NYC Restaurants

Extra Virgin
259 West Fourth Street (b/w Charles and Perry Sts)
New York, NY, 10014
(212) 691-4512 Map

Cuisine: Mediterranean

Menu: Add your menu. It's Free!

Reader Ratings:

Cititour Review:
There are certain chefs that I actually miss when they are out of work. Joey Fortunato was one of them. I've been a fan of his since his early days at Layla, then at Scarabee and finally at The Tonic, where he received glowing reviews for his zippy Mediterranean-accented menu. When he left The Tonic, I went into a period of mourning. But now that he has finally found a place of his own—Extra Virgin—I am happy again. Named for the olive oil (and you'll find lots of it—vibrant and grassy—glossing plates), Extra Virgin is a beautiful restaurant—intimate and earthy, with modern touches that make the place feel sleek but still warm. Joey's cooking here is simpler than when he was at Tonic and Scarabee, but he is not going for the upscale diner here. He and partner Michelle Gaton (formerly the manager of Coffee Shop) want Extra Virgin to be a low-key neighborhood bistro. Nonetheless, the menu is infused with lively flavors and bold contrast that are his signature style.

On a recent Sunday night, the room filled with a nice buzz and a lively crowd—couples, families with kids, tables of girls, folks catching up at the bar. It is a room that just feels friendly. You walk in and think, "I could come back here and sit at the bar with The New Yorker and read and have a bite for dinner." And then when you actually do, it is just as lovely as you imagined.

Dinner started with a braised artichoke ($9) topped with a soft poached egg on top of a perky salad of shaved fennel, lemon and Parmesan. Next we had the scallops saltimbocca ($10)—stunning mollusks wrapped up in prosciuto. They were perfectly cooked—moist and succulent against a crisp and smoky bacon wrapper. The fritto misto ($11) arrived chock full of crispy fried lovelies—shrimp, calamari, zucchini and a few crunchy spheres of slivered lemon—with a spicy tomato dipping sauce.

The big boy plates are generous and packed with flavor. Joey's lamb t-bone Fiorentino ($19) is a giant hunk of richly flavored meat set over celery root and apple puree with horseradish gremolata. We also had the grape leaf-wrapped salmon ($18), a bright pink plank served medium rare, over curried couscous with a toasted almond vinaigrette. I liked this dish a lot, but the couscous was a little too crowded with diced fruit for my tastes.

Joey also serves classics for two—Wednesday is Tagine of Lamb ($18 per person), Friday is Paella night (P/A), Saturday is osso bucoo ($19 per person), and Sunday is the piece de resistance—Joey's spaghetti and meatballs ($17 per person). Just plan on being there weekly. While I LOVE the meatballs at 'Inotecca that come in a luscious tomato sauce infused with orange, and could eat a stock pot's worth of Luigi's meatballs at In Vino (small, soft, rich and equally seductive), Joey's meatballs are larger, more rustic and traditional in style, and are now officially my favorite old world meatball. Your spaghetti dinner comes in two parts. A big bowl of pasta with gravy (aka sauce), and another equally huge bowl stocked with tennis-ball sized orbs of browned meat—dense, meaty, full on with flavor, yet still delicate—in a wonderfully sweet and rich marinara. Tuck a napkin under your collar or bring a bib, and get to work on your feast. Joey's mom must be very proud.

Extra Virgin is a sweet, honest little restaurant that serves delicious food from the heart. The place is a total labor of love and I am thrilled that Joey is back in the kitchen. Soon, you will be too.
Review By: Andrea Strong

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village

Entree Price: $15-20

Payment: Amex Visa Mastercard

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