Frankies 17 Spuntino: Italian Snacking on the Lower East Side [CLOSED]

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Restaurant New York City

Popular Brooklyn chefs Frank Castronovo and Frank Facinelli expand to the LES.

The Frankies – Frank Castronovo and Frank Facinelli – opened Frankies 457 Spuntino at 457 Court Street in Brooklyn and then quickly expanded to the Lower East Side. This was a risky decision, since Clinton Street was already clogged with well-regarded restaurants like WD-50, Alias, and Clinton Street Baking Company. Guess their decision paid off; they’re already planning a third Frankies on Manhattan’s west side. After tasting their food, it’s obvious they’re on to something with their reasonably-priced spuntino (“snack” in Italian). Décor-wise, this charming restaurant features a brick South wall, a pressed tin North wall, and numerous wine shelves. The place is bathed in low light, but was surprisingly lively. Swing music, Zydeco, and seldom played legends like Townes Van Zandt and Waylon Jennings emanated from the sound system.

There was a sprawling Italian menu, plus a separate brunch menu of non-Italian dishes. We were served a complimentary plate of Sullivan Street Bakery bread with Nutella, but preferred to preserve stomach space.

Italian Food New York City

I started with a high-rise cremini mushroom and truffle oil crostini ($3) topped with shaved cheese. I enjoyed this toast, but the ‘shrooms would have tasted better served warm.

Italian Food New York City

We split pork meatballs (3 for $9) served in a robust marinara sauce. The juicy meatballs were studded with pinenuts and raisins and dusted with finely shaved mozzarella.

Vegetables New York City

A long list of vegetable antipasti unfortunately did not actually include seldom seen Jerusalem artichokes, so we settled for roasted Brussels sprouts ($5). They were good, but would have been even better right out of the oven.

Pasta New York City

I ordered squash and yam ravioli with sage and chestnut in parmesan broth. After 20 minutes, our waitress informed us they were out of the dish. This turned out to be a blessing Instead, craggy house-made cavatelli were terrific vessels for Faicco’s hot sausage and browned sage butter ($15). The sausage cuts were sensational, and little gobs of gooey cheese were a nice bonus.

Italian Food New York City

Sweet sausage came chopped in a spicy stew of roasted red peppers and onions ($12).

To drink, we ordered a soothing pot of red chai tea that came with a tiny pitcher of cool milk and honey.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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