The two Franks behind Frankies 17 first opened up shop in Carroll Gardens (Frankies 457)—featuring their well-loved Italian fare—in 2004. Frank Falcinelli and Frank Costronovo have since brought us Prime Meats, Prime Meats Delicat-essen & Provisions, Cafe Pedlar, and their very own Frankies Spuntino cookbook. While dinner might be what brought them all this success, the Franks are equally talented in the breakfast department.
The original Frankies 17, a 24-seat restaurant with a tiny galley kitchen in the back, now adjoins with Cafe Pedlar—where baristas serve up thick, fancy designs using organic milk from Lancaster County and Stumptown beans roasted in Red Hook. The baked goods on the menu are displayed here, available for take-out. Still, the best breakfasts are the ones enjoyed when you settle in.
The Egg and Cheese sandwich ($6) is one of my favorite dishes in the city. It has even made it impossible for me to pass by Grandaisy Bakery without picking up some slices of the pizza bianca—my favorite vehicle for the soft scrambled eggs and (optional for $3, but perhaps requisite) thick slices of bacon; a housemade biscuit is also available. They changed the cheese a while back, from something like a Parmesan to a more mild Swiss and the sandwich suffered slightly for it, but it remains a stand-out breakfast sandwich.
The Mushrooms with Poached Eggs ($9) doesn't surprise, nor does it disappoint. It is a good dish, especially for those who love mushrooms—but fair warning: it is a lot of rich mushroom to handle when it's early in the morning.
The French Toast ($10) is arguably the best in town. It's not for the faint: thick slices of Grandaisy Filone Bread are soaked with milk and eggs, and the edges are caramelized with hefty doses (and equal parts?) butter and sugar. If you're seated in the small room with the kitchen, you will smell the browning butter moments before a rich, bread-pudding like French toast arrives—a tall two slices—with side of maple syrup, and a few slices of fruit to help you pretend this isn't dessert.
Steel-cut Oatmeal ($6) is a subtler dish: it's much more delicately portioned, but no less outstanding, made up of nutty, chewy oats that are mixed with cinnamon and a splash of (what must be grade B) maple syrup.
The Pecan Roll was, however, dry and dense. The flavors were there and it had crispy edges I could focus on, but there was nothing soft; it needed to be warmed and paired with a sauce or frosting—or something to give it the melty center that might make it more special.
Not to worry; there are plenty of other items in the pastry case worth mentioning: like the Olive Oil cake with its intense notes of orange, or the rich Stout cake with its allspice and ginger.