Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I know it sounds like an old movie, "The Frankies Go To Sicily," maybe a road picture with Bob Hope and Der Bingle, replete with laughs and crooning, but our good friends at Frankies Spuntino are no Hope and Crosby (too ethnic, for one thing, and besides, Hope and Crosby would never visit Sicily--the spicy food would probably kill them) but when we heard they were heading to the Old Country we packed our bags and waited by the phone. And waited. You know how these things go. Anyway, we missed the trip but now we've got this little video so we can pretend.

In case you don't know, Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli are restaurateurs, authors and first rate chefs, but they're not your standard Food Network foodies or haute cuisine celebrities dancing with squirt bottles--these guys are keeping a tradition alive. They make deceptively simple Italian food with fresh, healthy, local, humanely raised ingredients. Inspired by grandma's cooking, but brighter, with more vegetables and freshness, these dishes are hardly old fashioned, and yet...they are. This is Italian-American comfort food, but not the dull, cliched, checkered tablecloth and chianti bottle minstrelsy of Olive Garden or Buca di Beppo--this is a beautifully balanced cuisine, a symphony of tastes, food for the soul whether it's tomato and onion salad or fancy lobster with fava beans. Try their recipe for the old standby meatballs here, or their delicious Cavatelli with Sausage and Browned Sage Butter here. Better yet, buy their book, or visit one of their two tiny joints in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The sauce is always on.

The Frankies: these guys could be my cousins.

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