Franco’s “Italian and Irish” restaurant in Troy [DTW]
Curiosity got the better of me tonight. I’ve long driven past this very neighborhoody institution adjacent to well known Ashoka and across the street from the should-be-well-known Picanos’ (when will I write Picano’s the beaming review they deserve?). My heart sank when I walked thru Franco’s colorful entrance only to discover a Saturday night prime time crowd of just five occupied tables. And by occupied, I mean by the Senior set.
The friendly staff and the customers were raving about the premium Italian specialties. But, there was no way I was even going to spring for the $14 spaghetti and meatballs or $16 chicken parm’, let alone the $20 dishes. Based on the cheaper dishes I ordered, I’m glad I trusted my intuition. Nevertheless, I’d be interested to hear—from someone I trust—about the more expensive touted dishes.
The kid’s spaghetti with meat sauce, the fish&chips and the shepherd’s pie all were just a cut above Ram’s Horn. But, as I indicated, the atmosphere is charming, and the employees and other customers all seemed to think quite highly of the place. So, maybe it was just me, or maybe I had bad luck when choosing dishes.
i have been to franco's many times. for a while, it was in the heavy rotation of "close to home/want to go out/italian sounds good." it offered good food, dependable family owned service, and reasonable prices. however, i began to tire of the place, so we did not go as frequently. then the rochester road construction project came and crushed them. the last time i was there, they had cut back their entire menu to 10 or 12 items and it was a ghost town in the dining room. they managed to survive the construction project, unlike mr.b's, arby's, tcby, and a couple more businesses (food and non-food). i thought that the irish/italian combination was a bit odd, but give them credit for trying to reinvent themselves and ride a little buzz wave (i.e., larcos melding itself into the big beaver tavern - and it looks to be a success).
still, i have not been back since the big change over. and the prices are noticably steeper. the old franco's pushed value (pastas for $10-$12 and veal dishes for $15, if i recall) for decent quality food.
we may go back and try out the new franco's, but i don't know when. i can think of a lot more places i would like to go instead - including picano's across the street, which is a very good place.
Jinkies, VTB. They're not afraid to charge, are they? Those prices make my meal at Giovanni's look downright midrange. My perch, IIRC, was $25 or $27 (plus tax and tip, obviously), and it came with soup or salad, bread, and a side of the best pasta I've ever had.
Thanks for taking one for the team, sir.