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Best Fried Clams/Calamari in Brooklyn?

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Hi folks,

Wondering if you have any favorites for either fried clams/calamari in Brooklyn? I've had a myriad of calamari from Thai, Peruvian and American joints, but none that really stand out in my mind.

I haven't had good fried clams in Brooklyn in forever. Last I had them were at the old Bar Minnow - and we all know where that place went.

Any favs out there?

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  1. For calamari in Brooklyn, go to Randazzo's on Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay and get the hot sauce. It's one of the last of the old time resturants still there. The other stuff is hit or miss, but the calamari, and the hot sauce--covering a piece of crusty bread is pure heaven.

    The sauce is so good, my friends and I used to go there "bread and gravy" a couple of pieces of hard bread smothered in the sauce....I'm gaining 5 lbs just thinking about it.

    -----
    Randazzo's Clam Bar
    2023 Emmons Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235

    2 Replies
    1. re: MrsT

      I live 2 blocks away from Randazzo's, I've lived here my entire life and I can honestly say that Randazzo's is entirely overrated. While once upon a time it may have been excellent, that was not in my 30 years of living. While they have a phenominal sauce, the calamari itself is chewy and pretty tough to swallow, not to mention the $12 for a container that has most of its room taken up with bread. Their former neighbor Captain Walters, had phenominal calamari but unfortunately they are no longer in business.

      1. re: Laurac1210

        I agree Laurac1210. I went this weekend, and found it entirely overrated - underseasoned and small for 10.95. Anywhere else you can recommend in the area? It's so frustrating that I'm pretty resigned to just getting out the fryer and making it myself.

    2. I enjoy Frost Rest in Willamsburg for Fried Calamari with hot sauce.

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      Frost
      193 Frost St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

      1 Reply
      1. re: FAL

        Ditto on Frost.

      2. If you're in the 64th Street area, go to Fort Hamilton Parkway for ROCCO's CALAMARI and try the eponymous...then set your sights and tastebuds on 14th Avenue and ROYAL CROWN MAGNIFICO, which, IMHO, takes fried calamari to the high water mark...and, of course, it's served with a generous hunk of their phenomenal bread.

        -----
        Rocco's Calamari
        6408 Fort Hamilton Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11219

        8 Replies
        1. re: Mike R.

          I second Mike R's recc. Rocco's has so much fun food!
          And Royal Crown's bread makes for the best sandwiches....
          Either, or both are great choices. Sweet sauce for me, please!

          1. re: Tay

            Come to think of it, serious CH'ers could make a whole day's journey along the 65th Street corridor, go no more than three or four blocks in either direction and get their hands and teeth into Rocco's (Ft. Hamilton), Royal Crown (14th Ave.-both locations), World Tong/Dim Sum(18th Ave.), Spartan/Greek (8th Ave.), Three Guys from Brooklyn/Produce (Ft. Hamilton), Sun Ming Gee (6th Ave.), Park Asia (8th), Pasta Fresca/Italian incl. fresh mozzarella & Faicco's Pork Store (11th Ave.), Ortobello's/family-style (Bay Parkway)...with a quick detour to Coluccio's grocery on 60th near 12th Ave.

            (Feel free to insert your own 65th Street faves here!)

            Bring money, shopping bags and a note pad.

            1. re: Mike R.

              Mike, You really put together a top shelf list. The best part may well be that it doesn't require getting anywhere near Park Slope. I think it would have to be spread out over a couple of weekends. Sort of ann ambulatory road trip and a great way to walk off all those calories.
              I didn't know Royal Crown had 2 locations in Brooklyn.
              We have one out here on Hylan Blvd. Outstanding sandwiches.
              Thanks for the "food route"...

              1. re: Mike R.

                Oh man, count me IN.

                1. re: Mike R.

                  Mike R. Don't know if you're still reading chowhound, but you rule! for appreciating the diversity of my neighborhood. I don't suppose you remember Top Tomato on 65th & 13?

