Extra Fancy is the kind of place you want to be a regular.
It’s a feeling that comes over you the instant you walk in the door—welcomed by the eclectic, industrial-meets-vintage cottage style infused with the lively charm of the attractive staff and regular patrons.
The inviting twinkle of the cocktail menu enhances your sense of instant camaraderie, as you peruse a list that goes with the whimsy of the season and the bartenders (whose accolades are as high—hand-picked by Extra Fancy owners, Mark Rancourt and Rob Krueger — as their cocktail instincts are sharp).
Speaking at length (as I am wont to do) to the bar manager, Meaghan Montagano, on a recent visit, I was guided into a choice that would be unlikely by my typical standards but rewarded me with a mighty cocktail. A type of tiki-less tiki drink, the exotic infusion of floral kaffir lime and velvety coconut made the “Kabuki Theater” burst like springtime, and is a perfect beginning to a meal or an end to one (or if you’re truly ambitious, both). And while drinking down the Extra Fancy cocktail list is a wonderfully worthy venture, it is also worthy to note the thoughtfully composed list of wines and beers, including some stand out local ones, that make for a fantastic pairing to the full enjoyment of the feasting.
Even if restrained to oysters alone, the sumptuousness of ingredients and the creativity of their preparation make each bite a feast in every sense. As a seafood-centric restaurant, the fanatical commitment to fresh catch has always been a driving force on the Extra Fancy menu, but with the addition of Sean Telo as head chef, the creative use of the top notch seafood and the incorporation of local, seasonal produce has pushed the menu to new heights.
With that in mind, back to those little homebodies we New Yorkers know as oysters.
Here, the ultra fresh and briny bivalves can be enjoyed, of course, in their naked perfection, or with an assortment of playfully inspired, but absolutely serious accouterment — the likes of sturgeon caviar, quail egg, or some of the best uni I’ve have had outside of Japan (I kid you not). Luckily for all of us, this true delicacy of the sea makes several appearances on the menu.
A symphony of small plates will leave your tastebuds reeling — and it truly seems impossible to fail no matter what you order. Personal stand outs were the caviar toasts adorned simply and lusciously with uni butter and a crispy slice of cucumber. And the tuna and uni “ta-ko”—which despite its mere handroll appearance, defied all expectation with its powerful and nuanced layers of ocean-evoking flavor. The scallop ceviche was elegantly laid across a giant scallop shell, its sweetness brightened with the addition of yuzu and the salty zing of sea asparagus, which remarkably (and effectively) was the only salty element on the dish.
The roster of seasonal dishes will change frequently, but don’t miss the elegance of the skillet asparagus and duck egg which turns to a vividly colored, oozing delight—rich and salty goodness cut by the mineral green crunch of perfectly al dente asparagus.
I also fell for the fantastic burrata salad—the fresh, milky cheese like a luscious surprise, hidden under a mound of seared green tomatoes and olive tapenade. Though this item isn’t listed on the menu on Extra Fancy’s website, it will hopefully stay long enough for you to sample during your next visit.
The “Spring Garden Hodgepodge” is a gluttonous vegetarian’s dream. Again, composed to the tune of the season, during my visit the plate was generously piled with tender, earthy chanterelles, asparagus, pea tendrils and mizune leaves. Thick slices of meaty, grilled haloumi cheese, caramelized to crispy goodness, brought the vegetables together to create a multi-layered, thoroughly satisfying entree.
When it comes time to be tempted by dessert, there are three: Lemon Chess Pie, Coffee Cake with frozen Coffee Milk (and yes, coffee milk is most definitely a thing), and a Hot Fudge Sundae. And they are everything you want from a dessert: sweet but not too complicated, and completely nostalgic.
They wrap you and your meal up together in a comforting way that underscores the whole experience at this outstanding neighborhood restaurant. And somehow you’ll leave feeling like you’ve been an Extra Fancy regular all along.
– Ava Fedorov
302 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn
Raw bar happy hour: Weekdays from 6:00 – 7:00 PM