295 Flatbush Ave., nr. Prospect Pl., Prospect Heights; 718-230-0221
Like panelle and rice balls, potato croquettes have traditionally been relegated to dusty old focaccerias in the Little Italys of the world, from Mulberry Street to Gravesend. But in this fritti-obsessed era, they’re enjoying a renaissance, and our hands-down favorites can be found at Franny’s, the stylishly contemporary Brooklyn pizzeria known for its superlative wood-oven pies and its deep-seated devotion to local and seasonal produce. Spuds aren’t the kind of vegetable that chefs of Andrew Feinberg’s ilk tend to rhapsodize about. Heirloom tomatoes, sure. Pink-speckled Italian chicories, absolutely. But Feinberg treats his Yukon Golds with the same respect, dare we say adoration, as the rest of his assiduously sourced ingredients, enriching the smooth purée with butter and eggs, spiking it with sharp provolone piccante, and coating the hand-rolled balls with bread crumbs made from pulverized Sullivan St Bakery filone. A turn in the fryer achieves a golden-brown, sublimely crisp shell, which Feinberg dusts with a blizzard of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, as soft and weightless as snowflakes.
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).