Gallery: First Look: Francesca, Frankies Spuntino's Spanish Place on the Lower East Side

Pair of Pintxos
Pair of Pintxos
On the left, a toast base (the bread's from Grandaisy Bakery) with a tower of egg salad and a boquerón (marinated anchovy) on top. On the right, creamed leeks with Idiazabal cheese, thin shavings of jamón serrano ("superior to prosciutto," said a Frank), and sweet membrillo paste to complement the saltiness happening here. "These are both bestsellers and personal favorites," said general manager Brian Jacobs.
Another Pair
Another Pair
On the right, the pintxo special that night: cold-smoked arctic char over creamy mascarpone with setti ani peppers. On the right, a tightly tuna-stuffed piquillo pepper topped with a boquerón (fish on fish!) and plenty of aioli.
Asparagus, White and Green
Asparagus, White and Green
Asparagus salad with migas (fried bread) and aioli, dressed in a sherry vinaigrette.
Octopus
Octopus
Braised, chilled octopus with chives in a pool of Frankies Spuntino olive oil. They kept this one simple to really let the headlining cephalopod shine.
Sirloin
Sirloin
Roasted, chilled sirloin with a green setti ani pepper vinaigrette. And plenty more Frankies house olive oil, of course.
Mackerel Escabeche
Mackerel Escabeche
Marinated mackerel escabeche served with grilled spring onions and thyme picked up at the Greenmarket that morning.
Chocolate mousse
Chocolate mousse
"You don't want to eat anything real sweet after the food here," said Frank (Castronovo). So this chocolate mousse is on that sweet-savory border: chocolate mousse with fresh whipped cream, orange gelée, smoky espelette pepper, and more olive oil on top. "Olive oil on everything is my motto," said chef Ryan Bartlow.
The Franks
The Franks
Both Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo could be found lounging in Francesca's backyard on our visit with wayfarers on (they took them off for the photo). There are about 25 patio seats now, but they'll be adding more. Who wouldn't want to sit back there on a nice day?
Chef Ryan Bartlow
Chef Ryan Bartlow
Posing in the backyard garden. "I live in this neighborhood. I get my fedoras made just around the corner...I've always dreamed of having a neighborhood restaurant like this."
Inside Francesca
Inside Francesca
"It's an everynight place, it's a special occasion place, it's always welcoming," said general manager Brian Jacobs of the 60-seat candlelit interior. The teeny kitchen in the back only has room for four induction burners. "Everything has to be made fast. There's no hood so we can't be smoking up the place," said chef Ryan Bartlow, who you'll find back there, likely in his fedora.
Daily Chalkboard Specials
Daily Chalkboard Specials
Updated every night! There might be a Pintxo of the Day or a new creation inspired by that morning's Greenmarket shopping.
No. 1 Sherry Cocktail
No. 1 Sherry Cocktail
Cocktail whiz Damon Boelte has developed four sherry drinks for Francesca. Starting with No.1: Fino Sherry, sweet vermouth, cinnamon syrup, and whiskey barrel aged bitters.
No. 2
No. 2
Fino sherry, Cardamaro, lemon, Orgeat, and Angostura bitters.
No. 3
No. 3
East India sherry, dry vermouth, orange bitters and seltzer.
No. 4
No. 4
Oloroso sherry, lime, elderflower syrup, and cava.
How to Drink from the Porron
How to Drink from the Porron
If sipping sherry just feels a little boring and safe, try the porron. The traditional Spanish wine vessel looks more like a watering can, where the spout tapers off to a small opening so the wine has minimal contact with the air. The idea originated as a replacement to bota bags, another traditional Spanish wine receptacle. Stretch your arm out and let it trickle into your mouth—here is National Managing Editor Erin showing you how it's done. The lack of contact with the lips allows a group of people to "zurrust" (Basque for sip) without offending anyone's sense of hygiene.
<em>Chomp</em>
Chomp
Frank Castronovo likes to mashup all of the pintxos toppings on one little bite of bread. "Everything here tastes good together," he said, then opened wide.