Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cooling Down with Brunch at Extra Virgin

Extra Virgin- 259 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014

A/C/E/B/D/F/V to W 4th or L/A/C/E to 8th Avenue

With temperatures already in the 80s before 9:00 a.m., it was hard to think about eating in the oppressive heat this weekend. But with a friend visiting from out of town, staying in wasn’t an option. Armed with full bottles of water and slathered in sunblock, my friend Tyler and I set out for brunch at Extra Virgin in the leafy, shaded streets of the West Village on Sunday morning.

Upon sitting down in the comfortably small dining area adjacent to the bar, the first thing we noticed was the gentle whir of the a/c and overhead fans that made it just cool enough to stop the sweating but not so chill as to freeze us out like our workplace a/c. Win. The space is cozy but even as more brunch-goers filled in the exposed brick space, it didn’t get too loud or feel overcrowded. If I lived in the neighborhood, I imagine it’d be a great go-to spot- especially for the outdoor seating.

The brunch menu isn’t super reflective of the restaurant’s Mediterranean slant but combines more traditional, comfort foods like Banana French Toast with slightly more elegant options like the Roasted Artichoke Provencal. I want to come back for dinner to try a few of the restaurant’s namesake olive oils, which didn’t seem to be out for sampling in the morning.

Smoked Salmon and Potato Tart - I was expecting a heavy, traditional tart with a buttery crust but was pleasantly surprised but the lightness of the deconstructed dish. The “tart” was represented by two rectangles of puff pastry sandwiching plentiful baby greens, slices of smoked salmon and potato, a poached egg, a bottom layer of crème fraiche, and sprinklings of tomatoes and pickled onions. Each element of the dish brought a different taste and texture, which made it tasty and fun to make one-bite combinations like tangy onions, creamy crème fraiche and salty salmon. I also liked dipping the pastry into the egg yolk and taking a bite of greens with it for a crunchy, gooey, flaky combo.

Omelette - Tyler ordered the daily omelette with cherry tomatoes, onions, and Swiss cheese. He said it was “as good as expected” for a pretty standard dish. The salad was just greens and vinaigrette that could’ve used some veggies. It seemed like the fillings were just leftovers from dinner the night before, but there’s nothing wrong with reliable, simple ingredients when you’ve got an egg craving.

Coffee - Tyler’s coffee came with a metal cup and warmed milk, which was a nice touch. Unfortunately, it was bitter.

Service & Cost:
Our waitress was refreshingly friendly when we sat down but we didn’t see too much of her after we placed our order. It was nice to talk and have a leisurely brunch without feeling like we were being rushed out as the restaurant got more crowded.

Prices were $-$$.
Entrees: $9-$14

2 Mmmms

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