Frankies Sputino 457 is the most casual of the growing empire of restaurants owned by the Franks (Castronovo and Falcinelli). Yet it is more than simply a casual Italian restaurant – its quirky (some might say a tad confusing) menu reads like a grocery list of fresh greens, italian meats, cheeses, pastas, and sandwiches from which the diners must figure out how to construct a meal — or just a nosh. It’s easier to figure out the menu while sipping on one of their inventive (though a little small) cocktails, like “The Last Mosquito” ($10) made with rye, branca menta (a minty liquor), punt e mes (an Italian vermouth), and lemon juice.
The crostinis are also a good touch, especially the cremini mushroom and truffle oil ($4). It has just enough truffle oil without being overpowering and some parmesan on top for balance. The crostinis are also nicely crunchy. The homemade ricotta with speck ($4.50) was also good, though not quite as complex as the mushrooms.The quality of their ingredients are all top-notch. For starters, their cured meats plate ($15) which has thinly sliced prosciutto di parma, spicy and sweet, soppressata, and capicola. The proscuitto really stands out, it is delicate and not too salty.
Another notable appetizer is the shaved brussels sprouts with lemon & castelrosso (a creamy Italian cheese) ($9). Brussels sprouts continue to be all the rage and this dish is an interesting variety. The sprouts are raw and crisp, though I felt they could use more acid.
From here, a meal could go in many different directions. However, a meal shouldn’t miss one of the Franks’ homemade pastas, particularly the fresh cavatelli with hot sausage and browned sage butter ($18). Browned butter with sage is a common accompaniment to pasta, and this preparation doesn’t overdo it with the sage, which can be too bitter, and it nicely compliments the spicy sausages.
The sweet potato & sage ravioli in parmesan broth ($16) was another solid (and sage-y) dish, though I felt the sweet potato filling was little too sweet. The raviolis are large and half-moon shaped, and actually look more like dumplings than traditional raviolis. The broth is savory and excellent. Also excellent are the pillowy gnocchi with topped with rich roccotti, cutting the acid of a fresh garlicky tomato sauce.
457 has long been a neighborhood gem, and with the Franks entering Manhattan it’s good to see that this location retains its charm and solid food with decent prices. Nothing is over $20 — though each course can add up and dinner with one drink can be around $40. The soft lighting and exposed brick walls makes 457 good for dates — or double dates!
Frankies Sputino 457
457 Court Street
Brooklyn NY 11231
(718) 403-0033 (No reservations)