Our latest installment of Quick Bites brings us to a “chicken bar with wine” on Classon Ave in Brooklyn.
The team behind Bed-Stuy’s The Fly, a “chicken bar with wine” that just opened last week on Classon Street, have a knack for creating spaces that appeal on multiple levels. Their two previous ventures—Hart’s (a few blocks away), and Cervo’s (on the Lower East Side)—are both lively yet intimate restaurants that feel like neighborhood gems, but with food good and interesting enough to warrant a special trip from wherever you are right now. And they work equally well for, say, a high-stakes date or a tipsy birthday dinner with friends.
So don’t worry that The Fly is considerably larger, and with a much bigger bar than its predecessors. Leah Campbell, Nick Perkins, Nialls Fallon, and chef Katie Jackson nail that convivial, multi-purpose atmosphere once again. You could easily use this place as a local watering hole, stopping in for a couple of beers, cocktails (it’s named after Hart’s famous La Mosca de la Fruta, which you can order here), or some wine from their natural-heavy list of reds, whites, and oranges. Bring the kids if you’ve got them: the back dining area can fit a stroller between tables, or you can settle in to one of the booths up front for an early dinner.
The space is designed by Russell Perkins, with seating for about 70 total. Much of that is at the warmly-lit island bar, which anchors the room. Wine bottles do double duty as decor, as does the menu, communicated via a couple of those press-on letter signs. Otherwise it’s all about the white walls, red tiled floors, plenty of wood, and moody lighting. You can imagine that it gets pretty loud in here once the tables are full and the drinks are flowing.
If you’re going to have a single dish carry your entire menu, it better be as good as Jackson’s Rotisserie Chicken. Sold as a half or a whole (for a not insignificant $18 and $32, respectively), this is a spectacularly rich and juicy bird, the crisp skin sliding off the tender meat, loaded with garlic and intense with drippings. Definitely spend the extra fifty cents on the white sauce, whose creamy tang adds a nice counterpoint to the funky meat.
You can also get the chicken pulled and piled high inside a chewy roll—it’s called the Chix Sandwich on the menu—with a slather of mayo and a mess of pickled vegetables, an equally satisfying delivery method for Jackson’s creation. Either way, you should definitely also get the basket of heavily-seasoned Fries, which come with a garlicky aioli. Another excellent side dish is the plate of Long Cooked Greens, which strikes the perfect balance with salty, bitter vegetables, a lot of good olive oil, and a slight hit of citrus.
This being the season of root vegetables, the Salad, while fresh, feels a bit austere, with just watermelon radishes, slices of red onion, and carrots tossed among crunchy stalks of romaine. To maximize your pleasure think of it as a kind of vinegary crudite, and grab pieces with your hands in between bites of chicken. Rounding out the menu are the simple, boiled Potatoes, a dish whose interest level is substantially increased by what I assume are rotisserie drippings. After all of that salt, garlic, and vinegar you’re going to want something sweet… but you’ll have to get it elsewhere, as there is no dessert available at The Fly.
With its near-perfect chicken and finely-tuned, convivial atmosphere, The Fly is another neighborhood restaurant-and-bar winner from the Hart’s and Cervo’s crew. Me, I’ll be back as often as possible solely for Jackson’s chicken, in rotisserie or sandwich format.
The Fly is located at 549 Classon Avenue, just north of Fulton Street, and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. (the kitchen closes at 11 p.m. on weeknights, and midnight on Friday and Saturday). Closed Sunday and Monday (347-405-5300; theflybrooklyn.com)