Extra Fancy: A High/Lowbrow Clam Bar in Williamsburg

extra fancy williamsburg

As a food writer, I generally eat pretty much everything, and heartily enjoy most things. But if I weren’t contractually obligated to diversify my diet on a regular basis, I could probably subsist quite happily on shellfish of all sorts, as well as complex carbs; most especially bread.

That means that the alternately high v. lowbrow clam bar Extra Fancy already fits well into my sweet spot, and new chef Sean Telo seems to have further restructured the menu especially for me. Now when you step into the rangy, wood-paneled restaurant, the aroma of yeasty loaves in mid-bake hits your nostrils instantly, comingled with the saline perfume of peel ‘n’ eat shrimp, meaty crab claws and iced tiers of freshly shucked oysters.

So do not miss what will undoubtedly become Telo’s signature starter, bronzed hunks of chewy bread that arrive with a generous crock of peach-colored uni butter (emulsified with lozenges of my all-time favorite crustacean, the sea urchin.) The already baby soft spread disintegrates on contact with the still warm slices, slithering through the air pockets and trailing down your fingers and wrist. Ask for a bib for your bread if you must, but I’d just as soon track the scrumptious runaways down with my tongue.

Another worthy menu addition is a fat and flaky filet of broiled Pointe Judith cod, atop a vibrant maque choux of corn, charred scallions, Anaheim peppers, breadcrumbs and potato (it’s a pleasure to spear one, and occasionally discover that it’s not, in fact, a spud, but a juicy nugget of barely cooked clam). And I’m still having fever dreams over Telo’s array of “extra fancy” raw oysters, crowned with impossibly exotic flourishes like caviar, quail egg, bottarga, or (be still my heart), another orange plank of succulent, creamy uni. Tilting my head back to receive it in one swallow, I could almost pretend that I was poised barefoot at the edge of the Atlantic, with a wash of sea spray hitting me full in the face, instead of hunkered down in an Edison bulb-lit former gas station in the heart of industrial Williamsburg.

302 Metropolitan Ave., (347) 422-0939

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