                  I'd like to add two Chinese supermarkets: Great Wall Supermarket on 67th and Fort Hamilton or Fei Long Market on 63rd and 8th.

                  -----
                  Great Wall Supermarket
                  6722 Fort Hamilton Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11219

                  Fei Long Market
                  6301 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

                  1. re: funniduck

                    Still reading? Youbetcha.

                    I recall Top Tomato's all over town...spent a lot of time in high school hanging around 18th Avenue and Bay Parkway. Da Vinci Pizza, right?

                    -----
                    Da Vinci Pizzeria
                    6514 18th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11204

                    1. re: Mike R.

                      But Michael, how could you not feed your fans by updating your list with East Harbor Seafood Palace (Chinese) at 65th and Seventh Ave.!

                      -----
                      East Harbor
                      714 65th St, Brooklyn, NY 11220

              2. re: Mike R.

                I went online and saw no calamari on Royal Crown's menu so I called last night (Thursday) and they told me that fried calamari was only on Fridays. Went for lunch today and no fried calamari--They told me then that it's only for dinner (after 5PM) on Fridays. So that's the deal. Nevertheless had a fantastic lunch. A Prosciutto w/ Fresh Mozzarella sandwich and pasta w. sausage and broccoli rabe. Fantastic breads as mentioned

              3. i'm also a big fan of calamari too, and i think u might wanna to try this new restaurant in bay ridge, it's called mythai cafe, at 7803 3rd ave between 78th & 79th st. i always order calamari in every restaurant i go to, because i love calamari more than my gf, lol (just kidding, j.). anyway it was battered with a bit seasoning, slightly battered though, very crispy but not hard, not greasy at all, they have some kind of clear sauce comes with it too, which is slightly spicy but it really goes well with the calamari as well. & it only costs like 5 bucks, great potion too.

                1. Also, I swear (although I haven't been in a while), Casa Calamari serves an incredibly tender version. They have 2 locations, but the one on 3rd and 86th right on the corner I believe is better. Excellent checkered tablecloth style pasta as well.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: rootytootyfreshnfrooty

                    is casa calamari still open?

                    1. re: rootytootyfreshnfrooty

                      Casa Calarmari rocks(ed). Have not been in some time.

                      The sandwich place on 4th Ave and 9th Street makes a calamari hero that is amazing. (They probably will sell you a to go tin as well.)

                    2. Thanks for all the calamari suggestions! Funny how there hasn't been one fried clam recommendation though. Probably because you'd have to go to a "seafood restaurant" specifically for them, and not too many good ones in BK?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Rocknrope

                        I seriously doubt you'll find a Howard Johnson's with the orange roof around, but there's always RANDAZZO's by the water in Sheepshead Bay.

                        1. re: Rocknrope

                          havent finished the thread yet, rope, but yes, 'real' fried clams are near impossible in this town, if, as i assume, you mean whole belly, ipswich style, not hojo's or similar 'strips.' i've heard mary's fish camp, bklyn fish camp and pearl oyster bar sometimes have them, ditto black pearl. but otherwise, the only place anywhere near NYC you'll find the real thing is bigalow's in rockville center on the sunrise highway. they're just like "home" (new england) and awesome. for backup, there's legal sea foods in NJ and Long island, which is quite good for 'chain' and has the 'real thing' also. good luck!

                        2. It's been a few months since I've been there, but I seem to recall that Brooklyn Fish Camp, on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, has good fried belly clams.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: emarcus

                            Do they really have belly clams and not strips? Those are quite rare in the NYC area. Bigelow's out in Nassau County on Sunrise Hwy. is the only place I know to get them regularly around here.

