Packed with shellfish, tangled stalks of greens, sausages and corn, Ruxbin's clambake has all the requisites of Northeast seaside tradition.
But at the year-old Noble Square BYOB, chef Edward Kim takes the dish ($24) on a detour to China and Japan before touching down on familiar sands.
Manila and middleneck clams are cooked with sake, Chinese sausage and grilled corn, a trio that lends the broth a delicately sweet smokiness. In lieu of the traditional seaweed, tarragon sprigs fill the bowl with tangles of green, and sea beans add a saline pop.
A touch of butter thickens the broth, and then it's off to the table. Pick through the mild, meaty clams, scoop up the sausage and corn, then tip the accompanying grilled bread into the bowl, as broth this good must be sopped.
Since one homage to summertime is best followed by another, finish with the restaurant's new berry shortcake. Buttery sugar- and salt-topped biscuits bookend whipped cream beaten with honey, and macerated blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.
The stuffed shortcake is circled by a drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction, an unexpected slick of tartness that inspired us to attack the familiar dessert with renewed vigor.
Ruxbin, 851 N. Ashland Ave.; 312-624-8509 or ruxbinchicago.com
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