The Clam Bar at Bridge Marina
40 Ludlam Ave Bayville, NY 516-628-8688
I brake for clam bars -- especially ones I'd never noticed before. And unless you're a resident of Bayville or a boater, chances are you're unaware of The Clam Bar at Bridge Marina, its presence barely alluded to on the marina's sign.
But, as I found, the place is worth seeking out, if you're looking for al fresco dining under a canopy cooled by offshore breezes and overhead fans. Many of the people eating at the restaurant also dock at the marina, said owner Richard Valicenti. The ultracasual place (with table service) also gets some foot and car traffic from local residents.
I'm now a fan of chef Robert Fleming's lobster roll ($16.95), the salad made with lots of shellfish, some mayo and a little celery and chopped onion heaped onto a hot dog bun. I also like the fresh sweet ear of corn that shares the plate. My lunch date's burger ($4.95) is hefty and smoky. But next time, I'd steer clear of the humdrum Caesar salad ($8.95) with its commercial-tasting dressing.
Currently, the place is running a lobster special for lunch and dinner on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: one 1¼ pound lobster plus either corn or fries for an astounding $11.95.
The place opens every year the week before Memorial Day and closes mid-September. Weather, of course, is a factor. "We don't close unless it's necessary," said Valicenti, who stays open when it's drizzling but not during major storms.