The Michelin one-star Francie in Brooklyn has become known for its duck—and for good reason. The bird is dry aged for 30 days and presented like a work of art, before being carved up and served alongside accompaniments like creamy Swiss chard and spicy soppressata jam.
But the chef-owner Christopher Cipollone didn’t intend for his duck to become the star of the show. “I never thought the duck was going to be the thing here. . .I thought I was going to sell nine or 10 a week,” he said recently in Eater’s “Mise en Place” video series. “The first friends and family we had, it was like duck, duck, duck, duck. . .I just wanted to represent the bird. It’s a beautiful sight to see a bird come out.”
Of course, the duck is just one of many dishes on Francie’s à la carte menu, and Cipollone walked Eater through a number of plates that have become fan favorites at the Brooklyn brasserie. The porchetini, for example, is one of the more technical offerings: A piece of pork tenderloin is wrapped in ground sausage, the whole thing is seared so the sausage gets cooked while the pork remains in the medium to medium-well range. Then the mini porchetta gets brushed with a pork jus before being dipped in pork cracklings and plated with tomato mostarda, potato terrine, and rosemary jus.
Francie always keeps about six different pasta dishes on the menu. In the late spring, that included a stinging-nettle tortelli with burrata and red wine. “I don’t like to shock people or anything like that,” Cipollone said. “I kind of like to use things they might not have seen but they can relate to.” There’s also lobster ravioli—the only pasta dish that involves cream—and a conchiglie with littleneck clams, bacon, and white sesame.
Similarly to the show-stopping duck—but in a form that vegetarians and omnivores alike can appreciate—the market salad is a stunner. The dish is highly labor-intensive, with three different cooks working on it over the course of three shifts. And it can have upwards of 25 ingredients, including elements that are blanched, roasted, dehydrated, and pickled. Call it the antithesis to your sad desk salad.
“Everyone goes to fine dining restaurants once. But I have people coming back sometimes once a week or more,” Cipollone said. “I’m in the business of making people happy. That’s why I cook.”