Monday, September 17, 2007


When I suggested to friends that I was craving pizza again and wanted to go back to Lucali's in Brooklyn, they suggested trying Franny's instead.

Franny's is located on Flatbush Avenue in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, and while it may look like a simple storefront, inside it's got a delightful vibe that reminds me of San Francisco.

The crowd is diverse and cheerful, the smell of wood smoke is delicious, and waiting at the bar (no reservations) has its own special charms: house-cured soppressata and coppa and the house cocktail, the Brooklyn, which is Franny's one up on the traditional Manhattan, made with Maker's Mark, sweet vermouth and fresh lemon sour. The Brooklyn certainly got the evening off to a brisk start, and the soppressata and the coppa were superb—moist and flavorful and distinctively different from any others I've had.

Once we got to the table our waiter took us through the menu with a winning enthusiasm that we all enjoyed. Franny's offers a selection of small plates for starters plus pastas and pizza. I wanted to order everything, but how much can three people eat?

We started with the Pork Cheek and Beef Tongue Terrine with Salsa Verde that literally melted in your mouth, the Sweet Corn with Sweet 100 Tomatoes Salad, which was the essence of the season and the Fried Rice Balls with Corn and Pancetta which had a thin crust and were full of flavor. We also had the Arugula Salad with La Quercia Proscuitto and Parmigiano Reggiano which was perfectly dressed. One of my biggest complaints about salads in New York, as opposed to California, is they are not composed and dressed well. They are either too big or too much of one thing. This one was perfect.

Finally to the pizzas: We ordered the Buffalo Mozzarella, Basil and Sausage, and the Clams, Chilies and Parsley pizzas. They brought us a Buffalo Mozzarella, Garlic and Basil by mistake and before I could say anything, the waiter noticed the mistake fired off another pizza right away. The pizzas were served unsliced on a large dinner plate and they were sensational.

The wine list is great too with lots of good choices especially of Italian wines.

For dessert we ordered the Fior di Latte Gelato, the most incredible gelato I've ever had. When I asked our waiter about it, he told us about the farm that supplies the milk for it. Of course that was music to my ears as was the list of Franny's sources on the back of the menu—everything from the energy from ConEd solutions which is derived from 35% new Wind and 65% Small Hydroelectric to their espresso which comes from Counter Culture Coffee. I am hoping this kind of restaurant represents the future of food.

Further evidence that we are on the right track here: Franny's plans to open Franny's Larder within a year where people can buy all the wonderful ingredients they serve in the restaurant. If this is not the crest of the best New Wave I don't know what is.

295 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217


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