Posted 09 July 2012 - 03:41 AM
Extra Fancy (at Metropolitan and Roebling) is a Stealth Restaurant par excellence. It looks and feels like it's supposed to be a faux New England clam shack. It's full of happy people knocking back 'Gansetts in little chill skirts.
But the food is Serious. Complicated. And Delicious.
The chef -- one Ross Florance -- spent a few years at Le B. And he cooks like it. He doesn't make simple seaside food. He makes exquisitely conceived complex food. I hope their customers don't notice.
I started with the grilled cherrystone clams. Simple enough. Except that these come in a wash of seaweed butter, with other interesting things as well (again, if I want to write, I should take notes -- but I WON'T). They're delicious. Fantastic, really.
For my main, some halibut. Poached, maybe? With Peas Two Ways -- steamed/boiled and pureed. And a bunch of different kinds of carrots, seemingly roasted. With whatwasthatfoam on top. This wasn't as good as a dish at Le Bernardin. But if you were served it there, you wouldn't be terribly disappointed. (You'd note how nice it is that Chef Rippert is finally discovering the appeal of really forthright flavors.) It's really like a dish at Acme, is what it is. (Not surprisingly, the New Nordic influence here is palpable.) Just the same judgment of how far you can take Fanciness and Invention, without losing a large mainstream audience.
Cuz here's the thing: this is very sophisticated cooking. Nothing is simple -- but nothing is stupidly overelaborated, either. There's just someone with a brain and a palate, taking fish shack staples and thinking what you could do with them to make them really interesting and delicious.
And this really is a Stealth Restaurant. I think it's going to succeed where Isa, Masten Lake, and (prospectively) Gwynnett Street have failed, because the presentation gives no clue that there's sophisticated food here. They don't try to force you to recognize how sophisticated and adult the food is. Rather, the place looks and feels like the faux fish shack it isn't. The scores of people knocking back ice-cold beers probably don't even notice how unique the food is.
Which is nice for the short term. Maybe in the long term the owners will realize that they don't have to be serving food this good (and this complex). Until then, this is my Place Of The Summer. They serve the dinner menu till 11:30. And they're soon going to have a late-night menu till something like 2. I myself want to eat through the entire dinner menu by September.
Posted 12 July 2012 - 06:39 PM
(Not surprisingly, the New Nordic influence here is palpable.)
Here's something weird.
I just heard that the chef here had something to do at one time with Noma.
And the restaurant doesn't push that.
ETA -- Wow. I just did a search, and the restaurant's publicity admits he was a stagier there.
This place is revolutionary.
Posted 14 July 2012 - 09:51 PM
Posted 18 July 2012 - 04:57 PM
Posted 18 July 2012 - 05:21 PM
It's funny how with the shift from sophisticated owner/maitre d's and chefs whose job is to put meat in a pan we've switched to owners who don't know food from soap and chefs who know in real time what's cooking at Noma.
Posted 18 July 2012 - 05:56 PM
I'm glad I got to Extra Fancy while I could.