Uncle Vinnie’s Offers Delicious, Familial Fare

At this local joint in Raritan, everyone knows one another.

I wish I had an Uncle Vinnie to visit as often as possible so that I could dive into his bowl of pasta with clam sauce, his pristine grouper in a white-wine butter sauce and his shrimp marinara. The “ladies that lunch” dined at Uncle Vinnie’s Clam Bar in Raritan recently, and felt that this restaurant was a hidden gem and fun because of the casual atmosphere, notable fish preparations, large portions and low prices.

Don’t expect fancy surroundings, gourmet food, an interesting wine list (Canyon Road is the house wine), tablecloths or cloth napkins. Uncle Vinnie’s is a local joint, where everyone knows one another. We were told that people are willing to stand in line an hour or more—no reservations here—so they can chat with their neighbors and friends and catch up on the latest news.

Menu items are: clams (oreganato, casino, steamed); seafood, scungilli or calamari salad; grilled seafood served with pasta or choice of sides and Italian-style fish dishes such as zuppa di pesce, mussels marinara and penne vodka with shrimp. We had pasta with clam sauce, pasta with shrimp in a red sauce and grouper with broccoli rabe. All were abundant portions and delicious.

When dining out, the ladies that lunch do not care about their daily caloric intake. We opted for a sweet ricotta-filled, house-made cannoli for dessert.

Heads up: Uncle Vinnie’s Clam Bar is open Monday through Thursday and Saturday from 4 PM to midnight. Lunch is only served on Fridays from noon, but you can go two doors down to Uncle Vinnie’s Market, which is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 AM to 9 PM and has the same menu, a few tables, take-out and is BYO.

Where should the ladies that lunch go next? Send suggestions to [email protected].

Uncle Vinnie’s Clam Bar
5 E Somerset Street

Pasta and clam sauce
Photo courtesy of Rosalie Saferstein

Please send press releases and restaurant news, including information on staff changes, wine tastings, and cooking classes, to [email protected].

Click here to leave a comment
Read more Eat & Drink, Table Hopping articles.

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.

Required not shown
Required not shown