The names of Clinton and Delancey Streets were married together to create Clancey, a new restaurant on New York’s Lower East Side. Bennifer, Tomkat, and Brangelina didn’t make it, but we are hoping that Clancey does. A low-key spot with high notes of some re-thought American classics makes this a spot you will want to eat at with some Instagram worthy dishes also worthy of your appetite.
The owners are NYC hospitality vets, Todd Birnbaum and Denis Bogart. This is Denis’s 15th venture (His first was a place called Shampu, in what is now Drexlers) and Todd has been working the NYC restaurant scene since the club heydays of Limelight, having been involved with numerous memorable openings over the years.
This team's newest iteration is an approachable venue bringing together elements of Lower East Side swag and New American food into a menu and ambiance suited to neighborhood. The Clinton Street restaurant corridor has its options, and Clancey fits into the mix by providing pepped up takes on familiar food. What that means is that familiar goes beyond a burger and fries and into the realm of things like “Yesterday Lo Mein” which is a crowd pleaser, as it’s served on a platter flowing from a classic Chinese delivery box on its side (the crispy pork belly is what sets it apart from the garden variety lo mein). If you want the obligatory burger and fries, don’t fret, they have that too (it’s actually called “The Obligatory Burger”).
Crowd pleasing is really what this local is about. The burger itself is above average with treats like fried onions and lemon pecorino. Clancey elevates the average while still being approachable in most of its dishes. It does this with things like the beer cheese for the pretzels actually being made on site with house pilsner and with subtle treats like “secret oil” which seasons the base of the shrimp grits.
The character of the owners is present in the menu in the way of fun. Fun names, fun food, and of course fun drinks. The cocktail menu design is an homage to the cocktail menus of yesteryear, but only in graphic layout. Todd explained to be that cocktail menu is designed the way cocktail menus were back in the days of the classic NY Diner paper placemat menu, where there is a picture of each cocktail in their vessels. While you could order a classic cocktail, it would not be the best choice since there is the opportunity to take advantage of drinks like the refreshing and balanced ‘My Birthday Drink’ and the smack-in-the-face spicy ‘Napalm In The Morning.’
Clancey is a hybrid, not too fancy and not too simple either. If you have a group and are looking for a good place to eat and drink before hitting the town in the ever- crazy Lower East Side, this may be your spot. It has a rock-n-roll type aesthetic coupled with good food that seeks to go beyond the norm while still catering to universal tastes.