Footloose and fancy-free

Sometimes you get it into your head, for no very good reason, that there’s a bar or restaurant you’d like to try. And sometimes you’re lucky, ’cause you wind up at Fancy Nancy, and they’ve just changed their menu, and it’s resplendent with the fall flavors you’ve dreamed of all year.

I’m the first to admit that I’m intrigued by fancy cocktails with mysterious ingredients, sometimes to my detriment. (Just try one of the dead simple, extremely fantastic mixed drinks at Fort Defiance, which I want to write about soon, and you’ll see where straightforwardness can get you. And it’s much farther than most fancy drinks can.) As time’s gone by, I’ve become familiar with most bartenders’ tricks, but even I was mystified by “SF mix,” in Fancy Nancy’s Lost in SF cocktail. So I ordered the drink without asking for details–a first, apparently–and was rewarded: SF mix is a delicious combination of Fernet (which I am pleased to say I recognized), Chartreuse, and rum. Yes, please!

Impressively, my second drink, Gator Bate, was even better. I’m a sucker for concord grape concoctions (and straight-up concord grapes fresh from the farm share, yum) and I’ll always order a drink that features them, but I’m almost invariably disappointed. Not this time–Gator Bate managed an intense concord grape taste without sacrificing its other tastes, yuzu and fennel. My bartender said it was her favorite of the current cocktails, and I can see why.

Though the drinks were the star of the show here, I’d be remiss not to mention my butternut risotto, which, costing no more than a cocktail, provided a reasonably filling and very tasty counterpoint to my libations. Almonds imparted crunch to an otherwise smooth and comforting dish, while greens provided a welcome hint of saltiness.

For dessert, my (wise) bartender suggested an horchata-based drink (which I–sadly–wound up declining) or a gin, cranberry, and egg-white one. Much like concord grapes, egg white cocktails are my kryptonite, so I opted for the Sloppy Seconds (or I guess thirds at this point), a nice fizz to finish the evening, though it lacked the striking balance of the Gator Bate. Next time, I’ll have to try the horchata-ey Havana Nights for sure.

All in all, my food and drink were delicious, the service was super-friendly, and I look forward to trying all of the other almost as tempting cocktails on offer. (Maybe especially the on-tap concoction–boozy, herbal, fruity, dark–that my bartender offered me in a tiny glass for a nightcap.) The crisp evening, and my walk back to the train–you guys, I can kinda walk normally these days!–didn’t hurt either. Fancy, indeed.

Fancy Nancy, 1038 Bedford Ave, Bedford-Stuyvesant

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