In a lot of ways, Franks Wine Bar is the middle child of the Frank restaurant empire that dominates this half-block of Court Street in Carroll Gardens. It opened long after one of our favorite casual Italian spots, Frankies 457, just a few doors up, and slightly before their sibling pizza shop, F&F Pizzeria, which sits next to Frankies.
As a result, Franks doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. But we’re here to tell you that it should be a first choice, rather than just a backup option, because this place serves the entire Frankies menu without the almost required wait (you can usually walk in or get a reservation here the day of).
Grab a seat at the long bar, in the dining room, or at any of the heated outdoor tables and make sure to start with some of the aged prosciutto before exploring the pastas. They also have a 400-bottle wine list, which is organized with helpful descriptions, making this a great spot if you’re trying to learn more about wine.
A plate covered in some of the best cured ham in the known universe. This is what we get to keep us focused while looking through the massive wine list.
This is one of those plates that remind us why eating melon outside in the summer can be so nice. Everything here is well-balanced - you get a bit of salt, cream, acid, and sweetness in each bite.
No croutons, no anchovies, and guess what? Whoever you share this with will say, “I really didn’t expect this to be so good, but it is.” The lettuce is perfectly dressed and acts as a nice intermission between all the meat, cheese, and pasta heading your way.
If it’s peak tomato season, this should be a priority. It’s almost like a gazpacho before it’s blended, but with the added bonus of plump chunks of mozz and crunchy toasted bread.
File this under the first thing we order once the temperature drops below 60. This brick of lasagna has more layers than a passive-aggressive text from a sibling, and is the perfect thing to split with anyone who always talks about the greatness of lasagna, but never wants to order a whole slice just for themselves. So, basically everyone.
Going to Franks or Frankies and not ordering this cavatelli is unwise. So we suggest you do the smart thing and make sure it lands on your table. It’s salty, buttery, and will make you yearn for fall regardless of the time of year. In the off chance you forget - or get distracted by a rare bird flying overhead - F&F does make a pizza version of this pasta.