There’s no home in the Hamptons for poor, old Gothamist. No bungalow on Fire Island, not even a shack on the Jersey Shore. No, Gothamist prefers (and by “prefers” we mean “has no other option than”) to summer in Coney, in Brighton or Rockaway or waiting on line at Shake Shack. And though we spend the balance of most summers huddled around our puttering air conditioner, we’re feeling a touch nostalgic for those balmy seaside days. That’s why earlier we went to Coney and why we’re now going to Randazzo’s Clam Bar in Sheepshead Bay.

Much of the area’s charm has dissolved into shoe outlets and strip malls, but Gothamist friend Forgotten New York has the scoop on the few vestiges of the Sheepshead Bay that was. Of the many clam houses that once lined Emmons Avenue along the pier, Randazzo’s is one of the last, heralding its tenacity with a blinking neon lobster that shines through the night. If Lundy’s is a gentleman’s joint, Randazzo’s is for the proles, the sort of place with plastic cups and cheap flatware, faded celebrity photos lining the walls and a long counter that wraps the front of the restaurant.

During the summer, it’s packed to the gills (pun!) with the swollen red faces of beachgoers leaking in from nearby Coney Island and Brighton Beach. But on a recent snowy February night Gothamist was one of few tables.

2007_02_kingcrab.jpgIn addition to questing after sunnier times, we were there to indulge in a big, expensive plate of King Crab, the Alaskan beasties that are currently making the seasonal rounds. Randazzo’s crabs aren’t shipped live—they’re frozen and a grumpy diner can tell. But improvements in the shipping process and a growing knowledge of the way the crabs need to be handled means that the tight, stringy meat of years past is a fading reality. Blanketed by a tangy sauté of garlic, wine and parsley, Randazzo’s King Crab was delicately textured and not at all chewy with an almost sweet flavor that paired perfectly with the garlic.

If you object to wearing a plastic bib, the restaurant’s fried clams are among the best. They come in a thick jacket of batter with a pot of Randazzo’s famous tomato sauce, a smoky, spicy blend with just enough heat to keep us warm ‘til June.

Randazzo’s Clam Bar
2017 Emmons Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11235

Photos by Daniel Krieger