If you forget about your bank statement, don’t arrive faint with hunger and leave your cynicism at the door—you’ll love ZZ’s Clam Bar. With just four marble tables and a small counter, this is as intimate as it gets. But you first have to navigate the bouncer at the door who’ll only allow admittance with a reservation. This at least ensures that, when you’re inside this bijou spot, the door doesn’t swing open every minute.
Once in, you’re handed a cocktail list—these are, without doubt, some of the best in town and fully justify the lofty prices. The short seafood menu comes with a couple of choices under headings like “crudo,” “seared” and “ceviche.” Before you do anything else, order the trout roe on toast—it’s a beautiful thing and will linger long in the memory.
This is not the place for everyone. Some won’t see past some of the more pretentious elements and affectations and the prices can be eye-watering—the Chianina beef carpaccio comes in at over $100. However, judicious ordering before you plunge into the cocktails, like having clams instead of caviar, can at least keep your final bill from escalating too wildly. It also helps that the place is run with considerable charm, patience and care.