Claudio’s Restaurant in Greenport has been serving the community since 1870 when Manuel Claudio decided to open a restaurant for the men who worked on the docks. Now, over 140 years later, Claudio’s Restaurant is a much-loved landmark in Greenport.
After my husband and I were seated we met Janice Claudio, and she regaled us with stories of her predecessors, tales of Prohibition, and her family’s goal of providing the freshest ingredients to their patrons, cooked in Claudio’s signature, comfortable style.
We began our culinary tour with a variety of soups: Claudio’s staples, New England and Manhattan Clam chowders, Lobster Bisque and the night’s special, Tomato and Spinach. I usually lean towards the creamy New England clam chowder, and Claudio’s was exactly what I wanted—silky smooth broth with a briny tang, peppered with chunks of tender clam. The hubby prefers the tomato-based Manhattan clam chowder, full of veggies and succulent clams with a pleasingly spicy afterglow. The Lobster Bisque was simply divine. The flavors of the sea mixed with a sweet, musky taste from some sherry. It was rich and decadent, evaporating in your mouth and enveloping my taste buds in heady lobster flavor. I can imagine the chefs making their own seafood stock out of all the fresh shells and produce on hand, the base of all these delicious seafood soups. The surprise hitter in this round was the Tomato and Spinach soup, which was hearty and robust with sweet tomato flavor and a hint of tangy Parmesan cheese.
We then tried one of the most popular appetizers on the menu, Claudio’s baked clams. They came out piping hot and full of clams—creamy on the inside with a satisfying crunch from the breadcrumb topping. I could taste the hint of smokiness from the bacon and the sweetness from red peppers. I can see why it’s so popular with the regulars!
Next we were treated to steamed Maine mussels in a lobster and celery broth. The mussels from Maine are a new item for Claudio’s, and I can see why they’ve switched from the Prince Edward Island (PEI) mussels. The Maine mussels were so juicy and tender, and mixed with the decadent broth it was heavenly. We also tried the clam steamers, cooked classically in white wine and garlic. They were salty like the ocean with hints of garlic flavor playing with my taste buds in the background.
In keeping with tradition, for our entrées we had steak and lobster, Claudio’s style. The steak was coated with their signature house rub and cooked to perfection. It was moist, juicy and the rub was slightly spicy and smoky, with some sweet undertones coming through. The side of asparagus was beautiful to look at and tasted amazing, with a balsamic and tamarind glaze and tons of bleu cheese. The flavors together were like fireworks in my mouth—the sharp glaze with the mellow tang of the bleu cheese didn’t overpower the asparagus as one might think, but instead it enhanced its woodsy flavor.
The lobster was a showstopper. We enjoyed a 1-½ pound fresh Canadian lobster, stuffed with Claudio’s seafood stuffing. The stuffing was packed with chunks of lobster, shrimp and scallops. It was out-of-this-world good. You can taste the freshness of the never-frozen Canadian lobster, which has sweeter flesh because of the colder waters it’s harvested from. I enjoyed every mouthwatering bite. Paired with corn that’s been coated with Parmesan cheese and garlic, I was in foodie paradise.
As if all that food wasn’t enough, we had to save some room for dessert or the experience would not be complete. We had a berry pie and a warm chocolate brownie, both from a local bakery, and we stuffed in as much of the sweet stuff as we could. From start to finish, Claudio’s did not disappoint.
The Claudio’s family and their talented chefs are all about good, fresh, wholesome food, and their passion for life and for food is evident. As Janice said, it’s a way of life for them, and that passion is prominent in every carefully crafted dish.
Claudio’s Waterfront Restaurants, 111 Main Street, Greenport, 631-477-0627, claudios.com