Spuntino on Court Street

Frankies 457 on Court Street in Carroll Gardens is a destination restaurant. Granted, the restaurant is frequented by locals, but mostly it is a parade of town cars and yellow cabs that transport diners to this restaurant. Six years ago, we were some of those transported diners. We jumped out of a yellow cab to try a new Italian restaurant I had read about in a neighborhood I had never heard of. At that time, we had no intention of moving to Brooklyn (we were living in Manhattan and didn’t think there was a reason to live in another borough). Little did we know that this restaurant would change that. We fell in love. Not only did we fall in love with the restaurant, but we also fell in love with Carroll Gardens. Three months later, we were moving from Manhattan and haven’t left Carroll Gardens since.

The menu is Italian; not overly northern or southern, but a comfortable mix. The menu features small plates (or spuntino; an Italian word for snacks) that are meant to be shared. Some of our favorites are crostini (especially the ricotta crostini and the avocado crostini), a roasted vegetable salad, and an arugula salad.

Pastas are also well represented on the menu. My hands down favorite is their home-made cavatelli with Faiccos hot sausage & browned sage butter. My wife, a forever vegetarian, enjoys this pasta with roasted cauliflower in place of the sausage. They don’t advertise this substitution, but its a secret we’ve picked up from the friendly staff over these past six years.

Not only is the food consistently good, the atmosphere is the standard for the “New Brooklyn” restaurant. Think Edison lightbulbs hanging from a tin ceiling. Exposed brick walls surrounding a candle lit room. Food served to a soundtrack of ageless class rock, such as The Band and The Rolling Stones.

In the warmer months, the back yard turns into an al fresco dining space. With a glass of Italian white wine, this is one of our favorite places to be on a warm summer night.

Each time we eat at Frankies, I’m taken back to our fateful first dinner there. The southern end of Court Street was quiet at that time and Frankies was on the fringe of any excitement. Today, Frankies is in the middle of all of the excitement of Court Street. It seems like we weren’t the only people who were drawn to the neighborhood by this not to be missed restaurant.