Where’s the beef, and a cross-cultural new downtown discovery..
By Judi Gallagher
Recently, I took Jennie Famiglio’s advice on trying a good burger. I mean, if you can’t trust a pregnant woman carrying twins about where she goes for her burger craving (well, make that where her husband Mark goes), then who can you trust? According to this well-respected attorney, Longhorn Steakhouse is burger heaven. While I was a bit horrified at the numerous animal heads decorating the restaurant, I found the burger and side baked potato to be quite good, and I also appreciated the quick and pleasant service.
The place on Fruitville was packed; and although I resented a large table of businessmen betting on the NY Giants in the upcoming football game, (and yes, they will be dining on crow come Feb. 3) I had the sense the bleu cheese burger with seven-pepper seasoning that they were all feasting on was just as good as my simple cheddar burger with all the fixings. Thanks, Jennie!
Another pleasant surprise came from a suggestion by the owners of John Carl Salon and Spa. They have not stopped raving about Franko’s, located on Main where Chef Caldwell, Tony Roma and several others tried to hold court over the years. “Surely not another restaurant there,” I thought. Had they brought in a shaman to burn sage to clear out the bad energy of businesses past? Or had they at least cleaned the carpets? Well, not only did they replace the carpets with brand-new tile, the room has a whole new feel and energy.
While the lights could be a bit dimmer, they clearly show off the pleasant atmosphere and eclectic menu of both Greek and Russian cuisine. (The executive chef and one owner are Russian, the sous chef and other owner Greek.) I highly recommend we support this luscious little ethnic gem. It’s simple, like a good downtown little eatery in Manhattan or Boston, and the prices are incredibly low for the quality. The traditional spinach pie known as spanakopita was as flaky as I have ever had and the authentic lemon, egg soup was beyond delicious. Rumor is the borsht, a traditional Russian beet and cabbage soup, is just as fab. A fresh Greek salad is enough for two, and entrees range between $10.95 and $16.95 and are accompanied by rice or mashed potatoes and fresh veggies.
The food at Franko's is first-rate.
Considering the front table had the Russian cultural club dining with “oohs” and “ahhs” as well as several tables filled with large Greek families, Franko’s has not only broken the curse of the space, but has become a welcome addition to downtown dining.
Franko's Mediterreanean Cuisine
1435 Main Street