The Franks Open A Slice Joint In Brooklyn, And Pizza Fiends Swarm
The chalkboard outside of the Franks’ new slice shop in Carroll Gardens, called F&F for Frank and Frank, proclaims it to be “Brooklyn‘s Only Pizzeria” which, obviously, is total nonsense and just a joke. But given the large crowds of pizza fiends that turned this piece of Court Street into a bit of a block party this past Saturday, it may have kind of looked that way to passerby, as if grabbing a slice were a rare treat in this town, an uncommon delicacy that you wait 25 minutes for and hope they’re not sold out by the time your order comes up.
The Franks are Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli who, at the permanently packed Frankies 457 next door, mastered the trick of serving stellar versions of Italian classics in an accessible, rock-n-roll setting. But the duo had never really “done” pizza, so for F&F they flew in a couple of heavy hitters from out west to teach them the art of making dough, Chris Bianco of Phoenix’s Pizza Bianco and Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco.
Whatever they all did together, it worked. The pizza getting slung right now at F&F is fantastic, especially the Regular, an unimprovable slice that nails the absolute correct balance of salty, gooey mozzarella, bright, not-too-sweet tomato sauce, a few torn pieces of fresh basil, a little olive oil, and just a bit of char. The tip droops when you deploy the initial fold but the toppings stay firmly in place, delivering on the Franks’ “No Puddle Pies” promise. There isn’t a better regular cheese slice being served anywhere in NYC right now.
The two other varieties available were also first-rate, a sauce-only Tomato Slice, and a thick and deeply funky Sicilian Sausage Slice, which had actually sold out within an hour or so of opening. The menu could be expanded in the future—with the kitchens of two full-service restaurants at their disposal, procuring high-quality toppings isn’t a problem—but big crowds mean that the three dedicated F&F pizza guys are already cranking out pies as fast they can until the day’s dough runs out (on Saturday this happened at around 6 p.m.), so they’re playing it straight for now.
Much of the success here comes courtesy of the crust, which is firm and filled with flavor but also spongy and airy. Like many of the new wave of excellent slice spots that have opened over the past few years—Mama’s Too, Bread and Salt, Norm’s, Upside, Corner Slice, and Scarr’s, to name a few—F&F uses natural leaven, long fermentation (in this case, four days), high hydration, and freshly-milled grain to work its magic. But you, like me, don’t have to understand any of it to appreciate that this is great pizza that you want to eat as often as possible.
The room itself is no-frills but airy and cheery thanks to a high ceiling, bright yellow paint, and a garage door that stays open in the pleasant weather. The line to order goes through the regular door, and there’s a large open space where you can mill around while you wait for your pizza. There’s nowhere to sit inside, just some standing tables set amid the cases of canned tomatoes, but a couple of boulders and a tree pit with a bench out front offer a few handy perches on the sidewalk.
F&F Pizzeria is located at 459 Court Street, between Fourth Place and Luquer Street, and is open daily at noon until the day’s dough is done (franks.pizza)