Open Wide: Fancy Nancy in Bed-Stuy

Photo by Jane Bruce

Fancy Nancy
1038 Bedford Avenue, Bed-Stuy

It’s been a rough few months for the Bed-Stuy dining-and-drinking scene. The closings of seemingly stalwart spots like Do or Dine and Scratchbread were enough to make any prospective restaurateur wonder if the neighborhood was able to support the recent influx of local dining hot spots. But the show must go on, and the area recently welcomed Fancy Nancy, a casual dining spot owned-and-operated by Kristen Walker and Jay Chan, both formerly of Northern Spy Co., and each with experience at other highly regarded Brooklyn spots like Mile End and Bergen Hill.

Whether Walker and Chan will find success long-term depends on a variety of factors, of course, but if the vibe of Fancy Nancy on a blustery Wednesday night in November was any indication, they’ll do just fine. The space itself is vibrant with Fiestaware place settings adorning tables and the long bar, which itself is backed by a gorgeous wooden mosaic, evocative of an intricate, modernist quilt. It’s the perfect place to while away an evening, made all the more convivial by the fact that Walker is constantly circulating, chatting cheerfully with customers—even Chan pops out of the kitchen regularly to see how people are doing.

And how were we doing? Well, my friends and I, all three of us perched along an aquamarine wooden bench in a corner booth which had lighting that was just a touch too bright (I like to see my friends but don’t need to see every last one of their pores, you know?), ordered a bunch of the smaller dishes on the menu, here called “snacksters.” The tater tots were ultra-crispy, which I loved; and, yes, it’s hard to fuck up tater tots, but also, these came smothered in cheese, and with an addictive spicy ketchup, so they were more than just “not fucked up.”. The deviled eggs were creamy with a hint of mustard, and the fried brussels sprouts were simply one of the best versions of the tiny crucifer that I’ve had in some time, coming with a hit of garlic, chile, and lime, and disappearing from our table in the blink of an eye.

The drinks—or, per the menu, “dranks”—were a little less consistent. My Sloppy Seconds cocktail was too sweet for me to finish, though, a) I should have known better since, along with gin and cranberry, vanilla bean was an ingredient and b) my friend polished it off, so it wasn’t, like, undrinkable. But the autumn-focused Urban Harvest (rye, apples, cinnamon, honey) was better, and there’s also a small but decent selection of beer and, notably, an all-natural wine list which has some real winners.

One more note on the “dranks” though: They all come with enormous straws, the ultra-wide ones that are usually served with bubble tea. Each straw also happened to be a lurid pink, leaving an ideal opening for one of my friends to deadpan: “Open wide.”

We drank up.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

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