An iMix From Retro-Obsessed Culinary Masters Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo
“We are vintage junkies,” says Frank Castronovo, who co-owns Frankies Spuntino and other New York hot spots along with Frank Falcinelli. “From our clothing to our cars—I have a 1969 Mercedes and Frank’s got a 1986 Toyota Land Cruiser.” This passion for bygone times (“when craftsmanship was at its peak and everything was still handmade”) is evident in everything the two Franks do. And their latest restaurant, Prime Meats, just a few doors down from Frankies Spuntino 457 in Carroll Gardens, is no exception. The original structure of this late-1800s building has been meticulously restored by the pair, who scoured markets such as Brimfield in Massachusetts “to find old flooring and bars, in order to keep the aesthetic of the era.” The light fixtures for Prime Meats—gas and kerosene lamps from the 1880s that they have been restoring for five years—elicit an impassioned response. Says Castronovo, “You can get so many other things right and then go to Home Depot for the lights and ruin everything on that detail.” This obsession with authenticity even extends to the waiters’ uniforms (replete with braces and waistcoats), which were dreamed up by period costume designer Donna Zakowska. When it comes to music, the Victorian influence disappears (no Wagner here!), making way for an evocative playlist of 60s and 70s folk rock available to download via iTunes. “The music all has a common theme: it’s songs from musicians that were influenced by the greatest artists of that time. Some of them are covers, some of them are what Bob Dylan was listening to,” says Castronovo of the tunes that sets the atmosphere, a sample from which we present here. For the recent launch of their new cookbook, their friend Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes performed. “We had a book release party and a rock concert broke out,” Castronovo laughs.