With Frank, Supper, Lil’ Frankie’s Pizza and Sauce under his belt, restaurateur Frank Prisinzano has no doubt become king of the East Village. It’s a great neighborhood to have had faith in early, as it’s quickly become a hot spot for restaurateurs, soon-to-be homeowners, entrepreneurs and designers alike. We chatted with Prisinzano on every possible topic one could crave, including of course, Italian food…
Describe your ideal food day…
I would wake up in Puglia, Italy around 8am, buy a watermelon and peaches, and hit the local mozzarella store to pick out some just made, still warm, fresh milk cheese (ricotta, all different mozzarella, burrata, stracciatella) and hit the beach with a knife and a plate.
I’d leave the beach at 12:30pm and have a crudo lunch in Puglia. I’d start with whatever was caught that morning – hopefully an assortment of raw shrimp, razor clams, sea urchin, oysters, cuttlefish, and at least three or four things that have no English translation or counterpart in the USA (which is pretty much guaranteed). I’d drink a local rosé with the crudo and then have a nice Spaghetti Vongole Veraci (baby clams, garlic, parsley, peperoncino, olive oil and local cherry tomatoes) and drink a nice local medium bodied white wine like a Bolina. Then, for Secondi, I’d have a nice roasted or grilled whole Orata, Branzino or Rombo, and some grilled and sautéed vegetables with arugula and fresh tomato salad with only sea salt and lemon. No dessert, just a local grappa and one biscotti.
I’d take a nice nap until around 5pm, and hit the beach until the sun set. Then around 9:30pm, I’d hit a nice restaurant inland that specializes in local meats and pastas. I’d eat a nice plate of local cured meats, then do a pasta ragu, gnocchi or ravioli, and then a piece of roasted or braised lamb, horse, or maybe even goat. I would drink bigger and redder throughout – maybe even crack a local cherry or two like a big bruiser of a Negroamaro, or a Malvasia Nera, or even an aged Salice Salentino. I would finish up with a few hunks of local cheese to match the wines, like a 36-month local Caciocavallo and close it out with a nice grappa again. No dessert.
I’d head back to town and do a nice passegiata (walk up and down the main drags with all the locals) stop for a gelato and one more grappa and call it a night…
What’s your drink?
Grappa mostly, but I also enjoy an Irish whiskey or a barrel-aged bourbon, an un-rectified single malt scotch, and a gin martini if the mood strikes me. The other day, I made a fresh-squeezed orange juice and Capovilla Rhum drink that melted my brain. It was so summer and just perfection.
What would your last meal be?
A white truffle dinner at Trattoria Della Posta in Roddino, Italy right by Monforte d’Alba. The first truffles of the season.
Wine: 1965 Monfortino Giacomo Conterno Barolo (my birth year)
Meal: Local Piemontese Veal (Fassone) Carne Cruda, Local Piemontese Tajarin Pasta in butter, Local Piemontese Egg with Fonduta D’alpeggio, Local Robiola di Roccaverano DOP cheese (All showered with white truffles)
Sibona Grappa di Moscato and Piemontese sugar cookie, then sex until I croak.
How do you start your day?
Fresh mozzarella or ricotta cheese with fresh fruit and fresh squeezed orange juice. Usually a poached or fried egg and some super ripe heirloom tomatoes, arugula (or other seasonal, local vegetable) with only olive oil and coarse sea salt and occasionally some Pugliese toast. In the summer, tons of watermelon.
Favorite place to travel for food?
Duh, Italy…There is only one perfect food system and it’s Italy. All else pales.
What ingredient do you consider overrated?
[It’s a] Toss up between passion fruit and white truffle oil. White truffle oil is not even made from truffles. It’s made in a perfume factory and has nothing to do with truffles. It misrepresents what a white truffle is. That annoys me.
What ingredient are you convinced makes everything better?
There is only one thing that makes everything better and that’s coarse Celtic Grey Sea Salt. Even desserts.