Saturday, February 23, 2013

I Heart Franny's

One of my favorite Brooklyn go-to spots, Franny's is a Prospect Heights staple most famously known for their delicious thin crust Neapolitan style pizza, and their organic locally sourced ingredients.
 Andrew Steinberg and Francine Stephens are the owners and husband-wife team of this amazing establishment. They are extremely conscious of the local sustainable ingredients they use, and a look at the back of the menu will tell you the names of the farms where your food was born. If you are a Franny's groupie like myself you should also check out Brooklyn Larder down the street (228 Flatbush), where they sell gourmet foods and provisions, cheese, meat and some mean sandwiches. 

Just mention to me Franny's and I do my "happy food" dance. This is my happy place. It's a given that Franny's will be an exceptional meal and that I will leave here full, drunk, and satisfied. I love that the menu is constantly changing but I always have plenty of meat and shellfish free options to choose from (and often can't hold back and order the whole menu!) Some may complain the staff can be "Brooklyn snobby" but as long as you are nice and patient I have never had a sour experience. 

The room at Franny's includes a nice size bar where you can also eat, a couple of wooden tables, exposed brick walls, and a cute backyard. I almost forgot about the soap! Go to the bathroom and tell me honestly if you've ever smelled a more refreshingly delicious smell! I keep meaning to write down what the hell that is. But as you know nothing in life is perfect, and Franny's too has its minor drawbacks. There are often times long waits (be patient), salty food (sea salt is sprinkled on just about everything -- and I love them for this), and the meal does not come cheap (it's worth it). 

Yes, you are going to have to wait. Be smart about it. Don't show up with 6 people at 8:30 Thursday night and expect to be seated ASAP. Go early or late, or like me go just with a friend and hope to grab a seat at the bar. Often the bar is my favorite experience. Locally brewed beers on tab, friendly bartender, quick service, and sick food. Another tip if you are jonesing for a Franny's fix on the weekend is to go right when they open at 12, or wait until the rush dies down at 3:30 and have a much more pleasurable experience (especially with little ones in tow). 

Although the menu is ever changing, there are a few constants. The simple sounding bruschetta of garlic with olive oil and sea salt. Trust me and get this. It comes with just 2 pieces per order and each person is going to want their own. Crispy, salty, crunchy, delicious-ness. The vegetables. I'm not going to get into too much detail with specific dishes because as I mentioned they are always changing, but basically whatever vegetables are fresh they pair some yummy cheese, EVOO, sea salt, and the results are genius. I've had clementine pistachio salads, grapefruit, olive and hot pepper concoctions, all kinds of greens (kale, fennel, chicory, etc), root veggies that I've never heard of, and delicious combinations of vegetarian friendly soups (below is kale, beans and bread) -- really they are all amazing. The fried things are never too oily and usually the first to finish. I've had arancino balls that are to die for, and fried potatoes with cheese and capers and a spicy mayo that I still dream about.

The pastas are always al dente, and of the 3 ever changing pastas there are always at least one or two that are vegetarian friendly. Spaghetti with meyer lemon and parmigiano is delicious, as is their cacio e pepe when they have it. Don't be afraid of bottargo, fish roe, or even anchovies here. They are never fishy and add amazing flavor. The pizza is without a doubt something special and on par with the best of the best. They are extra thin (like a flatbread), almost burnt and are made with the most freshly tasting ingredients that you can imagine. They are served uncut (for authenticity sake) with a sharp knife. The basic pie allows their delicious creamy mozzarella and amazing sauce to shine through but my personal favorite is the ricotta, mozzarella, oregano, garlic, hot pepper pie. 
It is life changing. 

I'm usually too full at this point to think about dessert, but I've seen cannoli, panna cotta, and homemade ice creams swing by that may change your mind. After this the bill is going to come and it is going to be expensive. Don't complain. You just had a delicious meal and your wife / husband / friends / kids will be thanking you for it. You are paying for the fresh food, laid back atmosphere, and wonderful experience. 

If you haven't already been, I strongly recommend you stop reading and head over to Franny's ASAP. Tell them The Brooklyn Bite sent you. 
 And FYI ,the Franny's team is opening an offshoot in Park Slope that will be bigger and offer reservations (yay) slated for a April 1 opening. I can't wait. 

Neighborhood: Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

Bite Mark: *****

Good For: Date Night, Girls Night, Family, Neighborhood Gem, Pizza

Franny's, 295 Flatbush Ave nr Prospect Pl  718-230-0221