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Unlikely Hero

The brick-walled, tin-ceilinged spuntino is less than a restaurant and more than a bar.

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Frankies' singular sandwich.  

Frankies 457 Court Street Spuntino is a mouthful. So are its unique customized sandwiches—the highlight of a deceptively simple but thoroughly satisfying menu that changes often, according to the season and the whims of the Frankies, co-chefs and owners Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo. The brick-walled, tin-ceilinged spuntino is less than a restaurant (though the food’s terrific), more than a bar (affable bartender, respectable Negroni), and already, in its infancy, the sort of homey, affordable, drop-in-anytime place that gives interlopers from distant Zip Codes a serious case of neighborhood envy. The menu reads like a shopping list, with mix-and-match categories for beans and grains, vegetables, meats, and cheeses, plus a choice of sandwich breads and fillings. But the ingredients are prime (and often organic) and the chefs make the most of them, whether they’re dressing long leaves of verdant puntarelle with fragrant olive oil, capers, and anchovies, grating pecorino over bitter escarole, or roasting Brussels sprouts and acorn squash till they’re irresistibly sweet. Frankies doesn’t claim to have invented the small-plates strategy, but it has made significant strides in the sandwich realm. As any aficionado will tell you, it’s all about the bread, and Frankies has taken the unorthodox but ingenious approach of using Sullivan Street Bakery’s excellent Roman-style square pizza, inverted so that the toppings morph into sturdy, finely seasoned condiments. Room-temperature fillings include an ungloppily elegant eggplant marinara, cured meats from Faicco’s, and a bounty of wholesome roasted vegetables; add on a bit of greenery, like Caesar-dressed romaine, and pick your pizza—zucchini, say, or classic tomato. The dough is thin, almost crisp, and sandwich-perfect.

Frankies 457 Court Street Spuntino
457 Court Street, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; 718-403-0033


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