It’s the sauce. The red sauce, either medium or spicy, lures crowds to Randazzo’s Clam Bar, a Sheepshead Bay favorite. Top food critics, including The New York Times’ Pete Wells travel just for a taste of the good stuff. Fresh seafood smothered in the sauce.
Don’t be fooled by the neon lobster holding the name “Randazzo’s” pinched between its claws. The bright lights make the restaurant look more like a bright arcade then a quality seafood spot. Ignore the flashing lights
Randazzo’s was completely destroyed during Hurricane Sandy, forcing the owners to completely fix up the entire interior. Everything is new: the floor tiles, mirrored wall, tables, chairs. They worked hard to maintain the integrity of the original, rebuilding and opening to hungry crowds craving red sauce.
There’s kind of a seating process, kind of just seat yourself and hope somebody sees that you don’t have any food in front of you. Each table has a gigantic, blue pitcher of ice cold water, as you refill your plastic cups.
The waitress is awesome. She’s your typical Brooklyn, take-no-shit, older woman. If you don’t know what you want to eat yet, don’t bother her. Oh, we ran out of steamers, I’ll be back when you re-decide your order. It’s old school. And it’s far from rude. It gives the place real character, real Brooklyn attitude.
My sister ordered a cup of Manhattan Clam Chowder. The waitress brought a bowl. Told my sister it’s a dollar more, but don’t worry about it because the cup is too small anyway so this is better. She’s right. She clearly knows best.
Presentation is obviously not a strong spot, but it really doesn’t matter. The Clam Chowder is among the best, overflowing with seafood and potatoes. The broth is flavorful and solidifying the fact that anything “red” in this place is pretty, damn good.
Since they were out of steamers, we turned to the mussels and steamed calamari. The waitress quickly asked spicy or medium. We went medium.
The mussels are served on the half shell, cooked and totally slurpable. Smothered in their famous red sauce, the briny seafood mixes with the aromatic tastes of oregano and sweet tomatoes. The sauce’s bright red coloring comes from a slow cooking process of putting pure love, and lots of oregano, into the tomato mixture. The mussels are fresh, cooked well. Highly addictive since you don’t have to go through the process of opening them up for each one. And common, mussels smothered in insanely awesome red sauce? I’m in heaven.
Steamed calamari is also served with a side of the red sauce, giving lots of the flavor to the typically bland preparation.
Every pieces of the calamari (or calamar, as my Dad and all the staff pronounces it) appears on the plate. I lunge for the ones with the little tentacles dangling, dipping into the pool of red sauce. The sauce clings to the usually slippery protein, coating it in the delicious flavor. The calamari is slightly sweet, perfectly cooked (avoiding the overcooked chewy taste I loathe). Smothered in the sauce, it’s just a delightful (and healthier) alternative to the fried version.
The next time your find yourself in Sheepshead Bay, walking along the water, past the docked party boats blasting music into the night, following the neon signs to Randazzo’s. It’s a taste of the beach in Brooklyn, and don’t forget to get the red sauce. It’s all about the Red Sauce.
Randazzo’s Clam Bar – 2017 Emmons Avenue – Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY
Randazzo’s Clam Bar
Location: Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn NY
Type: Seafood, Italian
Perfect For: Quality Seafood, Take Out, Borough Exploration
Reservations: Not available
Favorite Dishes: Any seafood with RED SAUCE!, Manhattan Clam Chowder