I have a tendency to pick my favorite restaurants by the amount of stuff served as well as the quality of stuff served. I do not mean big portions, although that helps. I mean stuff. For instance, I prefer Steve's Shish Kebab House for Middle-Eastern Food as much for the hand-chopped kefta and fresh made falafal as I do for the relish tray with Arabian giardianara, blop of vegetables over rice, and other things that come with the dinners. For Cantonese, Happy Chef makes the best head-on salt and pepper shrimps, but that is not why it is my favorite. It is my favorite for the always tasty left-over dim sum soup served before each dinner (no really conch slices and chicken feet make good soup) and the really not that tasty sweet and gritty bean soup served for dessert. I favor the places with the extras, but sometimes I favor a place without a bunch of extras. Just one thing special. Not even a dish. Just a sauce.
That was Silver Seafood at lunch today. We ordered steam clams. With this came the most wondrous of sauces. Any idiot could make this sauce: soy, sesame oil, jalepenos, ginger, scallion, a touch of black vinegar, but only an expert could make it as good as Silver Seafood did. Spicy, salty and oily, it stood as the perfect foil to the sea-ness of the clams. Only a few stray bits of shell and a touch of grit possibly halted the pleasure. When I finished the clams, I drank some sauce plain.
The rest was all done well too. We had "hollow vegetable" in garlic, not a light version. The vegetable sat in a pool of liquid similar in color and heft to pot likker from Southern greens. Softshell crabs in spicy-salt benefited from a huge amount of jalepenos and some very crabby soft-shells. The irony of lunch today is that I passed on the always delicious Thai Avenue for Silver Seafood because I had a bit of a gyppy tummy, and we ended up eating some spicy stuff--not Thai Avenue spicy--but spicy at Silver Seafood.
I am not an expert of the gradations of quality at Silver Seafood, but both times I have went, today included, it was about as good as I want (absent the dim sum soup).
4829 N. Broadway