Extra Virgin's patio draws a crowd.
Extra Virgin is the quintessential neighborhood restaurant in New York City. The outdoor patio is definitely date-worthy. It’s a romantic hideaway in the heart of the West Village—I could sit there for hours drinking wine and hanging out. Chef Joseph Fortunato prepares beautiful seafood.
The Locale: 259 W. 4th St.
The Chef: Born and raised in Jamaica, Queens, Joseph Fortunato has spent much of his career in New York. After chef school and his first job at The Manhattan Ocean Club, he made a pit stop in Europe to work at Michelin-rated eateries in Paris. Eventually, he returned home for more resumé-building at some of the city’s best, including La Cite, Picholine and Tribeca Grill. Inspired to go into business for himself, he teamed up with Michele Gaton to open Extra Virgin. Gaton is the brains and the heart behind the front of the house operations.
The Food: Chef Fortunato takes his inspiration from the Mediterranean. Ingredients are fresh and inventive with a heavy focus on seafood, and each night customers can also count on classic features. He is a connoisseur and collector of olive oils—if it wasn’t obvious by the name of the restaurant—and spotlights different varieties from around the world each night.
The Vibe: Neighborhood bistros are a dime a dozen in Manhattan. What separates Extra Virgin from the masses is its dedication to the locals. Its homey and energetic environment gives customers a reason to return. Another real draw is the fantastic and romantic patio.
This article has been adapted from the original, which first appeared in the July 2009 issue of Sky.