Every card-carrying crustacean worshiper wishes he was Italian on Christmas Eve, during the Feast of the Seven Fishes — a traditional, seafood-centric meal meant to honor the midnight birth of baby Jesus.
Didn’t manage to wrangle an invitation to your paisan’s house this year? Go fish at Brooklyn’s holiday table, by visiting these fantastic sea-faring restaurants!
Randazzo’s Clam Bar
With a name like Randazzo’s (and over 90 years of shellfish- shucking experience), you can rest assured that the eats at this old-salt clam bar have plenty of cred. Although it’s the soft-shell crab sandwich we crave in the summertime, you’ll knock a number of fish off your holiday list by ordering the combo platter — scungilli, mussels, shrimp and calamari — doused in the famous house hot sauce.
Randazzo’s Clam Bar [2017 Emmons Ave. at East 21st Street in Sheepshead Bay, (718) 615-0010].
Mussels and More
Mussels are a must-have on any respectable Feast table, so how can you go wrong at a place called Mussels and More? Needless to say, skip the more at this Bay Ridge bistro and head straight for the bivalves — we particularly love the Maine- style, with lobster, smoked bacon, and cream.
Mussels and More [8001 Fifth Ave. between 80th and 81st streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 680-3390].
Brooklyn Fish Camp
Everyone hails the lobster roll, but when we want seafood on a bun, we pray that Brooklyn Fish Camp has just gotten in an order of lusciously juicy, full belly Ipswich clams. Perfectly fried and generously portioned, the briny beauties are offset by (not drowned in) an earthy celery root remoulade.
Brooklyn Fish Camp [162 Fifth Ave. between Degraw and Douglass streets in Park Slope, (718) 788-3264].
You’ve got to appreciate the fish-market aspirations of Neil Ganic’s cozy, no-frills bistro — although the location, nestled near the BQE, doesn’t necessarily conjure images of sittin’ on the dock of the bay. Still, the proof is in the porgy (or branzino, or whole roasted red snapper), showing that simplicity is king when the fish is as fresh as this.
Petite Crevette [144 Union St. between Columbia and Hicks streets in the Columbia Street Waterfront District, (718) 855-2632].
Why stick with a single sea creature at this seasonal Red Hook spot, when you can order the shellfish-laden Basque style paella for two, with shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams; the pappardelle with shrimp, scallops and lobster cream; or our favorite San Francisco treat, Cioppino fish stew with shrimp, scallops, mussels, and calamari?
Kevin’s [277A Van Brunt St. at Visitation Place in Red Hook, (718) 596-8335].
Locanda Vini e Olii
No Feast is complete without a course of baccala — dried and salted cod. Salads, spreads and fritters are all traditional holiday takes on this saline fish, but we’re loving the version with chickpeas and leeks at the rustic Tuscan Clinton Hill ristorante, Locanda Vini e Olii.
Locanda Vini e Olii [129 Gates Ave. between Cambridge Place and Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill, (718) 622-9202].
Sel de Mer
We don’t often go for fried, ground fish patties at ocean-loving restaurants, but the fish-cake sliders at Sel de Mer in Williamsburg have us thinking outside of the shell. The two sizeable, flaky hake cakes with slaw on toasted English muffins bear no resemblance — either in looks or flavor — to bloated, greasy, cafeteria-line fish sticks.
Sel de Mer [374 Graham Ave. between Conselyea Street and Skillman Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 387-4181].