All photos courtesy of Francie

Dish By DishNew York

The Dishes You’ll Want to Order at Francie in Brooklyn


Francie isn’t your average neighborhood restaurant, and that’s by design. The Michelin-starred brasserie, which first opened in 2020 in South Williamsburg, draws both food-obsessed tourists and repeat local visitors — not an easy feat in a city brimming with culinary destinations.

But when you step inside, it’s got the pleasant, welcoming glow of a neighbor’s home where you just know you’ll be treated well and served a delicious meal. Cozy plush booths pad the perimeter, and a black-and-white tiled floor harkens to the Left Bank; it’s not at all a pretentious old-school dining room, even if it happens to be housed within a stately former bank office. Rock ‘n’ roll plays over the speakers and the menu is filled with whimsical, artistic dishes from Hudson Valley, N.Y. native Chris Cipollone.

The à-la-carte-only menu reflects Cipollone’s diverse restaurant career and personal experiences: Korean ingredients like seaweed and white sesame reflect his time spent at Piora, delightful handmade pastas are a nod to the chef’s Italian heritage, and his contemporary takes on classic French bistro fare were influenced by his culinary training at the Culinary Institute of America.

“We wanted to build a fun place that was embraced by the neighborhood where you can get high-end food and service without the stuffiness,” says Cipollone. “We’ve survived this long, which is a good sign to me that we’re on the right path towards establishing Francie as a New York institution.”

Here’s a look at five signature dishes, in Cipollone’s own words, that are helping cement Francie’s reputation as a destination for inventive, modern brasserie worth seeking out.

Photo by David Lee, courtesy of Francie
Photo by David Lee, courtesy of Francie

1. English Pea Bomboloni

Preserved truffle and pancetta pepato

“Bomboloni are staples on the snacks section of the menu, and we change the fillings and flavors depending on what’s fresh at the Union Square Greenmarket. Sweet corn was a big favorite last summer, and we’ll bring it back in a few months. Currently, we’re filling the dense Italian-style doughnuts with a bright, springy purée of super-fresh English peas and olive oil. Then we dip the bomboloni in a thick parmesan fonduta that we call parmesan icing.

“For a topping, we render ground peppered pancetta (pancetta pepato) until it’s crispy and sprinkle it on top of the bomboloni, along with preserved black truffle shavings. These give the nostalgic effect of sprinkles on a fast-food doughnut. The bomboloni are cute to look at and fun to eat, but the flavor is super savory and sophisticated.”

2. Market Salad

“This is my signature dish, which I’ve carried with me through a couple of restaurants. On the menu, it’s simply labeled ‘market salad,’ but it changes regularly. Growing up in the Hudson Valley, my parents would take me to traditional ‘American continental’ restaurants like the kind you find throughout Westchester. Your entrée would always come with a house salad and a choice of dressing. The options were usually blue cheese, Italian, creamy Italian, or Thousand Island. At Francie, we’ve taken the premise of that familiar salad and brought the bounty of the farmer’s market to the plate.

“We take advantage of all the beautiful vegetables popping up at the greenmarket; sometimes there can be up to 25 ingredients in this salad. We’ll roast some, pickle some, and leave others raw. Then we choose one of those classic Americana dressings (right now, it’s creamy Italian), and I buy all of the components of that dressing in freeze-dried form. So, I have buttermilk powder, yogurt powder, onion powder, and the other seasonings that make up the essence of creamy Italian. Then I blend them all together to mimic the flavor of the dressing in powdered form. We lightly coat the vegetables in the dry dressing so when you take a bite, you get all the flavor of that familiar Americana salad, but the true taste of the vegetable still comes through.

“The salad is plated like a whimsical little garden. On the bottom, we have dehydrated black olive crumble for the ‘soil.’ This props up fresh greens, which are sprinkled with ribbons of dehydrated carrots and red onions for some flower-like pops of color.”

3. Conchiglie

Clams, bacon, and white sesame pangrattato

“The pasta section of the menu is very dear to me, due to my Italian heritage. We make everything in-house daily, and we have an extruder that allows us to make a lot of interesting handmade shapes. One that’s been a big hit is a new-world shape called conchiglie.

