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photo credit: Emily Schindler

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7.7

Casino

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ItalianMediterranean

Lower East Side

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightSee And Be Seen
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The borders of Dimes Square have always been nebulous. It’s hard to say where the microneighborhood (a corner of Chinatown located at the intersection of New Balance and Phoebe Bridgers) begins and ends—but thanks to places like Casino, you know when you’re there. 

Like Dimes Square, Casino is a vibe. This buzzy Southern European spot has a jazzy soundtrack and a candlelit feel, and it attracts a crowd of aspiring main characters and people looking to have a sceney date night. If you order correctly, you can have an impressive meal—but even while you go to town on your lamb pappardelle, the ambiance will still take precedence.

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A mix of French and Italian, the food leans "1980s dinner party."photo credit: Emily Schindler

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Wear your finest oversized blazer.photo credit: Emily Schindler

Lots of restaurants these days are channeling a 1980s aesthetic, but at Casino, it doesn’t feel cheesy. The tablecloths are white, the floors are bright red, and there’s just the right number of faux-marble columns. (Any more and it would feel too ironic.) When you’re sitting in a U-shaped booth, surrounded by people who’ve adopted the espresso martini as a personality trait, you’ll feel like a plus-one at a party that might get a brief writeup in Vogue.

The food is just as idiosyncratic and retro as the space, and it swings from fantastic to disappointing. Some starters, like the coppa topped with tart pickled celery, are unique and memorable, but others, like the mealy clams casino, taste like they came from an entirely different restaurant. For the best results, get the lemony whole roasted turbot or the filet mignon served on brioche coated in duck liver mousse. Most of the dishes are decadent and impractical, and that feels fitting. Casino isn’t a place you visit once a week.

Make a trip to Casino for a special night out that will remind you why some people consider downtown Manhattan the center of the universe. Order a cosmo, listen to Thelonious Monk, and mingle with some peers who have impeccable taste in eyewear. The scene is as watchable as any reality show that picked up a second season, and the whole turbot isn't bad either.

Food Rundown

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photo credit: Emily Schindler

Spiced Coppa

The plate of spiced coppa is one of the best things here. Pickled celery adds some nice tang, and hazelnuts round things out with their crunchy texture. This dish is simple, but it’s perfect.

Clams Casino

You’d think, given the name, that Casino would try to make this one of their signature dishes. In reality, it’s one of the most skippable things on the menu (along with the brussels sprouts). The garlic pancetta crumble on top just doesn't really taste like much.

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Pasta With Clams

For a non-Italian restaurant, Casino does pasta surprisingly well. This bucatini is simple and buttery, with just a bit of funk from bottarga. It’ll get the job done, but it might not be as al dente as you like.

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photo credit: Emily Schindler

Papardelle

If you're looking for something heartier, go for the papardelle. The smoked lamb sugo is rich and gamy—like the lambiest lamb you’ve ever eaten.

Lobster Cioppino

This dish looks impressive. And, due to the huge quantity of seafood, it feels pretty impressive while you eat it. It’s solid, but the lukewarm tomato broth gets a little dull.

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photo credit: Emily Schindler

Tournedos Rossini

Yes, Casino, channel your inner 1980s dinner party. You don’t see a lot of restaurants serving tournedos Rossini anymore, but Casino does a very good job with it. If you want something filling and over-the-top, order this demi-glace smothered filet mignon served on a piece of brioche covered in duck liver mousse.

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photo credit: Alex Staniloff

Whole Roast Turbot For Two

Turbot is the new branzino, and Casino’s whole turbot is a masterpiece. Roasted in a wood-fired oven, it’s incredibly moist and infused with lemony flavor. It’s also big enough to split between four people, as long as you have some starters and sides.

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FOOD RUNDOWN