Review By: Stefanie Parks –
After seeing the menu for Extra Fancy for the first time several months ago, I knew that this place would be right up my alley. I love seafood, especially the kind that’s inspired by the North East. I’m talking lobster rolls, full belly clams, fish & chips, clam chowder. Mmm, there’s really nothing better (and also nothing that gets me more excited for the summer). There was no question that Extra Fancy had an awesome menu, the question was whether or not they’d be able to compete with the amazing places they built their menu around. The places that offer the seafood so fresh you know the ocean has to pretty much be in their backyards. Well, I guess it was time to find out!
We didn’t arrive at Extra Fancy until around 10:30pm. Amazingly, their kitchen is open until 3am, which is pretty awesome. We walked in and the bar area was crowded, but there weren’t very many diners (I guess 10:30 is a little late to be sitting down for dinner even in New York!). We sat down and ordered a few beers while we looked through the menu. There were 4 of us at dinner and we decided to all share everything (my favorite!!). We went through our thought process with the waitress and asked her to tell us whether we had a good handle on everything, or whether we were screwing up big time. This is a question Dave and I always ask our waiter/waitress when we go out. Usually, they say something like “yep, that sounds good,” or they tell us to add something that “is a popular menu item.” This waitress, on the other hand, literally looked through the whole menu to make sure we had the best things in every category. AKA, she was awesome! She told us we had actually done a great job of picking out the best things on the menu (come on, this ain’t our first rodeo) and she left to place our order.
The first dish to come out was the “Raw Deal Platter” which came with 4 oysters, 2 clams, and 2 shrimp. We ordered an extra 2 clams and 2 shrimp so that we could each have one. We loaded the oysters and clams up with vinegar and cocktail sauce, squeezed some lemon over the whole platter and then dug in. Everything tasted extremely fresh and was delicious. My only complaint was about the cocktail sauce. I like a little spice in my cocktail sauce and this one was lacking that a bit. It was a bit too sweet for my taste. Other than that, fabulous.
Next out were the Extra Fancy Deviled Eggs with old bay, pickled onion and fingerling chips and the Cape Cod Clam Fritters (littlenecks, grilled corn, charred scallions, chilies, buttermilk & chive sauce). The deviled eggs were just ok. The taste was good, but they were really small (though they were only $5 for 4, so maybe I shouldn’t be complaining). I thought the clam fritters were great and the sauce they came with was even better. Dave wasn’t crazy about these though.
In the next round (I told you we ordered a lot!) was the Chicken Liver Pate with house made pickles, sweet onion chutney, gulden’s mustard, and grilled country toast and then the Pork Belly. Both were awesome but the chicken liver pate… wow. It was amazing. We thought it was a little weird that there was pate on the menu (it didn’t really seem to fit), but we weren’t complaining. Later, our waitress told us the story behind the pate. She agreed it didn’t really fit with the rest of the menu but explained that Extra Fancy had gone through a few chefs when they first opened. The first chef was a little too fancy for what they were going for, but his chicken liver pate was so good they just had to keep it on the menu. Ok, makes sense… and agree about it being too good to ever remove from the menu.
The pork belly was awesome too. It came out in one big piece over a big pile of… mushrooms (I think?). It had great flavor, was very juicy, and I really enjoyed it.
By this time I was already starting to get full and our entrees hadn’t even come out yet. We got the Fried Whole Belly Clam Roll with cabbage slaw, sea salt, and powdered malt vinegar and then the Fish & Chips. Each dish came with fries, so we substituted one for sweet potato fries. I just have to say that I’m obsessed with whole belly clam (yes, obsessed). I’d never had them until this summer and the second I tried them for the first time at Flo’s Clam Shack in Newport, Rhode Island, I fell in love (if you haven’t been, go ASAP). This was my first whole belly clam sandwich and I felt the same… Love. The fish and chips were awesome too (though very, very hot). You could taste how fresh the fish was. The regular fries were awesome (they were the skinny ones that I love), but I wasn’t that crazy about the sweet potato fries. They were a little soggy.
I honestly wish we would have ended our meal there, but of course, we went in for dessert. They only had one dessert on the menu, a Salted Carmel Ice Cream Sandwich with chocolate cookie and sea salt. That sounds pretty amazing, right? Well, it wasn’t. The only way to describe it was salty. Very, very, very salty. I’m getting the shivers just thinking about it. Not a great end to what was a fabulous meal.
Either way, Extra Fancy was great and definitely the closest thing I’ve seen to New England seafood outside of New England. Well done, guys!