“The initial concept for this dish was to make a cross between stuffed shells and baked clams. When I first bought the extruder die for this pasta shape, I thought the shells would be big enough to fill for a high-end take on stuffed shells. They ended up being too small for that, so we pivoted to a loose pasta dish that has the textural and flavor elements of the traditional casserole.

“The flavors are a nod to my relationship with Korean cuisine and an ode to my former restaurant, Piora. While researching in Korea, I found this incredibly umami-rich seaweed called gamtae. Ground into pasta dough, the seaweed perfumes the dish with a white truffle-like essence that’s incredibly savory and fragrant.

“We cook the conchiglie in the same white wine-infused liquid we cooked clam bellies in, along with butter, parsley, and garlic. The dish is finished with a little lemon juice and topped with white sesame pangrattato, which is made by butter-roasting sesame seeds and breadcrumbs. The topping adds the crunchy texture you find on baked clams.”

4. Porchetini

Creamed rapini, potato terrine, and rosemary jus

“I wanted to include porchetta on the menu at Francie, but the problem with porchetta is that it’s huge. I was looking for a more elegant, individual portion, and ended up with this dish, which I call porchetini. To make it, we treat the meat much like porchetta, but on a smaller scale.

“First, we brine a pork tenderloin and wrap it in sausage that’s heavily seasoned with rosemary, garlic, fennel pollen, and black pepper. We poach the sausage-wrapped pork, then sear it so the tenderloin is perfectly cooked to medium, and the sausage is nicely browned and cooked through. We then brush the meat in rich pork jus made from the bones. Before plating, we roll the entire tenderloin in crispy pork cracklings we’ve made from the pork skin, so you get the texture of porchetta’s lacquered skin in every bite.

“Porchetta is traditionally served with broccoli rabe and roasted potatoes. We serve our porchetini with parmesan-creamed rotini and an elegant potato terrine. The terrine is made by layering thinly sliced potatoes in a terrine mold with butter and cream, baking it, slicing it, and searing the slices until they’re golden. At the table, we pour fresh rosemary jus to finish the dish.”

5. Dry-Aged Crown of Rohan Duck

Swiss chard, parsnip, and soppressata jam

“I never expected this restaurant to be a duck restaurant. In fact, I thought vegetables would take off, but here we are. And if you’ve seen us on social media, you know this duck. I created this dish for Francie because I’ve been cooking this duck for my entire career. The duck comes from the Hudson Valley. I’m from the Valley. Every restaurant I’ve ever worked at has had a duck dish like this. We use Rohan duck, which is a cross between Peking and Mallard that’s beautiful for dry aging.

“We dry age the ducks for a month in a dedicated space we built downstairs in the restaurant. The exterior of the duck dries out just enough so the skin gets incredibly crispy and rendered when it’s roasted without becoming dry, and the meat stays nice and medium-rare. Aging also makes the meat more tender and really draws out the flavor of the bird.

“After aging, we rub the duck with honey and season it. Then we simply roast it and rest it. The unique kicker of the dish is the soppressata jam, which is inspired by Southern bacon jam. When I was working on the concept of this dish, I had some bacon jam at a restaurant. I loved it and thought, ‘What could make this more New York?’ And the answer was soppressata, made in Queens. Our jam is salty, sweet, acidic, and chunky – a combination that really works with the duck.

“The presentation of this dish is key, and undoubtedly what’s made it a social media headline. We try to evoke the celebratory, communal feeling of Thanksgiving by arranging the bird on a platter with fresh flowers. We carve it tableside and serve it with a duck port jus and flaky salt. The duck comes with two sides that have also become crowd favorites: a sauté of Swiss chard with lemon and pine nuts, and a parsnip purée made with browned butter and apples.

“I love the presentation of this dish, and I love seeing people delight at being served the duck. Every night, I look out from the open kitchen, and I have a restaurant full of people having a great time eating (and photographing) this duck, which feels very full circle for my career.”

Francie is open Mondays through Fridays from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 5 to 11 p.m.

Lizzy Briskin is a food editor and writer, as well as a recipe developer and avid eater, based in New York City. Follow her on Instagram. Follow Resy, too.