Extra Virgin

Having lived in the West Village for the past 12 years, we have studied most of the local restaurants, many having come and gone.  All things considered, for the past 8 years, our preferable go-to spot has been Extra Virgin on West 4th Street.  Why EV?  Other than the beloved manager, Jean Rene (who is a born natural) we are most at home, outside of our home, here. 

More than any other time, the last 2 years have impressed upon us the importance of community, beyond what we had understood that to mean before, and the role a restaurant like EV has played, within it.  We chose to live in the WV because of the unmistakable neighborhood feel it possesses, far more than any other area of the city.  And when we felt that this ‘town within a city’ that we had enjoyed daily, that we crave when we’re not there, could possibly wither away, we started to appreciate it even more.  We became closer to people like Jean Rene during this time, and he to us, as I think everyone was feeling that they wanted to cling to what we all had.  

But what is it about EV?  Consistency in the quality of our preferred menu items has been relatively good, which is a key component in maintaining regular customers.  But what we have come to appreciate most is the atmosphere, created by the other regular customers that EV draws.  There is a certain ease that regulars bring with them, that translates into a relaxed environment filled with the right energy.  That type of vibe cannot be created only with food, nor design, nor the music.  In fact, this restaurant in particular is nothing to write home about when it comes to design, and actually bucking the tradition of good restaurant design, the only decided color in the place is green.  Music wise, they typically choose a lane and stay there; one night could be hip hop, another rock, Latin….  you never know what you’re going to get.  But that home away from home feeling cannot be denied here, for us.  In all of these years, not one other has come close to EV.

We have been restaurant designers in the NYC metro area for decades, and we understand very well what makes a restaurant successful (as well as the adverse).  Efforts are made across the board in an ever changing market to try to achieve that sweet spot of a very complex curve.  Not one thing secures your success just as one other won’t bring you to fail, but it is the cumulative effect of positive points that results in “I will be back” said to your partner or yourself, and if you’re a regular, it’s only a question of when.


Jean Rene

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