shine. 
For dessert I ordered the homemade Tiramisu which is one of my favorite desserts. This Tiramisu had a great texture and flavor to it. I especially loved the cinnamon dusting on top! Though many New Yorkers feel that many restaurants in Little Italy can be touristy, Umbertos Clam House is definitely an exception. They have quite the local clientele to support them on a regular basis but are also there to provide the "out of towner" with an incredible New York cuisine experience! They take pride in the food they serve and should not be overlooked! I can't wait to go back and try more of their dishes!

Peachy Picks Umberto's Clam House! 
Umberto's Clam House is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.

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