Prune Provides an East Village Kind of Clambake

The perfect clambake minus the sun, the sand, the ocean Photo: Melissa Hom

You cant get much of a clambake going at Brighton Beach, which is about as close as we at Grub Street get to the ocean these days. But we still pine for the crude pleasures of a summer ritual that has almost no presence in the daily life of New York. Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune felt more or less the same way, and so came up with tonights special, a dish of steamed Manila clams, merguez sausage, and corn (for $23) meant to summon the experience, if not the setting. I think its like a clambake, she says, just not in a pit of sand in the ground. But it has all the other elements, plus ones you wouldnt normally find, like smoked paprika, cilantro, piquillo peppers. But why Manila clams? That doesnt seem especially traditional. It isnt, Hamilton says. But we love their saltiness, and they are the perfect size to open at just the right time it takes for the merguez to cook.