Scenario 1: The 2 train comes immediately. You arrive in Park Slope in nearly 20 minutes and within 5 more, you are seated at Franny's. A bottle of wine, an appetizer, a pasta, and a pizza are shared throughout the evening. The bill arrives and minimal damage has been done. Mission accomplished: you have spent a pleasant night with Brooklyn prices and delicious food - and all in unfamiliar territory. However, the story ends there, with not much else to report.
Scenario 2: Trains are rerouted due to weekend repairs. You finally arrive to a packed Franny's at prime time on a Saturday night and are told the wait will be an hour and a half. This just means one thing - it is time to make a night out of it. Forget the recession, how far you feel from Manhattan, and order up some drinks and appetizers to quiet the rumbling stomachs (or nerves). Yes, the night has just begun.
A trip to Brooklyn with a few friends had been my solution to calm the nerves of one of my oldest friends who was proposing to his girlfriend the next day. When he left Manhattan earlier in the evening, he was fully expecting Scenario 1 - ready for a relaxing, low key, and even well-priced evening. The others of us, always in search of a full experience or adventure, happily welcomed Scenario 2 as it quickly became a reality. What else were we really going to do with the night? Being rested the night before proposing is definitely overrated! It is much more important to be surrounded by great company and indulging as much as possible while you still just have your own tab to worry about.
Franny's has a large bar area as well as side counters and stools at the front of the restaurant. We made ourselves right at home - ordering up prosecco and cocktails - toasting our friend's last night as an unengaged man. Knowing the long wait ahead would equal many drinks, we decided to balance it out with a few plates to share - potato croquettes with fresh Parmesan and crostino of chicken liver and pancetta. Plenty of time had passed before we were seated so we were definitely still hungry enough to order up a feast once at the table. I just had to try out those signature pizzas that I have heard so much about!
We ordered two pies from their brick oven - tomato, mozzarella with sausage and hot peppers and tomato, provolone piccante with wood-roasted onions. Both were simple, yet delicious. Their pizzas have all the components that I crave from a brick oven: thin crust, crisp (but not burnt - even a bit doughy), and a unique sauce (this one being slightly sweet). We then moved on to a few side dishes - celery root with olives and sheep's milk ricotta as well as the wood-roasted octopus with fennel and salsa verde. Two totally different dishes, yet both perfectly prepared. I was unfamiliar with celery root, but it reminded me of squash (one of my favorite fall vegetables) with a celery flavor. The octopus may be the most expensive item on the menu, but the wood-roasted flavors make it well worth it - and, again, this was a night of celebrations - all worries were set aside! As if this wasn't enough for a feast, we added one more dish - rigatoni with pork sausage and Brussels Sprouts. As with the rest of the dishes, there was nothing left on the plate as it was cleared.
At this point, there was no turning back. Desserts and after dinner drinks were a must. We did order and devour three - cannolo, vanilla panna cotta with saba, and praline gelato- accompanied with grappa and limoncello. But, if there is one of the sweets that is a must, it is the gelato. We were all fighting over the fresh chunks of praline - an amazing distraction at the end of the night for our "slightly" anxious friend. Unfortunately, all distractions came to an end once the bill arrived! The night was certainly an unforgettable one.
So, I leave it up to you when venturing over to Park Slope. Just know that both scenarios are possible at Franny's. You know I would take Scenario 2 any day (even if it means a few more PB&Js for lunch over the next few weeks). After all, I think the night was a great success - she did say yes the next day!
CONGRATS LISA AND CHARLES!!
Let the festivities continue!
295 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Phone: (718) 230-0221