My favorite restaurant of the moment is Frankie’s 17, on 17 Clinton Street. How’d we trip across it? Walking. It’s got elements that all of my favorite restaurants have had: warm brown décor, wooden chairs, old-school feel. Feels like there should be a fireplace in there. There’s an open kitchen with fire nearby. Here she is.
My friend thinks their meatball sandwich is the very best thing he’s ever eaten. See?
I get the octopus salad every time, which is about once every two weeks. I like it because the octopus is soft on the inside and charred on the outside, the nubby suckers forming crackly burnt rounds. I dress the salad of dandelion greens with shaved cheese, a counterbalance to the salt in the fish. The bread is sour and soft on the inside.
The food is so consistent. There are always plenty of tentacles in that salad, cut in approximately three inch swords, covered in those fresh dandelion sprouts.
I always get the same beer. I don’t know the name because my fiancée ordered it the first time we went; I loved it; and I always just say “get the same.” It’s dark and nondisturbing.
All of which made me delighted to see that Frankie’s has a cookbook. (And a cute video; click here—of the two Franks who own Frankie’s, describing some of the reasons behind what they do.) The cookbook promises a few things: recipes with very few ingredients; various recipes that use a lot of the same ingredients, in different measurements and cooking heats, producing plenty from a small kitchen staple; and a feel of home that underlies the food. They promise the taste of grandma’s kitchen. Which sounds trite but isn’t because I can re-kindle the taste of that char, burnt but live in its capacity to sooth. In fact—it’s the truth—we’re leaving now to get to Frankie’s by 9:00 tonight. If you can’t join us, consider buying the book.
Ilana Simons is a therapist, literature professor, and author of A Life of One's Own: A Guide to Better Living through the Work and Wisdom of Virginia Woolf. Visit her website here.