Frankies Spuntino Restaurants: 457 (on Court Street) and 17 (on Clinton)
The Frankies are the charming, talented, unashamedly hippie-y (down to their love of fine weed and the Grateful Dead) chefs Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli. The Spuntinos are the "little snacks" they've made famous, first in Brooklyn, in Carroll Gardens, a few blocks from the F train, then on the Lower East Side, on Clinton Street. We've been to and thoroughly enjoyed both Frankies Spuntino Restaurant many times over the years–the Brooklyn one, 457, opened in 2004–but just this summer we had the opportunity to return to Court Street's 457 twice during a particularly pasta-ish week-long stretch, and, wow, was it good to be back.
The menus are virtually identical at Frankies Spuntino Restaurant 457 and 17, and right now both have what was our favorite dish during this recent spree, the Braised Octopus salad, the buttery-tender cephlapod mixed in with bitter dandelion greens and topped with a sweet castelvetrano vinaigrette. This is pretty much the perfect balance of flavors and textures, the portion was large enough so that the two of us each had plenty of bites, and it costs only $10. Classic Frankies Spuntino. Also well-executed was the simple Roasted Beet and Avocado salad, the vegetables just-ripe and lively, dressed with balsamic vinegar. Nothing fancy; totally satisfying.
The pastas are all excellent at Frankies Spuntino Restaurant, though our favorite might be the House-Made Cavatelli, chewy and firm, mixed with big chunks of terrific Faiccos hot sausage and mellowed with a browned sage butter. Another big winner is the Sweet Potato and Sage Ravioli, the flavors fresh and bold enough to stand up to the rich pool of parmesan broth within which they float. Surprisingly, our least favorites plates were the meats, including Frankies' legendary Meatballs with Pine Nuts and Raisins, which we thought had a bit of an unwelcome sourness. The Pork Braciola was better, soft and sweet, but the way-acidic marinara left us longing for browned sage butter of yore. Meaning, of four nights previously.
Frankies Sputino Restaurant Details
Frankies Sputino NYC has two locations. Frankies 457, in Brooklyn, is located on Court Street between 4th Place and Luquer Street, a few blocks away from the Carroll Street station on the F or G line. On the Lower East Side, Frankies 17 is located on Clinton Street between Houston and Stanton Streets. Neither location accepts reservations; the Brooklyn Frankies is cash only. For complete menus and hours, please see the Frankies Sputino Restaurant website.