Chow Good Clams, Bad Gumbo
posted by June 4 at 8:40 AMon
Sometimes a restaurant surprises you—in a good way. Take this plate of steamed clams at the Red Door in Fremont. I’ve had plenty of burgers at the Red Door… and a few dozen beers… but I never ordered anything off the menu at the Red Door ‘cept their burgers. I love steamers—a big bowl of clams, steamed in butter and wine—but there’s nothing worse than a bad bowl of steamed clams (well, maybe leukemia), and since Red Door didn’t seem like a good bet for clams, I stuck with the burgers.
But a coupled of Friday’s ago I was at the Red Door and I wasn’t in the mood for a burger so I decided to take a chance on the steamers. And, goddamnit, they were the best damned steamed clams I’d ever had. Here’s hoping it wasn’t a fluke because I’m going back for more.
Sometimes, though, a place surprises you in a bad way. I’m a big fan of the Virginia Inn on 1st Avenue. The place was non-smoking before non-smoking was cool (sorry, I mean “legally mandated”), and it’s a great place to have a beer and some good, cheap, fast bar chow. I’m a fan of the quiche—yeah, yeah—but I particularly love the gumbo at the Virginia Inn. Over the last decade I’ve probably eaten enough gumbo at the Virginia Inn to fill a couple of fifty gallon drums.
The Virginia Inn’s menu promises a bowl “chock-full of sausage and chicken,” and it lists the gumbo, which is just $9, as an entree. So, like, it’s supposed to be dinner, you know? And it’s usually pretty filling—dump some Tabasco sauce in, scoop it on to the delicious bread they serve with it, and you’re set. But, man, last Friday I stopped by the Virginia Inn and my not-quite-full bowl of gumbo came with just two lonely, paper-thin slices of sausage and not one recognizable bit of chicken. By the time I rode my bike home I was starving again. But here’s this weekend’s gumbo was a fluke, because I’ll be back for more.
Anyway… I just wanted to share. Because when you’ve had a surprising experience in a restaurant—good surprise or bad—you wanna let people know, you know?