Many New Yorkers live down the street from an awesome pizza place, or even several. When I moved to Westchester county 10 years ago I filed this luxury, along with convenient public transportation and any semblance of street cred, as a city perk I would miss out on by living in the suburbs. A little over a year ago I was, to my delight, proven wrong when Frankie & Fanucci's, a terrific Neapolitan-style pizzeria, opened down the street from the Hartsdale train station.
Frankie & Fanucci's Wood Oven Pizzeria
202 East Hartsdale Ave., Hartsdale, NY 10530 (map); (914) 725-8400; fandfpizza.com
Pizza style: Neo-Neapolitan
Oven type: Wood
The skinny: Excellent thin-crust pies in a family-friendly environment with other strong menu options.
Price: $9.25 for a 10-inch Margherita, $14.95 for a 16-inch Margherita
Frankie & Fanucci's has been packed since its opening. Its popularity probably stems from its versatile and family-friendly atmosphere. The restaurant is bright and cheery with plenty of seating, and its concise menu features excellent salads and antipasti, ideal for large groups whose members may not all be in the mood for pizza.
As the restaurant's prominently placed wood oven indicates, however, the pizzas are the real draw. On a recent visit with my little brother, the Margherita and custom pie with spicy sausage and roasted peppers we ordered were both nommable in many respects. The pizza did not exhibit the liquid center or extreme cornicione rise of authentic Neapolitan pizzas. Thanks to the wood-burning oven and simple, well-calibrated dough formula, however, the crust was puffy and springy with beautiful char and and a delightfully chewy crumb.
As on previous visits, I found the toppings fresh, flavorful, and tastefully applied. I appreciated the fresh, fruity tomato sauce and creamy mozarella, but the nicely spicy sausage and sweet-as-candy peppers were my favorite touches of the night.
Frankie & Fanucci's is not churning out perfect pizza; their crusts, though beautifully textured and nicely seasoned, are not especially flavorful. Perhaps their dough's flavor could benefit from a natural starter or an extended fermentation period.
Still, excellent baking technique, great toppings, and a consistently strong menu make Frankie & Fanucci's one of the top pizzerias in Westchester and better than the vast majority of pizzerias in New York City.