                            1. re: Woodside Al

                              I grew up in Rockville Centre and it is true that Bigelows is great--and a time warp as well! If you are driving out to Jones Beach or Fire Island, it is a great stop to make if you want a break from traffic. Also nearby on Sunrise Highway is PARROTS OF THE WORLD. Nothing to eat there, but the coolest pet store in the land--the owner is that nutty guy who has a pet show on TV and is often on Martha Stewart.

                          2. For me, Casa Calamati has been hit or miss. Sometimes really good, other times, greasy and tough. I'm not sure the tough can be helped all of the time, but there is no excuse for the greasy part. Take a little trip over the Bridge( The "other" Bridge) and try the calamari at Torrone's at 3333 Hylan Blvd. It's a wonderful, albeit, not inexpensive fine dining eatery. Their calamari is always tender, and crispy and is accompanied by very a good quality hot or sweet sauce. Pretty much everything else on their menu is outstanding as well.

                            1. Randazzo's on Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay is by far the best seafood in Brooklyn!! It's amazing. The fried calamari is cooked to perfection and the sauce is the best I've ever had. The mussels in red sauce are great too! I especially like the old-time Brooklyn feel. And when the guy sings random tunes on the microphone. You've got to go for the food and the experience.

                              1. A little off-beat, but Lai Yung, an Italian-owned haute Chinese place on 4th Avenue in Bay Ridge, has a grilled calamari and cashews appetizer that knocks my socks off. For the best traditional calamari though, I leave Brooklyn and go to Tosca's on E. Tremont Avenue in the Bronx.

                                1. I am sorry to say, that after having really tried to like Frost, they blew it. Oh how I swoon over the lardo fritters that are served up along side the calamari. The calamari itself, however, was an entirely different story. Bland. That is it was not at all seasoned with salt, pepper, or anything at all. Overcooked. Rubbery, stringy, nasty. None of these qualify in my book as being done well. I myself do not fall into the 'hipster-dufus' category, and would not dream of showing up at either Cono or Frost in Iggy Pop dress. So, it is curious that we, my wife and I were treated so rudely and with such blatent scorn (even after ordering a $50 bottle of wine) at Frost, that we, even on a second trip which was urged by fellow 'hood hounds, will never return. The calamari the second time 'round was the same as the first trip. Truly aweful. Cono is one step above, but they are also not getting the picture...I have to ask them to not overcook it everytime I order it.

                                  The best in the 'hood (billyburg) is from a Grand St. spot known as Baci Arbiaci (sp). Light. Crisp. Perfectly cooked. Fat rings and tentacles abound in a ultra thin, and light batter. It is said that calamari should be cooked for 45-60 seconds, or for over an hour. It goes through a phase in between where it is untterly unpleasant to eat. Baci has got the message. Served with a light pesto dip, and a few lemon wedges (I had to ask for at Frost, and never got). AND it was seasoned nicely not needing a doucing of salt upon arrival.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: noodles

                                    I also agree with you on baci and abbracci, they do have the best calmari, that I've experienced.

                                  2. I'm going to use this thread to also track my calamari/clam experiences and report in.

                                    I had the fried calamari at Rhythm and Booze in Windsor Terrace. Although the burger I had was just outstanding, the fried calamari was mediocre. On the good side, it was crisp, not soggy, and a nice portion size; the breading was also not overwhelming. On the downside, the batter was abit bland, not seasoned well, and the red sauce served with it was also bland. Nothing special about it, so I probably would not order it again unless I have a severe calamari hankerin'.

                                    1. I have to echo the Randazzo's reccomendation. Their hot sauce is great, the best in the city. And teh calamari is always fresh and tender.

                                      1. Try the Pearl Room in Bay Ridge or L&B Spumoni Gardens

                                        1. The Calamari at RANDAZZOS is excellent, and their sauce is the best ever. The other fried dishes like fried Shrimp are excellent, but I wouldn't recommend the fried Clams.

