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July 13, 2009

Brooklyn's Own Little Italian Empire

Frankies 457
Frankies' famous pork braciola marinara.
Photo: Michael Harlan Turkell for Frankies Spuntino

by Ondine Cohane

On my recent trip back to New York, I couldn't miss a pilgrimage to Frankies 457, one of my favorite haunts in Carroll Gardens. The restaurant enjoyed a buzzy opening a few years back; it was the perfect spot for dinner with friends or a lunch getaway in an area that was short on great restaurants. Although Carroll Gardens has become hipster central, Frankies is still a go-to spot for great salads like escarole with sliced red onion, walnuts, and pecorino; homemade gnocchi marinara with fresh ricotta; and crostini with avocado and pesto. It's the way I most like to eat--simple dishes made with seasonal ingredients.

The owners--they are both named Frank--have been busy building a foodie empire since I left the city. Their excellent new coffee shop in Cobble Hill, Café Pedlar, has some of the best brews in the hood (I went with an iced café latte, which was good enough to make me forget my Italian espresso--just for a minute). The menu at Prime Meats, right next door to Frankies, emphasizes locally sourced produce and meat (eventually the duo would like to have their own farm upstate); and this fall, a café in Red Hook called Delightful Coffee Shop is set to open on the corner of Commerce and Van Brunt streets. If you're heading to Brooklyn, check out one of the boys' establishments--you'll get a taste of why people from the Upper West Side to Wall Street are trekking to this borough.

Further reading:
* More from Ondine's New York trip: The Standard, not so standard
* Word of Mouth: The buzz worldwide

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