Welcome to Ask Eater, a column from Eater New York where the site’s editors, reporters, and critics answer specific or baffling restaurant requests from readers and friends. A new question and answer will run every Thursday. Have a question for us? Submit your question in this form.
My mom is in town for a short, surprise (lol) visit and I’m looking for somewhere for a Friday night dinner for myself, mom, and sister. Mom is a fairly picky eater, loves Italian, Spanish, and bistro-y menus; doesn’t eat spicy food; loves a “good burger”; is a proponent of club sandwiches and side salads; and has never crossed fried calamari on a menu and not ordered it. Previous New York restaurants I’ve taken her to that she’s liked include Vic’s, Tomiño, Upland, PJ Clarkes, and Sadelles (see what I mean?). So what’s somewhere I can take mom on a Friday night that will still be exciting for sister and I?
Second favorite daughter
Lol at a surprise mom visit. I got you. If you haven’t checked it out yet, maybe it’s time to visit Fausto, the Italian replacement for Park Slope neighborhood darling Franny’s. Owners Joe Campanale and chef Erin Shambura know how to put out a solid and comforting Italian restaurant that I think will please your mom, your sister, and you.
The room is warm, the service is kind, and the menu is interesting without being too wild for a picky eater like your mom. Maybe nab a little gem salad for your mom in place of a side salad, then an order or two of the arancini to quench your mom’s taste for a fried thing in lieu of calamari. For the rest of the meal, stick to the pasta section — the orechiette with fennel-braised pork and greens is rich and salty in a deeply satisfying way, while the simple fusilli with a tomato ragu is tart and bright enough to make a good accompaniment.
But what you and your sister should explore in particular is the booze. Campanale is known for his wine and amaro lists, and both are exciting here. Converse with your server, and you’re sure to find a beverage that’s both interesting and tasty. Last time I was there, my party drank a delightful bottle of orange literally made by nuns.