7.3
NYC

Casino Clam Bar

Perfect For: Casual Weeknight Dinner Date Night
PHOTOS: Noah Devereaux

The first thing you notice about Casino Clam Bar is the unusual setup. It’s just one small room with a U-shaped bar (and no tables), and it immediately stands out as a unique sort of place. Even the menus are mounted on little boards that clip onto the back of the bar - and the food is, likewise, pretty interesting.

The menu here is about 99% seafood, and it consists of things like ceviche, fritto misto, cod cheeks, and a bunch of other small plates like smoked trout over shaved brussels sprouts. There’s also an uni pasta and a few other mains - and, like that uni pasta, everything here is just a little bit fancy. You’ll get some powdered kale on your ceviche, for example, and there are anchovies and sliced lemons mixed into the fritto misto.

Noah Devereaux

And the food is, for the most part, pretty good - although there isn’t really anything that feels truly amazing, and most dishes cost a little more than they should. And it also doesn’t help that everything comes on an aluminum plate. Sure, the plates look cool - but when you’re spending a significant amount of money on a dinner, you don’t really want to eat off some dishware that feels like it was part of a camping set purchased at Anthropologie.

Factor in the smaller portion sizes and the lack of non-seafood options, and this just isn’t the right place to have a full meal. Although if all you want is wine and a snack, stop by. Get the fritto misto and glass of sparkling. Just know that, despite the interesting setup, the food here isn’t quite special enough to make this place a dinner destination. Also, the plates should be donated to a glamping non-profit.

Food Rundown

White Clam Chowder

A perfectly good clam chowder. You could find a similar version elsewhere for half the price, but you won’t be upset with it.

Clams Casino

Seeing as how this place was named after this dish, these are actually a little disappointing. They aren’t bad, but we expected excellence.

Uni Pasta

This tastes exactly like butter, noodles, and uni. In other words, you’ll like it.

Smoked Trout

Smoked trout with buttermilk dressing, shaved brussels sprouts, and roe. This is a great dish, but it feels a little small for something that costs $19.

Fritto Misto

This is extremely flavorful and one of the best things here, but you shouldn’t order it on a date. If you aren’t on a date, however, please enjoy the anchovies and capers and various fried seafood things that will make your mouth smell like a fish market.

Ceviche

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this ceviche, except for maybe the kale powder on top (which you can’t actually taste, although you still know it’s there).

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