We fell head over heels for Sean Telo back in 2014, upon first bite of his magnificent house-baked bread with uni butter at Extra Fancy. And while it was, admittedly, a May-December romance (the cherub-cheeked chef made our 30 under 30 list in 2015), it was hardly a fleeting affair—Telo ignited our passion again and again over the years, with bowls of Bang Island mussels, crocks of South Carolina shrimp perlou, and salmon head hot pots with oyster kimchi.
So needless to say, we were devastated when he was cut loose from Extra Fancy in 2016; convinced our ardor would never withstand the weight of a long distance relationship, when he inevitably fled capricious NYC like so many chefs before. Happily, it seems we weren’t the only one crushing hard on Telo; as he was quickly cold-called by none other than Syd Silver (of the Roebling Tea Room) and partner Homer Murray, who were looking to stage a revamp of their in flux River Styx. A blind date led to a perfect union at 21 Greenpoint, and back to his rightful position in the kitchen, Telo is once again making our hearts flutter with pinwheels of salmon pastrami coiled around creamy, dill-flecked gribiche, steak tartar on marrow bones paired with lamb fat-basted bread (oh, that bread), an array of ugly vegetables trailed in verdant carrot top pesto (he’s committed to using “waste” products), and Neapolitan-style white clam pizzas, glutted with garlic and guanciale.
Telo’s even drawn another notable player into their marriage—Bar Director Sean McClure of Dirty French and Le Bernardin. Having concocted an assortment of over 20 different shaken, stirred, and bubbly cocktails, McClure’s created a drinks program that could easily rival Extra Fancy’s; wooing Greenpoint’s own industry crowd with liquid nitro-cloaked “Derby Girls” comprised of rye, aperol, cranberry bitters and grapefruit, a “Breakfast G&T” featuring Earl Grey and bergamot-infused gin, and the “6’7’8’ Bunch;” an umbrella-speared hurricane glass of banana rum, pineapple, coconut and cinnamon.
McClure’s already made us weak in the knees; good thing we have plenty of love to spread around.
21 Greenpoint, (718) 383-8833
Images by Max Branigan