Good luck getting into this itty-bitty teeny-weeny, no reserving East Village Italian, but “dreamy” pastas and “heavenly red sauce” justify the “cramped” digs and “obscene wait”: wags advice “go with petite friends” and “bring your own table”.
Frank Prisinzano's home-style recipes pride themselves on fresh ingredients. The bruchetta's thick and crusty country bread readily soaks up the juices from its ripe tomato topping. Rigatoni pasta with slow-cooked ragu is served perfectly al dente, and shares a light, sauteed onion sauce with pillowy Parmesan gnocchi. Uncle Michael's tasty and heavy-as-gravy red sauce coats the polpetonne's giant meatball of spicy meat loaf. Feathery whipped cream saves the unsweetened apple tart, but goes best inside a delicious tiramisu.
You love Frank, your neighbors love Frank—heck, everyone in the East Village loves Frank. So be prepared to wait (and wait) for your table. Once you finally get a seat (within kissing distance of your fellow diners), you’ll be hungry enough to tackle the bountiful antipasto platter loaded with prosciutto, soppressata and pillows of fresh mozzarella. Mussels in basil-rich tomato sauce are worth the mess. For meat lovers, rigatoni in Parmesan-heavy ragů is heaped with tons of tiny meatballs and fennel sausage, or there’s a Tuscan steak special: The thin grilled cut is topped with a mound of fabulously bright arugula salad. If you can find a few inches of elbow room, pass your table-waiting time with a glass of wine at Vera, the pint-size wine bar next door.
With its kinetic open kitchen, its laconic waitstaff, and its cramped, thrift-shop furniture, Frank is where red-sauce specialist Frank Prisinzano launched his budget-Italian East Village empire. No matter the hour, it's full of hungry hipsters looking to fill up on Grandma Carmela's slow-cooked ragu, Uncle Michael's medicine ball of a meatloaf, and great bruschetta al pomodoro (when it comes to sourcing out-of-season tomatoes, Frank must be connected).