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Randazzo’s Clam Bar

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When Randazzo's Clam Bar opened in 1932, it was a waterfront fishmonger and bar. In the decades following, it became a Sheepshead Bay icon, thanks in part to its expansion into a full-fledged restaurant serving matriarch Helen Randazzo's Italian-American recipes. It's still a family operation — fourth-generation owner Paul Randazzo weathered Hurricane Sandy from inside the restaurant, escaping via raft when things got too dicey. Bivalves draw the crowds, but it's the kitchen's famed sauce, made with tomatoes stewed for hours, that keeps folks coming back for more. Ladled over steamed, fried, or raw seafood, the sauce's chile heat creeps to a low rumble. Pastas arrive in heaping portions, stained red and hiding a bevy of shrimp or calamari. A special of “marinated, burned chicken” delivers on its promise, though it's more of a welcome char. Saddle up to the bar in search of chowder, and a waiter's likely to demand, “Red or white?” Either's a safe bet, though the Manhattan red hits with a tangy tomato zest like that of the sauce. Savor the namesake mollusk slurped raw, fried, or baked in the shell, chopped and tossed with breadcrumbs and herbs. These days the restaurant's neon lobster sign cycles through a rainbow of colors, lighting up Emmons Avenue like an undersea rave. Take a seat inside. Even if you're not on anything, ecstasy abounds.

2017 Emmons Avenue

718-615-0010

Monday through Thursday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight

Photo by Dominic Perri