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Franny 2 Star

Eating at Franny’s a dozen or so times over the past three years has always been a satisfying experience food and drink-wise. The two star Bruni love letter will only serve to cement the legacy of the “haughty t” pizza trailblazer. Obviously I enjoy the restaurant tremendously but haven’t been in quite a while. The reasons for this beside a move southward are two:

1) The last few times I dined at Franny’s the service was unapologetically unfriendly. I was discussing the review this morning with a dining companion and she has the same impression and similar experience in what I can best describe as service that was detached, unconcerned and uncomfortably pointed to sell up everything on the menu; having ordered pizza and a salad, I felt slightly embarrassed when the waitress asked, “what would you like for an appetizer?” Met with a bill for 120 clams for two at the end of the evening, her apparent disappointment throughout the evening at our cheapskatedness was a bit unsettling. I hate complaining about service and try to do so only when there is merit but I’ve never dropped $60 on a bottle of wine before and had the waiter or waitress not offer to pour it. When during my conversation this morning, my friend asked, “Did he talk about how bad the service is?” I shrugged and asked if Bruni ever has an authentic dining experience with scornful service. I doubt it but maybe I’m wrong.

2) The pizza seems to be overpriced. This has always been the case, I know, and once you know what to expect there tends to be a normalization of the prices in ones mind. I do have to admit the first few times eating there I experienced a bit of sticker shock. This is something else I'm sure Bruni can't relate to.

I do like Franny’s for a number of other reasons not the least of which is the quality of ingredients and menu options (a nice pizza too) but with the two stars there is a standard set which I am not convinced it lives up to. Maybe I need to re-investigate a few times to be sure.

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  1. I have had exactly your experience with both the service (am I the only one to find it just a wee bit too self righteous) and the prices, which is why I stopped going. I really think a couple of pizzas and a glass of vino should not set you back 100 hoopies. Although my experience with the Grilled Octopus was the opposite of Bruni's. It was very tender . When I read the review today I thought maybe I should give it another try. But now I'm having second thoughts. Especially since you can get excellent pizza on Vanderbilt Avenue for 1/2 the price

    4 Replies
    1. re: kezdf

      I plug Lucali on Henry Street any day or night (except Tuesdays when they are closed). But that is for pizza. They are BYOB and no sides, as of yet. But no attitude and prices are reasonable.

      1. re: Brigita

        is there an online menu for lucali? is it still just pizzas and calzones, do they serve any desserts? thanks.

        1. re: kevin

          i would re-investigate. i've found the service to be fine and the pizza to be the best in the area.

          1. re: kevin

            Just pizza and calzones at Lucalli's. Nothing else. (not that there's anything wrong with that...)

            I had been meaning to try Franny's for a while. Looks like I'll have to wait until the post-review crowds die down now. *grumble*

      2. I expect this two starrer to be incredibly controversial. It's true that I don't eat at Franny's much because of the cost of a meal there, but all the meals I have had there have been terrific. I guess I don't feel entitled to set their prices--they are what they are. I continue to marvel about why people get so worked up about this.

        Wouldn't compare Franny's to Lucali's because they're not trying to be the same type of restaurant. Lucali's does very very good pizza, while Franny's is really about so much more than the pizza, namely, a menu that makes often quite inventive use of greenmarket ingredient. I think Bruni was very much in touch with that, while so many others can't get past the "pies at my neighborhood slice joint cost so much less than this."

        5 Replies
        1. re: Mandymac

          Agreed: Opinions on Franny's seem about as polarized as they are about the Park Slope Food Coop. People either love or hate the place, typically depending on how they feel about the prices.

          I'm a fan--I find the food (the seasonal apps! the clam pie!), wine, and cocktails (rosemary lemonade and vodka!) to be so good, I never seem to mind the bill. I'm sorry to see it will be getting more crowded in the future...

          1. re: laurabee

            I know people love to moan over Franny's prices, but personally I'd rather pay a little more to an environmentally responsible restaurant. I understand their product is expensive but sometimes we forget the hidden costs and impacts of mass produced inexpensive food.

            1. re: ratgirl

              I'm a huge Franny's fan (yeah for the two stars!!), but I can't take my husband because he's always moaning about the prices. I don't understand his gripe - we spend the same amount eating at Otto, which I view as comparable (except it does not strive, like Franny's does, to support environmentally sustainable agriculture).

              In any event, each time I eat there, I am inspired by their inventive food combinations. The vegetable dishes are always spectacular. I have had three or four outstanding pasta dishes. And my kids (!) love the octopus, which is invariably tender and delicious, and the sea salt pizza (who doesn't love some good salt floating in fabulous olive oil on a perfect pizza crust?). Plus, I thought Bruni's review completely missed another reason to head to Franny's - the cocktails! The bar is just as creative as the kitchen, using herbs, fruits and vegetables to great effect.

              1. re: Treece

                Although its been a while since I've gone, I am a big fan of Franny's and have been since it opened. In my mind, it is one of the few places around that makes Pizza close to the way I remember it in Europe.

                I guess its expensive, but that's because its "just pizza". But not all pizzas are alike, just as not all burgers are alike. Can you really say that an $8 - $10 burger from Bonnies or Molly's is so much ridiculously more expensive than the $.99 double stack at Wendy's? Just because they are both the same type of food, does not mean they are comparable.

          2. Setting aside the quality of the service (I've been 3 or 4 times and it's always been fine) and the quality of the food (I've loved everything I've had there) I'm not sure why people think Franny's prices are so high.

            Don't think of it as an expensive, individual pizza. Think of it as a delicious entree, made with excellent ingredients, that will fill you up as well as any other entree.

            With that in mind, their prices $14 - $18 a pizza as I recall, seem perfectly reasonable to me.

            1. Totally! First of all, I don't understand why Bruni did this review years after the stinking place has been opened.. I mean, it like reviewing olive vine, or joe's pizza. Secondly, I concur with your impressions. Service is unfriendly--we live blocks away, went for a nice dinner but not extremely hungry, and we were practically chastised for wanting to share a pizza and a salad... "not very hungry today are we?" was the exact reply. Thirdly, It's insane to pay those prices for burnt pizza. Sorry, but I like my toast on the dark side, and love blisters on dough, but i do not think its cool to overcharge so much for dough and toppings.

              We eat at Amorina--maybe less sublime to some of you folks, but friendlier, and we think better.

              2 Replies
              1. re: simsum

                > I don't understand why Bruni did this review years after the stinking place has been opened.

                I see what you mean, but I also think one advantage Chowhound has over mainstream media is that we refresh the data more often. Hounds often weigh in on places the rest of us think we already know - and sometimes we're surprised at what we read. So I won't hold it against a mainstream media outlet that visits a long-established restaurant to offer a recent appraisal.

                1. re: simsum

                  The real reason for the timing of Bruni's review was the coming-of-age of Chef Joshua McFadden - after his on-the-job-training at Momofuku and Lupa. Franny's now has pasta dishes the rock.

                2. wow...that's exactly the same post i would have written. same experience too. except that i won't go back any more. happier to spend my money elsewhere.