Thursday, August 16, 2007

REVIEW: Frank & John's From Italy- **** / $

Frank & John's From Italy is the best pizza you can get in Rhode Island. It's that simple. Upon entering, you are struck by the welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere. Both Frank & John are straight off the proverbial boat and their decoration of the main dining room makes you feel like you're sitting in a neighborhood pizza joint in southern Italy. It's the kind of place that makes everyone feel welcome. The Olive Garden may spew that trite line about being there is like being family, well at Frank & John's, you truly feel that.

The menu is loaded with all the expected Italian dishes. Nothing inventive or special, but the sauce is perfect. Italian food lives and dies on its sauce and many, many places will foul it up. Frank & John's is exquisitely spiced and prepared. Their pasta is well-cooked with well-blended cheeses filling them all. I especially like their manicotti and stuffed shells. Their bread is home-made and EXCELLENT. Ask them for a loaf to take home. They have a good drink selection that's beer-oriented. They have a small selection of wines, but nothing to write home about. It's all very affordable with small mark-ups. A note about payment, they accept only cash for both take-out and dine-in. If need be, there's an ATM directly next to the restaurant and one inside.

As usual, the family-friendly theme continues with an excellent soda selection for the kids. Still, the star of the show is their pizza, and what a star it is. They don't have medium, they go straight from small to large, and then to giant. That should give you an idea of the size of the pizzas. They're huge. Hot, spicy, with perfect, hand-made dough, the ingredients all combine to form an orchestra of tastes and texture that is unmatched in Rhode Island. Another treat is to order a white pizza with mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, and whatever else they think would go good on it. I would challenge you to find a better white pizza anywhere on Earth. I want to clarify that this is all traditional pizza. An old-world pie. You will not find anything weird on it like California Pizza, or twists on the concept like Chicago style. Like Lombardi's in New York, this is how pizza is meant to be eaten.

There's only one, real problem. On busy days, such as Friday or Saturday, during the dinner rush, the quality of their food takes a dip as they try and handle the load. It's still good pizza, but not the pizza-nirvana they make on other days. And for someone who's so used to their pizza being perfect, it can be a big let-down. Go during the down times, maybe a late lunch, and you will be smiling a big, Italian smile with every mouth-watering bite.

Frank & John's From Italy: ****
Price range for two: $10-$30;

Frank & John's From Italy
186 Main St
East Greenwich, RI 02818-3828
401-884-9751 (Reservations not accepted)

Monday through Thursday 3:00pm to 9:00pm
Friday through Sunday 3:00pm to 10:00pm

No comments: