Back Alleyway Cuisine

On 1st street between Bowery and 2nd avenue, there is an alleyway called Extra Place.

Who knew, right?

This old alleyway was home to piles of garbage and debris, later to be the back door exit to the famous CBGB.

Extra Place, before

After an expensive clean up, Extra Place is now a well paved outdoor dining experience….if you’re lucky enough to come across it.  It’s a bit off the beaten path from the eye catching East Village.  Steve and I were LOOKING for this street and we still had trouble finding it!

Extra Place, now

While still an upscale driveway, it’s hidden Parisian charm is inviting.

Out of the three available locations (Heidi, Extra Place and Oaxaca Taqueria), we chose Extra Place because it came highly recommended.

Extra Place

With an exposed kitchen the decor is minimal and modern.  It gave off a casual, low key neighborhood vibe that made you feel comfortable the second you enter the restaurant.

Our waiter was welcoming and gave us great suggestions for wine and food.  We started with the Dorgan Cellars Petite Sirah.  That’s right, Sirah, not to be confused with my favorite Syrah.  A Petite Sirah is a fantastic combination of Syrah and Peloursin grapes.

This bottle was a great suggestion.  It had a great medium body and a blackberry finish which really complimented the dishes we ordered.  Some of the dishes we ate had a little sweet kick (I will mention that later) and only then did I wish we had a wine with a little more spice and pepper to balance.

The menu

Steve and I started with the Octopus de la Plancha, the Lamb Meatballs, the Fresh Berkshire Pork Belly and the Bluehill Bay Mussels.

Octopus de la Plancha

The octopus came with heirloom tomatoes, black garlic and fava beans.  The octopus itself was very meaty and well cooked.  It was tender enough to cut through with a fork.  However, the sauce was a little too sweet.  Thankfully the acid of the tomatoes cut through the sweetness, but then the wine made the entire dish too sweet.  Selfishly, I love my octopus savory and wish there was less sauce.  The dish as a whole was enjoyable.

Lamb Meatball

The lamb meatballs…is actually A meatball….but ohhh was it good.  The cous cous and lamb jus made a perfect dish.  The tender, flavorful lamb melted in your mouth and the creamy cous cous completed the happiness in my mouth.  The meatball with the wine was my favorite combination of the evening.

Fresh Berkshire Pork Belly

It is a guarantee that if there is octopus or pork belly on the menu, Steve and I will order it.

Besides the beautiful presentation, the pork was perfect.  A delicious crispy outside and a yummy creamy inside.  The chef who prepared this dish knew his pork bellies….and we were grateful.  The plate came with marinated vegetables, polenta and raisins.  All together, every element on the plate complimented the pork.  Once again, a great combination with the Petite Sirah.

Bluehill Bay Mussels

If you’ve read past reviews….we love our mussels.  This appetizer portion comes with fennel, aleppo peppers, raki liquor and rouille crostini.  The mussels were plump and soaked up the yummy sauce (which reminded us of pepperoni pizza).  The fennel was a nice touch of flavor and crunch.  No mussel dish is complete with out delicious bread (or fries) and Extra Place did not disappoint!

Because we were adventurous, we also ordered two Organic Doner Kebabs.

Maine Lobster, Shrimp and Sea Scallops Kebab

Upstate New York Bo Bo Chicken and Long Island Crescent Duck Kebab

We should have thought twice….because we were SO FULL.  We took a couple of bites and then wrapped them up for me to take to lunch the next day.

The pita is homemade and delicious.  The Seafood Kebab was our favorite, the seafood pieces were large, tender and fresh.  The chicken and duck were good, but once again smothered with a sweet sauce.  But I must say, when I ate the chicken again the next day…it was great! The pita absorbed the sauce and the meat with the brussel sprouts were a great combination.

This is a great spot, but not one likely to stumble upon.  In the East Village where there are so many great places to eat, Extra Place has rightfully joined the competition.

For a unique NYC dining experience that is affordable, we highly recommend this location.  Go crazy with the starters, they were our favorites!

**Out of a possible 5 stars, here’s what we thought….

Décor: 3 star                 Service: 5 stars

Beverage List: 4 star           Food: 4 stars

Location: 5 star            Overall: 4 stars

$30 – $55 per person.

Extra Place

8 Extra Pl
(at 1st St)
Manhattan, NY 10003

(212) 777-4252

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