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Week of June 3, 2002

the underground gourmet
Supper Time
It's no surprise that Supper, the new East Village osteria, is an instant word-of-mouth hit: The man behind the restaurant (and the stove), wearing a T-shirt that reads the big meatball and dodging three-foot flames, is local hero Frank Prisinzano, chef-owner of the perpetually packed Italian-American Frank and its five-month-old spinoff, Lil' Frankie's. A victim of his own success, Prisinzano was practically forced by fundamentalist Frank fans into opening the third link in his East Village empire, which specializes in northern-style cucina. "I'm totally in love with Italian cooking -- southern Italian, northern Italian," says the polpette kingpin. "But I can't change anything on Frank's menu or it becomes a big uproar, like 'Whaddya mean you don't have that?' " So in order to indulge his appetite for Venetian calf's liver, bollito misto, and bagna cauda, Prisinzano renovated an Alphabet City office, furnishing it with a weathered tile floor, rough wooden communal tables, a bustling open kitchen, funky old-lady light fixtures, and mismatched floral-pattern plates that evoke Sunday supper at Grandma's house. "I want the place to have the feeling of home," he says. The real attraction, though, is simple, well-executed, traditional dishes like garlic-rubbed bruschetta drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt; an herby minestrone Genovese; perfectly thin veal Milanese with an irresistible golden-brown bread-crumb crust; a luscious Piedmontese disc of chocolate-hazelnut custard with fresh berries, all at familiar Frank prices. Although a pasta or two might be on the far side of al dente, no one's perfect -- not even Grandma.— ROB PATRONITE
156 East 2nd Street


best of the week
Blue Crab Festival on June 8 and 9
Park Slope's Minnow is throwing its first annual Blue Crab Festival, inspired by old-fashioned crab boils: There'll be plenty of claws, backfin, and other kinds of sea creatures (including fresh blue crabs boiled in beer).
The Minnow
442 Ninth Street


Move Over Good Humor
If the Good Humor truck doesn't jingle-jangle its way down your block this summer, you might try your neighborhood Godiva shop. Chocolate Eclair bars and King Cones have nothing on the chocolate giant's new $3.50 ice-cream bar, a superrich concoction of swirly caramel-laced ice cream in a pecan-sprinkled milk-chocolate shell. You won't even miss the tinny strains of "The Entertainer." (Available at most Godiva boutiques throughout Manhattan.)

Ask Gael
Where are you feeling a greenhouse effect?
I'm betting that the low, lean, and sexy intimacy of Jimmy's Downtown will lure heat-seeking grown-ups on the prowl to this unlikely eastern shoal of 57th Street. Especially if there's hope of a welcoming hug from Jimmy's Bronx Café's matinee-idol host, Jimmy Rodriguez. Slither through the crowd in the all-white, candlelit bar and lounge with slashes of red and a tsunami of discreetly silent tellys. Settle into a booth out back where amiable sally-league servers lyricize over yuca-crusted scallops, the fine fried-artichoke salad, a huge and juicy pork chop, and luscious grilled sturgeon on creamy avocado mash. Early on, the kitchen was still uneven, but executive chef Linda Japngie is hopeful, having snagged a new hand from her Bouley days. So if the tamarind-lobster resists the knife (a tad too tough, but what a delicious brine), eat it with your fingers, or settle for the crispy soft-shell crab in a tomato-caper stew. And don't leave without indulging in lush coconut flan.
Jimmy Downtown
400 East 57th Street

Bites & Buzz Archive

Week of May 27
A (blue) lobsterfest; Restaurant 222's $20 prix-fixe; summer restaurant week begins; Citymeals-on-Wheels salute; will Butter make Gael phat?
Week of May 20
Ice ice baby; Jimmy Rodriguez heads downtown; the new Zagat of the wine world?; Gael finds Greeks bearing gifts
Week of May 13
Coda Café becomes Café 66; Beacon revives a nineteenth-century tradition; The Palm gets back to its red-sauce roots.

and more ...

Photos: From top to bottom- Carina Salvi (2); Kenneth Chen.

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