Dish No. 17: Razor Clam With Scallion Pesto in the Shape of a Peacock at Szechuan Chalet, NYC
Today's pick: Razor clam with scallion pesto in the shape of a peacock at Szechuan Chalet (1395 Second Avenue, 212-737-1838).
No, it's not really a Sichuan dish, and it might not really even be Chinese, but the razor-clam offering at this Upper East Sider is spectacular -- a daikon head carved in the shape of a peacock body, with a carved carrot plume and feathers. Deposited behind the body is a shitload of wonderful de-shelled razor clams, and behind that, razor clams in their shells splayed to resemble a peacock's feathers, punctuated with halved baby plum tomatoes to stand in for the "eyes."
The pesto shows an Italian inspiration, only made with scallions instead of basil. Chinese pesto! The dish is the work of an ambitious chef, and it perfectly illustrates how influences swap around in our city to create new cuisines. Ta-da: Chinese-Italian!
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