Posted By Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
7/15/2008 11:48:00 PM
For a summer patio picnic, Greasy Nick's is just the ticket. A fiercely downscale New Rochelle spot, across the street from a gas station, there's nothing refined about the food or setting. This urban shoreline treat is vaguely reminiscent of a New England clam shack, but with a city grit that is far removed from anything you'll find along the coast of Maine. The usual procedure upon arriving is to enter through the screen door to select your beverage of choice from the cooler. In that cooler you'll find canned beer the likes of which you may not have encountered lately. Grab a couple cans of Piels and head outside to find yourself a table (there ARE tables inside, but we've never seen anyone using them). Someone will be by shortly to take your order.
This is a clam bar, and on occasion we've had the steamers, but we've been burned by that choice too often for us to recommend them. The plates of raw clams we've seen many customers devouring look lovely, but we've yet to try them. There are hot dogs and chicken too, and occasionally you'll even see soft shell crab on the menu. What else is there to eat? Burgers. The cheeseburger with fried onions is our choice every time. There is nothing about the burger itself (a frozen patty) that will open any eyes, but the well-cooked onions and burger juices soak into the crusty hard roll and, combined with the melting American cheese, make a fine summer lunch. On the side, we get corn. These are frozen corn cuts, even in summer corn season, served in a basket sitting in a deep pool of melted margarine (presumably). Somehow, with the onion cheeseburgers and the cheap beer, sitting under the summer sun, it all works.
Open summer only, it has long been a tradition for the local college students to trek en masse to Greasy Nick's on opening day. And what about the name? When you look for it, be aware that the official name is Leno's Clam Bar. That's what the sign says. Yet nobody, but nobody, we know has ever called it anything but Greasy Nick's. So Greasy Nick's it is.