I took some friends to Frankie's 457 Spuntino (457 Court St., between 4th Place and Luquer St., 718-403-0033) recently, as they hadn't yet experienced the loveliness that is dinner there. We waited in the backyard with our bottle of wine for a table to open up, which took about 30 minutes late on a Thursday night. It's beautiful in the backyard, under minimal lighting, with flowers and vines growing, candles flickering on the tables and the F & G trains rumbling a block away, and is a nice way to pass the time before being seated.
We were seated at a four-top next to the window on the left side and were promptly approached for drink orders by our pleasant and upbeat server. We stuck with wine, but Frankie's does have a nice list of aperitifs, various cocktails and grappas. After a little deliberation and coordination we placed our order. We started out with a couple Crostini: one with Avocado & Pesto, one with Cannellini beans, capers, lemon & anchovy and two of my favorite, Ricotta with Aged Parmesan. The little bites are perfect to split in half to maximize the tastes you get to experience. The ricotta is creamy and paired perfectly with dry, salty cheese, the avocado and pesto is clean and flavorful and the cannellini bean paste is briny but not overpowering and has a nice texture.
There was an order of Pork Braciola Marinara which is an incredibly tender piece of thin pork rolled up and stuffed with cheese and bread crumbs. The marinara is savory and strong, not sweet, and is generously poured over the meat and then covered with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan. It's quite delicious.
There was also an order of the House-Made Pappardelle with braised rabbit, tomato, capers and Sicilian olives. The pasta is tender and cooked to perfection, the rabbit was gamey and tender and the sauce was bursting with the flavors of the capers and olives, briny and salty and robust.
There were also two orders of my absolute favorite Frankie's dish, the House-Made Cavatelli with Faiccos hot sausage and browned sage butter. It's heavenly. The sausage is fresh and delicately burns your mouth. The sage butter is earthy and incredible and the pasta again is tender and cooked to perfection. It's the best combination of flavors and the one dish I think about in between visits.
We were so full but decided to split one dessert between the four of us and chose the Red Wine Prunes with Mascarpone. This is such a surprisingly divine dish. The warmed up tart and sweet prunes paired with the creamy, slightly nutty mascarpone go so well together! Delish!
In addition to serving meals as a restaurant, Frankie's hosts private parties in the backyard and "Barn", an outbuilding behind the main restaurant.