As a countdown to the Best of the Twin Cities 2014, coming April 16, the Hot Dish is serving up 100 of our favorite local dishes.
This fall, downtown's show pony UNION, with its underground bar and retractable rooftop, made a major change to its main floor dining room. The Kaskaid Hospitality-owned restaurant brought on a new chef and adopted a whole new concept, this time centered around sustainable seafood.
The starfish aligned and the freshen-up worked, especially the addition of a comprehensive raw bar with a spread of simply prepared classics like shrimp cocktail, east and west coast oysters on the half shell, and this strange and delicate crudo of razor clams with whipped buttermilk and finely chopped peaches.
Yes, crudo of some variety -- hamachi, tuna, snapper -- seems to be on the menu of every hot list restaurant in town, but the combination of flavors and ingredients in this particular composed crudo is really fresh and unexpected. It's rare to see these long, skinny saltwater clams as the star of a dish. But pairing them with the dessert-inspired, tangy flavors of the buttermilk and peaches gives the natural brine some Southern charm, while still allowing the subtle sweetness of the clams come through.
Since UNION changes the preparation of their featured crudo with the seasons, or as the sustainable seafood supply dictates, they're currently serving a scallop version with passionfruit, cashews, and tarragon. But razor clams return with the warm weather so look for them on the menu soon.