In our latest installment of Quick Bites, we head to Bed-Stuy for the best tiny cabbages in town.

While biking around Bed-Stuy one evening last August I noticed renovations underway in some random storefront and, being nosy, I pulled over and popped my head in to see what was up. This tactic generally gets mixed results, intel-wise, but on this occasion the sweaty, paint-splattered young couple who greeted me could not have been more friendly and effusive. They toured me around, talked excitedly about their plans—their honorable ambition was to become a favorite neighborhood restaurant—offered me beverages, basically made me feel at home amid the plaster dust and tarpaulins.

Of course, I promptly forgot their names, and the name of their place, but I definitely remembered how they made me feel (welcome, hungry, happy), and had been meaning to return to see how everything worked out.

And then last week, when I strolled into the mildly-hyped Fancy Nancy for what I thought was going to be the first time, it all came back to me. This is that place! And the young couple—who I now know to be owners Kristen Walker and Jay Chan, formerly of Northern Spy among other well-regarded spots—are still just as excited about their restaurant dreams as they were when we first met.

(Scott Lynch/Gothamist)

The design here is sleek and spiffy, with a wooden mural behind the bar made up of hundreds of individual little pieces, providing a nice focal point. The music is "indie hits," the service casual and charming. But the best news for those of us who root for decent people to find success: Fancy Nancy was HOPPING on a Wednesday night, with almost every table filled, drinkers at the bar, laughter and chatter in the air.

As is appropriate for a place with local-hang aspirations, the Fancy Nancy menu is mostly Chan's lightly-altered takes on comfort-food basics, but with enough curveballs to keep things from getting snoozy. For example, the "Snacksters" section offers serviceable Tater Tots (maybe a bit over-fried, available with bacon and cheese; I hear the Korean Chili Curly Fries are better), super-creamy Deviled Eggs, and, my favorite dish from up here, a terrific bowl of crisp, salty Fried Brussels Sprouts, one of best I've had in a city lousy with these tiny cabbages this time of year.

The unexpected offering among the starters is a mound of Smoked Bluefish Party Dip, the intense, oily fish balanced with acid hits of pickled onions and cucumbers, chili-dusted shrimp chips bringing fire and crunch to the festivities. Also recommended are the addictive Duck Wings, which are crisp, meaty, and sticky with habanero honey sauce.

Salads and entrees—called "Eat Your Veggies!" and "Yummy Plates" on the menu—include a Butternut Risotto (in addition to the title ingredients, expect lots of mushrooms, almonds, and pecorino as well, for a truly hearty wintertime treat), and a deftly-handled Pan Seared Skate, the accommodating fish liberally sprinkled with Chan's made-up YOLO spice and draped over a pile of buttery fingerlings, olives, and bitter escarole, a smear of black bean puree completing the taste and textural palette.

The only disappointing thing I ate at Fancy Nancy—and, since it's likely to be one of the most frequently-ordered items, a potentially disastrous fail—was the over-charred, weirdly sour American Cheeseburger. You'll be tempted, because it comes with tots and a deviled egg skewered on top, but in this case you should resist.

Every neighborhood deserves at least a few good stop-in spots that make you feel immediately comfortable when you enter, and properly satisfied when you leave. In Bed-Stuy, you can add Fancy Nancy to that list. Enthusiastic, affable hosts serving you first-rate, affordable food.

Fancy Nancy is located at 1038 Bedford Avenue, at the corner of Lafayette, and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 until "close". According to Walker, Sunday brunch is also now being served. (347-350-7289;