6 at 77th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
62nd St. to 82nd St., York Ave. to Madison Ave.
Proprietor Nino Selimaj established this cornerstone of his five-restaurant Manhattan mini-empire on one overarching concept: Cosseting service for those who can pay. Natty Nino himself, sharp as a filet knife, is often seen hustling along an endless army of waist-coated servers, who flutter and fuss and seem to pop out from under tables and behind walls to fill glasses, sprinkle cheese, and bone fish. The smooth servers and the trompe l'oeil walls, tapestries, bouquets, and bright brocade make Nino's a favorite default for well-heeled neighbors looking for a smiling face and a warm greeting. The food, mainly Italian seafood with a sprinkling of contemporary touches like shiitakes, rice vinegar, and soy sauce, offers well-crafted but sometimes uninspired dishes. However, routine is not necessarily bad, nor apparently an impediment to pleasant times for the repeat diners. Pastas are often house-made, and appetizers can be promising, like little neck clams in a bracing herbed tomato sauce. Grilled fish steaks—tuna especially—are hefty portions of high quality, cooked through. If you like some juice left in your fish, you'd better ask. On some nights, the crowd gathers round the piano for some very old favorites.Recommended Dishes
Littleneck clams, $12