That picture is what the outside of Frankies 570 Spuntino looked like last night. You really need to be confident that you’re in the right place to open that door. It struck me as being very much in the style of Franks Castronovo and Falcinelli, who own and run the restaurant, and who, if they didn’t invent the current fashion of Brooklyn grunge chic that dominates large chunks of that borough (and maybe they did), they’re certainly the poster boys for it in the food world.
They have that we’re-so-cool-we-don't-need-to-shave-or-even-trim-our-beards-and-we’re-certainly-not-going-to-try-to-impress-you-because-we-don’t-care-what-you-think vibe that, damn it, is quite alluring.
I was invited to family-and-friends night at their new West Village restaurant, which isn’t even slated to open for another month, hence all the construction materials and building permits and hidden entrance. Eventually it will have a perfectly nice and conventional entrance with big windows letting natural light into the restaurant.
But last night, with the walls boarded up, it was dark, and I could barely see the food at my candle-lit table.
But the cool insider people were there. Life and Style reporter Juliet Izon swung by my table to say hello (we periodically eat together on expeditions organized by New York Post reporter Max Gross to iconic or merely awesome restaurants in the outer boroughs, such as Pirosmani in Brookly and Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan in Queens).
I ran into Food & Wine editor in chief Dana Cowin on my way to the bathroom. Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appétit, who I never see anymore, sat down at my table and snacked on the cheese from my antipasti plate while we mused about changes in the food scene. His two-year-old daughter Julep snacked on my salumi, which is fine. There was plenty to eat.
What I ate:
three crostini: sungold tomato and basil; white anchovy, avocado and setti anni peppers; and rocotta with speck and honey
saffron arancini stuffed with bolognese sauce
vegetable antipasti including broccoli raab and a variety of olives
cured meats including capicola and two types of sopressata.
heirloom tomatoes and pickled market beans
fennel, celery root and parsley salad
grilled squid with pickled peppers
cavatelli with hot sausage
meatballs with pine nuts and raisins
egg yolk & cauliflower ravioli with brown butter, almonds and anchovy
Mast Brothers chocolate ganache tart