photo credit: Henry Hargreaves
If you have an older sibling, you probably know what it’s like to be referred to as so-and-so’s younger brother or sister. Maybe everyone called you “Sara’s sister, right?” when you showed up to ninth grade, or maybe you were known as “little Mike” to all the older kids. It was annoying, most likely.
I personally am a tyrannical older sibling, so I can’t relate to this. But Fausto can.
Fausto, first of all, is located in the space formerly occupied by Franny’s. And second, it’s run by a former owner and chef from L’Artusi. If you’re unfamiliar, Franny’s was a beloved restaurant that made great pizzas, but was best known for being everyone’s favorite place in Park Slope from 2003 until it closed at the end of 2017. It was a quintessential Brooklyn restaurant, and one of the first places in this part of Brooklyn that people from all over the city traveled to. L’Artusi, meanwhile, has a 9.5 rating from us, and is really a place you should go tonight if you haven’t been. So for at least a while, Fausto is likely to be referred to by many as “the new Franny’s” or “the place from the L’Artusi people,” if not both combined.
And it does share some things in common with those places, falling somewhere in the middle of the two. It’s more dressed up than Franny’s, which was more of a neighborhood spot, and there are no pizzas, though they still make plenty of use of the wood-burning oven. At the same time, it’s more casual than L’Artusi, but they do have a similarly extensive list of pastas.
But if you can leave its cool older siblings behind, Fausto is best considered on its own. As a very good, modern Italian restaurant. The menu is filled with things you’ll want to eat, like a snapper crudo, meatballs, orechiette with pork, a simple fusilli with tomato sauce, a roast chicken, and a lamb chop. All of it is well-executed, and very enjoyable. Yes, you can eat similar dishes at other high-end, modern Italian places around the city and country, but if there were a loyalty program for tagliatelle ragu and little gem salads, we’d enroll, so no complaints there. Additionally, the service is notably friendly and welcoming, and the wine list and cocktails are excellent.
Fausto is a great choice for a night out that falls somewhere between “random Friday date night” and special occasion. Stop by and have a cocktail and a bowl of pasta at the bar to celebrate a small victory, like finishing a big project at work, or finding the Apple TV remote after three months. Or make a reservation when you have some out of town visitors you want to show around Park Slope/Prospect Heights.
Don’t worry so much about what came before.
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Imagine the best possible version of a salad from a suburban pizza place. This kind of tastes like that.
Red Snapper Crudo
If you’re the person who says, “Should we order the crudo?” every time you’re at a restaurant like this, then sure, order the crudo.
This cauliflower comes with currants and pine nuts. It’s one of the more unusual appetizers here, and we like it a lot.
This orechiette comes with braised pork, some greens, and a bunch of parmesan. You can’t go wrong here.
A straightforward pasta with tomato sauce, and one of our favorites here. Don’t be afraid to keep it simple.
This sweet potato-filled pasta with nutmeg and walnuts is solid, but we found it a bit too sweet. If you love pastas like this, you’ll like it, but we prefer others.
Whole Wheat Bigoli Alla Torchio
If the words “whole wheat pasta” make you think of the slightly disappointing, grainy pasta your parents once made when they decided the family needed to be healthier, know this isn’t that. This is a rich, hearty pasta with duck ragu that isn’t disappointing at all.
Definitely the most unusual pasta here, this one involves big pieces of rigatoni made out of buckwheat flour, with brussels sprouts, potatoes, and a bunch of fontina cheese. It’s sort of like a fondue meets baked ziti, and it works very well. Get one to share.
Coming to Fausto and just ordering an irresponsible number of pastas while skipping the entrees section is one reasonable approach, but the chicken is excellent, and we’d recommend ordering it. Along with an irresponsible number of pastas.