Chef Ken Addington channels coastal Mediterranean in an Art Deco room.
Mission Chinese was a lot of fun, wasn’t it? I was sad to see it close back in 2020. But in its place now comes Casino (a reference to casa, or house, not nickel slots), the first full-fledged restaurant from Aisa Shelley, who is best known for his nightlife hits: Mr. Fong’s, a bar in Chinatown, as well as Primo’s, a cocktail lounge in Tribeca.
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Casino is a quintessential NYC downtown restaurant, designed by Camilla Deterre with Instagram in mind—lots of bold color and modern lines, gussied up with gloss and Art Deco glamour. There’s a walk-in-friendly bar up front with bold red-and-white tile flooring and curvy walls. Past the bar, beyond a chain link curtain, lives a dining room filled with U-shaped cherry red booths, and tables dressed in starched white tablecloths. Past the dining room and down a few steps is another 30-seat cocktail lounge that will be used for private events.
The menu, from chef Ken Addington, who also owns Strangeways in Williamsburg, is an appealing combination of Coastal Italian and Southern French. His approach is to go rustic but elevated, elegant but comfortable.
Start off with a plate of warm Parker-House rolls with tapenade and Stracciatella. Have some raw bar, but also Clams Casino with white wine butter and garlic pancetta crumble, and a platter of crispy frito misti —squid, rock shrimp, anchovies, zucchini, and meyer lemon.
From the wood burning oven, have the Wood-Fired Prawns with garlic and Calabrian chili; or go in with a friend to share a Whole Roasted Turbot or a 52-ounce dry-aged T-Bone Steak with a side of sauteéd spinach, shoestring fries, and wood-fired Brussels Sprouts. Ken is also doing a wintery pappardelle topped with smoked lamb, black garlic sugo and fiori sardo, and a riff on Vongole with clams, melted leeks, sherry, chili and botarga. His crespelle is almost like a lasagna: thin crepes layered with housemade ricotta, spinach, artichokes and a wood-fired tomato sauce.
For dessert, there’s butterscotch budino with kumquat conserve and an amaretti cookie, a lemon tart with lavender and crema, as well as a Paris Brest with hazelnut choux and salted Sicilian pistachio ice cream (!), in collaboration with Morgenstern’s. No better way to end a meal.
Check it out and let me know what you think!
Casino is open for dinner Tuesday - Saturday 5pm - 12am. Casino 171 East Broadway NYC 646-846-0101 casinonyc.info