When we’re talking to people on our text-based recommendation platform, Text Rex, we hear this line a lot: “I’m looking for a place like [restaurant name] but not [restaurant name]. There are also typically some other qualifiers thrown into the mix. For example, it might go something like: “Hey, what’s a restaurant that’s exactly like Carbone, except not as expensive as Carbone, but still exactly as good as Carbone, that can seat ten of us at 8pm tonight.” Sounds fun, right? It actually is. We’re always up for a good challenge. But sometimes there just isn’t a good answer.
Then again, sometimes there is. And Faun is a perfect example.
Faun is a Prospect Heights restaurant brought to you by a former Vinegar Hill House chef, and it’s exactly the restaurant you’d be looking for if you wanted somewhere that’s “like Vinegar Hill House, but not Vinegar Hill House.” The menu is similar, the casual-but-cute atmosphere is familiar, and they even have a pleasant back garden from which to enjoy your Vinegar Hill House-esque food from.
To be fair, Faun is more than just a restaurant that will remind you of another restaurant. It’s a place we like very much on its own merit, a high quality neighborhood spot that’s also worth traveling for. It’s also a restaurant that understands that putting pasta on a menu is the same thing as putting Sean Paul on a pop song - instant upgrade. As a matter of fact, much of the Faun menu changes frequently, but the one constant that you can rely on are the pastas. They’re always creative and range from very good to “Gimme The Light.” Lean heavy on that section of the menu. We also like the short but well curated wine list and the friendly service, and the fact that it’s not a tough place to get into.
At least it isn’t yet. But if Faun does end up becoming a tough table to secure, we’ll be ready with some alternative suggestions.
Ever heard of Carbone?
If you see this on the menu, you eat it. This light and airy chicken liver comes served in a bowl with a giant piece of crispy chicken skin for you to use as a crunchy salty accoutrement. And yes, I had to look up how to spell that word.
A very good pasta that you will enjoy. You might even think to yourself, wow, there’s a lot of swiss chard in this thing, which is something you’ve probably never thought to yourself. Think about that.
This pasta is sort of like short rigatoni, and it’s served with a pork ragu. Familiar and excellent.
We’re always down for a squid ink pasta, but let’s be honest, can you really taste the squid ink? If you said yes, you’re lying. What this tastes like is perfect al dente pasta with some squid and some chiles, which is to say, excellent. Order it.
A very nice piece of pork, situated on top of broccoli rabe and apricot. It’s tender, sweet, and tasty.