                                          1. There is a Vietnamese place on 5th Ave in Park Slope called Me Kong. As far as real Vietnamese goes it's not that authentic or that great. But they do make a dish they call Calamares Au Beurre that is worth a try. Lightly battered, just the right amount of black pepper and perfectly fried with a tasty lime dipping sauce. I'm guessing it's something borrowed from the French Indochina period.
                                            I would never have fried calamari for delivery – you're just asking for a soggy, cold mess by the time it arrives–but these are so good that I get them delivered all the time and they're still delicious when they get to me.

                                            1. Absolutely great fried clams at Lundy's--about 30 years ago.

                                              1. Joe's of Avenue U has really nice fried calamari. Not sure if they have fried clams, but kind of doubt it. They do have stuffed clams and great white clam sauce pasta.

                                                1. I just had the fried cuttlefish at Alchemy and it was really good. Light, seasoned batter that was crispy and the cuttlefish was fork tender but still had a snap. It's served with lemon wedge and chipotle aioi.

                                                  1. So as my reward dinner for running the Brooklyn Half Marathon, I made the drive to Randazzo's last night. I had the clam chowder, fried calamari, fried clams, and the broiled sole (yep, there go all those calories I burned running 13.1 miles.) I had very high expectations given people's comments here.

                                                    I was actually underwhelmed. The sauce for the calamari was good, but I found the calamari to be underseasoned, and for 10.95, abit smaller on the portion size. It was crisp and had a nice selection of tentacles (which I love) but it was just ok, not stellar. I remember having better fried calamari at Carmine's in the city. And so, my quest for great Brooklyn fried calamari continues...

                                                    The fried clams aren't even worth mentioning. Even for clam strips, they were not good. Basically tasted like hush puppies, with no clam flavor. To the restaurant's credit, the waitress warned me as I ordered "Just so you know, these are clam strips, not bellies."

                                                    The clam chowder was good, nice and briny and not too thick. The broiled sole was ok, nothing special, but I figured I should have at least one item that wasn't fried or creamy.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Rocknrope

                                                      sounds good...
                                                      my favorite is Rocco's on Ft. Hamilton & 65th. Best seafood in Bklyn IMHO.
                                                      On Friday we tried the crab cakes for the first time....fresh succulent sweet and delicious.
                                                      My favorites there are linguini with clam and the seafood salad. The fried calamari is lightly breaded, crisp and tender....

                                                      -----
                                                      Rocco's Calamari
                                                      6408 Fort Hamilton Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11219

                                                    2. DuMont in Williamsburg - they have fried calamari on the menu sometimes as a special - it's fried with lemon slices and sage leaves...this is on my "Last Meals Before Going To Prison" list.

                                                      -----
                                                      DuMont
                                                      432 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                                                      1. L&B Spumoni Gardens has excellent calamari.

                                                        -----
                                                        L&B Spumoni Gardens
                                                        2725 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11223

                                                        1. In my experience, Noodle Pudding in Brooklyn Heights has the best fried calamari by a far stretch -- light, crispy, fresh, and juicy.

                                                          -----
                                                          Noodle Pudding
                                                          38 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                                                          1. Roccos if you are in Bklyn. 25 years ago I might have said Randazzos. I was raised on Randazzos and Lundys. But I went back to try Randazzos and there it was the childhood agada I so fondly remember. So if you are going to try Randazzos bring the Brioski...

                                                            Ciao-

                                                            1. I'm going to dissent and flat out say that Randazzo's is awful. Everything there, except for the sauce (sometimes) and their half-shell clams, is pretty much bland. In Brooklyn when we had a slew of seafood places on Emmons Avenue, way back when, the fried clams were whole fried cherrystones or little necks. Not too many ipswiches in NYC from what I recall. However, after looking at Vincent's Clam Br menu, I see they offer fried Ispwiches. I've never had them and I don't know if it's for the Howard beach location or the Little Italy.

                                                              -----
                                                              Randazzo's Clam Bar
                                                              2023 Emmons Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235