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May 1, 2006 02:07 PM

Frankies On Clinton - A review

  • w

Went to Frankies last week during the shoulder recovery (had to suck it up and take the gf out to a close by place to thank her for her wonderful care!) Wanting to go to a place close by we decided on trying the new Itallian place on Clinton - Frankies. Originally I thought it was part of Frank's empire (Supper, Lil Frankies, Franks etc) but it's not apparently this guy owns Frankies on Clinton and a Frankies in Williamsburg.

The host was very attentive and nice. I walked in wearing my sling and the host understood immediatley why we couldn't sit at the available table. He allowed us to wait at the bar (drinking only water) until one of the tables along the wall opened up while having a nice conversation with us even though the restaurant was fairly crowded. The waitress was knowledgable and friendly.

We started with a cheese plate (Pecorino Romano, Pepato, Castlerosso, Mountain Gorgonzola and Amaltella) and then I had the homemade Cavatelli with hot sausage and the gf had a paperdelli with lamb or pork ragu (can't remember which).

Although the ambiance was great and the place was fun, the food was average at best. The Cavatelli was slightly firm so I liked the texture and the sausage was very good but the dish just didn't pull together fantastically well. The gf's dish was ok, i've had much better ragu at many of the lower east side/ east village itallian joints. Both dishes were simple but for the price I would have expected a little more taste. The cheese was good but no where close to the quality of otto's cheeses.

With the cheese, food, a coffee, tea and dessert the bill came to about $80 (we didn't have wine). Everything was fresh but for the price I would have expected more, Frankies certaintly doesn't supplant Max or Franks but does have a charming atmosphere.

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  1. What? There's no Frankies in Williamsburg.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hf
      david sprague

      It's Frankie's Spuntino 457, which is on the fringe of Carroll Gardens...

    2. b
      Bob Martinez

      The mother ship Frankies (Frankies 457) is on Court St. in Brooklyn. Sorry you didn't like the cavatelli and hot sausage - it's considered a standout at the Brooklyn location by many (including me.)

      One of the nice things about the Brooklyn Frankies is the wine list. A lots of selections for under $40 and a number under $30. Is this the case at the Manahattan location?

      9 Replies
      1. re: Bob Martinez


        I thought it was pretty good, just not great. There were alot of wines on the wall so I'm assuming the wine list was pretty extensive. Since I was on my 2nd vike of the day we didn't even open the list.

        1. re: Bob Martinez

          "it's considered a standout at the Brooklyn location by many (including me)."

          Bob-you have often written to defend this place, but the truth is that 'many' do not like the place, either the food (mediocre) or the service (rude and attitudinal on occasion). I think the more accurate assessment from the responses of outer borough hounds is mixed.

          1. re: Pupster
            Bob Martinez

            "I think the more accurate assessment from the responses of outer borough hounds is mixed."

            I said many - not all. There have been plenty of positive posts about the food there. The place got a nice write ups in both the Times *and* the Village Voice and they do good business. So good they opened a Manhattan branch. Sounds like they're doing something right.

            I continue to marvel at the number of posters who complain about the supposed "attitude" of the staff at Frankies. I've been there more than 10 times and never seen a bit of it. They are thoroughly professional and even friendly.

            Somewhere early in the game they got that aloof reputation, probably bestowed by some people with a massive sense of entitlement who were told they'd have to wait for a table. Yes, they don't take reservations. Neither does Al Di La but somehow no one ever complains about that.

            Now people walk in expecting to see attitude and by God they do. Even if it's only in their mind.

            "Did you see THAT? He gave me a look!!!"

            It's amazing what the power of suggestion will do.


            1. re: Bob Martinez

              It's natural to think that your opinion and experience are more legitimate and accurate than others, but enough people had bad experiences that they posted about on CH. (Go back and read them, Bob.) I doubt that all of them were 'looking for attitude' as you say. Wishing the negative incidents away doesn't mean they didn't happen.

              Your original reply using the term 'many' gave the impression that the general consensus is positive -- it's not: the general consensus is mixed. By that, it means some people, like you, like it and some people don't (and feel strongly enough to write about it.)

              Also, the fact that they are opening another location doesn't really say that much about the success of their formula; after all these are the same people who made a lot of money running Moomba, not really known as a culinary destination. Maybe they just needed another business venture.

              Frankly, to me, this OP's mediocre experience seems just about right, as it applies to both locations. Mediocre and not worth a special visit.

              1. re: Pupster
                Bob Martinez

                "It's natural to think that your opinion and experience are more legitimate and accurate than others, but enough people had bad experiences that they posted about on CH. (Go back and read them, Bob.)"

                You know, I *did* read them and they are a whole lot more positive than negative. See the link below.

                With all that talk of "attitude" there have been precious few examples of just how that attitude manifested itself. Just saying that it was there isn't particularly convincing. Remember that sense of entitlement I spoke about in my earlier post?

                Here's one that cuts to the chase -

                "Tried getting into Frankie’s 457, but we were shocked that there was an HOUR wait (For what I have no idea?)"

                That's not atttitude, that's a busy place that doesn't take reservations. The thing is, those wait times rarely turn out to be that bad. The 40 minute wait times I've been quoted almost invariably turn out to be 15 or 20. You have a glass of wine at the bar and a table opens up just as you finish it.

                We've already stretched the boundaries by talking about this on the Manhattan board. If you'd like to continue the conversation you can email me or start a thread on OB.

                PS - I enjoy your posts.


                1. re: Bob Martinez

                  I enjoy your posts as well, and if anybody else was as dogmatic about Frankie's in the face of so much contrary opinion, I'd swear it was a shill. (I know you are not. :))

                  I understand you like Frankie's very much. I respect that and I'm not trying to convince you otherwise. I just wanted to make clear to anyone reading this first thread on the Manhattan's Frankie's that there is no one-sided consensus on the Brooklyn Frankie's. It's a mixed opinion.

                  I understand that more recent posts tend to be more positive. It could mean one of two things: 1) the problematic issues pointed out by earlier posters have been resolved, or 2) the people who were negative stopped going and therefore, more positive responders remain to post. Nevertheless, the food is just ok, has always been just ok. I much prefer other places in the neighborhood.

                  1. re: Pupster

                    recently went to frankie's two nights in a row this week -- monday (zero wait) and tuesday (about 50 minutes!). staff is friendly with very little attitude. more like the too-cool-for-school neighborhood diners that give this place an attitudinal vibe.


                    frankie's prices relative to the LES and its clinton st brethren are actually good, sad to say.

                    cavatelli was simple and tasty.

                    too many tables crammed in there, and it was very humid with the door closed. hopefully their AC holds up during the summer.

                    tried to order the lamb ragu on both nights but it was sold out! ordered the ravioli on the second night and felt it was just too sweet and also seasonally inappropriate.

                    like many no reservation joints, i suspect that being physically present and waiting gets you a table sooner than going off to have a drink. just a suspicion...

                    overall rating, i will be back ... but only on slow nights.

                    1. re: furryonnorfolk

                      I know that this last post in this thread is fairly dated, but does anyone have any recent info on Frankie's on Clinton? I'm interested in more recent food reviews and information on wait times during the week. I'm considering going on a Tuesday night. I've been to the original in Brooklyn and notice that many of the old favorites are on the LES menu.

            2. re: Pupster

              We actually had a very good experience there a couple of weeks ago. You can read my review here:


          2. The food is average at best.