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160 Havemeyer Street (at S. 2nd), Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 718.782.3474
Critics favorite, Semilla, closed unexpectedly last year. Thankfully, a new restaurant called Casino Clam Bar has quietly opened from the same owners in its place. Casino Clam Bar is an 18-seat restaurant offering a high-end take on a Jersey Shore clam bar. They have stiff competition, with seafood favorites Maison Premiere and Extra Fancy just around the corner but, given their popularity, there’s always room for more. REVIEW COMING SOON
The most unique thing about Casino Clam Bar is the seating arrangement. There’s just one u-shaped bar with about 20 seats, and pretty much every person in the restaurant has a full view of everyone else at any given time. But that’s just part of the fun of this place, and if you enjoy shellfish, it’s worth checking out. Here, you can of course get clams casino – but they also have small menu of things like oysters, ceviche, and uni pasta.
When Williamsburg’s leading American-regional-food guru, Joe Carroll (of Fette Sau and St. Anselm fame), gets hold of a restaurant space he likes — especially one that comes with a relatively forgiving rent — he tends to hang on to it. So, where once stood Carroll’s Baltimore-style cheese-fish-sandwich shop, Lake Trout, and after that his vegetable-forward tasting room, Semilla, which closed in March, now there is Casino Clam Bar, an homage of sorts to the clam shacks and dive bars the Bergen County native and Jersey Shore aficionado has known. Think old-school meets new-school, or maybe Randazzo’s crossed with ZZ’s minus the $20 cocktails. There are raw littlenecks on the half-shell, shrimp cocktails, and chowder by the cup or bowl, but also bottarga crackers, uni pasta, hamachi collars, cod cheeks, white clam Grandma pizza, and Petrossian caviar.