Franny’s is a lauded Italian restaurant on one of Brooklyn’s main thoroughfares, in Prospect Heights, down the road from BAM, the future home of the Atlantic Yards mega-development, and around the corner from some of New York’s most beautiful brownstones. Francine Stephens and chef/husband Andrew Feinberg have carved out a nice culinary niche for themselves since opening in 2004.
In back, behind the counter of the exhibition kitchen, Franny’s pizzaiolos utilize a brick-lined wood-burning oven. The contemporary space also features art-lined brick walls and blonde wood furniture.
Franny’s menus are printed daily. We split one dish from every category: house-cured meats, appetizers, pastas and pizzas.
Wood-Roasted octopus ($16) featured two tender smoky tentacles of cephalopod, spooned with salsa verde, a blend of garlic, capers, parsley and olive oil.
Pork cheek and beef tongue terrine ($10), reminiscent of corned beef, came with thick slices of olive oil brushed toast. The tender meat itself was strewn with finely diced onions, carrots and green peppers.
We ordered a pizza with Manila clams, chilies and parsley ($16). Many top pizzerias use canned clams, including Pepe’s in New Haven. Not at Franny’s, where fresh ingredients are paramount. The briny bivalves probably made the pizza a little too salty. The crust was good, but a little too puffy at the edges.
Al dente Rigatoncini ($16) was tossed with house-made pork sausage, dandelion greens and chilies, then showered with Parmigiano Reggiano. The well-balanced dish benefited from bitterness of the greens and the broth from the luscious pork sausage.
On their menu, Stephens and Feinberg credited everything they source, including sustainably produced Berkshire pork (Heritage Foods USA), basil (Satur Farms in Cutchogue, New York), organic dandelion greens (Blooming Hill Farm in Blooming Grove, New York) and flour (King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont). The menu even explains the couple’s eco-friendly practices: a combination of wine and hydroelectric power, kitchen grease converted to biodiesel, eco-friendly cleaning products and composted kitchen waste.
No matter how eco-friendly a restaurant may be, it’s only worth eating at if they’re producing flavorful food. Happily, Franny’s business practices don’t hinder them from producing high level Italian food.