The Gowanus canal area is becoming quite the spot in south Brooklyn. The other weekend Matt and I decided to check out Littleneck based on the fact that they tout bellies, old time tunes and a clam shack setting.
We ended up trying a lot of things, some clams and oysters and maine whelks from the raw menu came out first. I seem to have bad luck (or bad technique?) when it comes to eating oysters and this time was no exception because I got some shards of shell. The actual oysters and the clams, however, were delicious, fresh and briney. This was my first time trying Maine Whelks, a kind of snail. I've only had snails prepared in the french style, cooked with butter, garlic and parley. These Whelks were, whelp, not my thing. The melted butter that was meant to be served with them quickly solidified in the ice. They were cold, tough and chewy. I think this is more about my lack of snail love than fault the raw bar, though. Lesson learned: not a whelk gal.
Then we had the special, salt baked shrimp, which were amazing. The shrimp were perfectly cooked and the sharpness of the salt was a great complement. Then came star of the show, the clam belly roll! A soft piece of bread, golden with butter cradled a pile of fried clam bellies, crowed with a generous draping of sauce. The rich flavor of the hot clam bellies, the crunch of the breading and the creaminess of the sauce were amazing. A good clam neck can be sought out in this town but this was the first belly experience I've had in New York that transported me back to summers in New England, walking the boardwalk at Hampton Beach with taffy sticky fingers and salty hair.
The decor of Littleneck was Brooklyn nautical, the expected edison bulbs hanging around but also some buoys (everyone likes a buoy!), some ship paintings, rope, all that fun seaside stuff. I made an exciting discovery of an Amish Stove in the bathroom.
We also had a mysterious item catch our eye, sitting at the bar: what looked like a heavy green drinking glass with a wine cork lodged inside, maybe some type of wine opener? Love a good conversation
starting antique at a bar!
All in all, I would go back, sit at the bar and have a belly sandwich and a beer, a simple pleasure that this spot does well.