First Look: Fausto, Refined Italian-Inspired Cuisine and Wine in the Former Franny's Space

Wine expert Joe Campanale returns with chef Erin Shambura
December 8, 2017
by Meredith Heil

Photos by Liz Clayman

The gist: From lauded New York restaurateur Joe Campanale (L’Artusi, dell’anima, Anfora) and chef Erin Shambura of L’Artusi, Del Posto and Lupa fame comes the newest wine-focused endeavor to join Brooklyn’s bustling dining scene. Stationed inside the space that used to hold Flatbush Avenue’s longtime neighborhood favorite, Franny’s, the trattoria offers Italian-inspired cuisine complemented by an expertly curated beverage program that calls attention to European wines, aperitivi and craft cocktails.

The food: Regional Italian fare with an eye towards seasonality dominates the menu inside this Brooklyn outpost. Shambura draws on her extensive travels throughout Italy to create both rustic comforts like arancini and bigoli alla torchio, a hearty duck ragu from Treviso, as well as more inventive, contemporary dishes like cauliflower antipasti with anchovy caper vinaigrette and red snapper ceviche with winter citrus and fennel. Housemade pastas are also a specialty, ranging from sweet potato and parsnip tortelloni in a creamy, herbaceous butter sauce and fusilli doused in a homey tomato ragu to linguini loaded with little neck clams and pork sausage; while the secondi section lists satisfying dishes like whole roasted fish, pork and lamb cooked in wood-fired ovens. For dessert, expect lemon ricotta cake topped with fluffy crème fraîche, silky panna cotta and wine-friendly formaggio plates.

The drinks: As one might expect with Campanale at the helm, it’s all about the wine. The extensive collection revolves around Italian and French reds and whites, many of which come from biodynamic and organic producers, that showcase the area’s distinct terroir while also aptly complementing Shambura’s cuisine. Aficionados will be happy to find several rare and unique additions, including an impressive reserve list, thanks to Campanale’s long-standing relationships in the region. Many labels are also offered by the half bottle as an extra incentive for guests to taste their way through Europe’s diverse bounty from Prosecco and Verdicchio to Burgundy and Barolo.

Aside from the vino, the spot features several New York craft beers on draft as well as a noteworthy assortment of Italian liqueurs like amaro, chinato and grappa, meant to be enjoyed both on their own as well as in Campanale’s Italian-influenced cocktails. The menu also boasts a few eye-catching vintage bottles dating back to the 1960s and 1970s.

The space: Brooklyn’s über-popular HOME Studios is responsible for the 74-seat venue’s striking interior design, blending old-world European stylings like grooved tambour wood walls, travertine and terrazzo tiling, a smooth carrara marble bar and brass fixtures with modern and art deco touches like pendant lighting, simple khaki-hued banquettes and natural rattan chairs. The cozy, meticulously designed layout encompasses a 12-seat bar and a slick maple back bar stacked with built-in shelving, a warm, sophisticated dining room with an open kitchen and a private reservable cellar sporting a midcentury look complete with wainscotting and rich walnut furnishings. And with warm weather comes a spacious patio for alfresco dining.

The details: 348 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn; 917-909-1427. Open for dinner daily from 5:30–11 PM. Reservations can be made via Resy or over the phone. Opens Saturday, December 10.

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