Launching a restaurant is never easy — especially when it’s got big shoes to fill. Such is the case with Granita in Hartsdale: It opened in November on the site where Frankie & Fanucci’s, a beloved red-sauce Italian neighborhood staple, stood for a decade.
Diners will be reassured to learn the ownership remains the same and is determined to maintain, and even raise, the high standards for which Frankie & Fanucci’s was known. “The space was due for a renovation,” shares co-owner Brad Nagy. “We thought about it and thought the neighborhood could use a sophisticated, casual, slightly more upscale place with a bar.”
Step inside, and you’re immediately in a hipper headspace. Low lighting, sleekly upholstered banquettes, and a 12-seat bar set the scene. If it all feels slightly urban, there’s a reason: Nagy and his team modeled Granita after a Manhattan eatery he also owns called Sotto 13. “We brought some of our city energy up to Westchester,” Nagy says.
The sophistication carries over into the cocktail list, where trendy ingredients such as rhubarb and pomegranate jump out at you. You can’t go wrong with a Part Time Lover (gin, strawberry, hibiscus, and lemon).
Indeed, many were sailing by to nearby tables, though other temptations, such as a NY Moll (vodka, mint, cucumber, and lemon) and the signature Granita (a frozen pomegranate cocktail) beckon.
Tuna tartare is utterly refreshing here, studded with piquant kalamata olives and crispy capers, then topped with a spicy mayo for kick. Wood-fired pizzas, always a Frankie & Fanucci’s staple, have a large presence on the menu, with no fewer than eight varieties to choose among. So it’s a surprise, then, that the Truffled Mushroom pizza (mushroom duxelle, Bel Paese cheese, ricotta, chives, truffle oil) lacks true umami dimension and needs a shake or two of salt to unlock its pleasantly earthy flavor.
A smash hit is the fragrant bowl of shrimp and linguini with tomatoes and spinach. The pasta is fresh, forming a wonderful showcase for the perfectly cooked shrimp. A sprinkle of oregano adds a homey touch. Ask for a little focaccia bread to sop up the remainder of the white wine garlic sauce, as you won’t want to leave any behind. Gluten-free pasta is available upon request.
While the portions are very generous, save room for dessert, which shines here. A classic tiramisù is flawlessly executed, with plenty of creamy, sweet mascarpone and espresso. The star of the show, though, is the panettone pudding, softened slices of fruity, sweet bread topped with fresh blueberries and a chase-every-last-spoonful crème Anglaise.
You’ll leave feeling that Granita has indeed filled Franke & Fanucci’s big shoes — and may even need a larger pair sometime soon.
202 E Hartsdale Ave