I love this place. Ferdinando’s Focacceria Ristorante.
It’s at 151 Union Street, just west of Hicks, owned by Frank Buffa who has been around for 35 years.
From Sicily and with the palest blue eyes to prove it, he told me the best dish on his menu is the Pasta con Sarde, pasta with sardines, wild fennel and pignoli.
When I asked him why he said “because I like it the best”.
This is what the tastiest $5 salad in town looks like.
It is a fresh mix of lettuces, marinated cauliflower, onions, carrots, tomatoes, and little pieces of garlic…an Italian antioxidant extravaganza.
It is perfectly dressed in oil, vinegar and italian herbs and spices, delicious.
Here it is. Admittedly not a great photo, the rice ball (also $5) is best witnessed in person. It is gooey, rich and one of my favorite things in Brooklyn.
Finely chopped meat and peas are hiding in the middle, then the rice, then the whole thing is fried and blanketed in ricotta cheese, slivers of parmigiano reggiano and served with tangy tomato sauce. I can only eat half and take the rest home for breakfast.
The restaurant was recently used as a location in Scorcese’s The Departed.
Frank proudly displays photos of Leonardo DiCaprio and a wall full of many other stars.
He tells me that Commissioner Kelly eats there once a month.
When Martin Scorcese came to look at the restaurant as a possible location, Frank told him… “you shoot the movie here, you win the Oscar. Everyone that comes here is lucky.”
This is a rare restaurant that has no downside (that I can find). The food is authentic Italian, reasonably priced, and delicious. Nicoletta calls you sweetie while taking your order. There is a plastic prosciutto hanging above the kitchen, a baby Jesus and crucifix next to that and a little back garden for nice weather dining. What more could you want.