The following is a regular review column by ‘The Viand Pundit,’ our anonymous restaurant critic:
The Viand Pundit Reviews Frankie’s B-Town Bistro – Italian Restaurant
By Viand Pundit
I just can not get enough of the fine dining that Italian cuisine can and does offer to the culture-hungry Burien appetite. A careful observation shows a sprinkling of this style in our region from tiny Bistros to long standing steadfast Burien icons. Frankie’s was a curious clam in my linguine to me as I found this story fun to write as I took employment incognito to observe from within.
First, I should share some history about my relationship with this restaurant…
There was once a little restaurant called Filaberto’s on Des Moines Memorial Drive near the airport. We had just finished a lovely dinner and at that time and I worked for one of many Seattle’s “first” Craft brewery swarms. I asked to speak to whom was in charge of buying beer to make an appointment. A very pleasant older gentleman greeted us after we had paid and said “We have no interest in beer here.” Really? It was the last time we had a chance to dine there for shortly thereafter I noticed the place had closed.
A couple of years ago, I was very surprised to see the name of Filaberto’s pop up on the Burien Town Square on SW 152nd. It was with great joy when I spied the wood stove pizza oven when we entered. The bartender turned out to be exparte Elysian brewhouse family and was quite knowledgeable. They had a good run but like all restaurants, its tough to stay afloat now and soon the open sign light up the sidewalks no more and the sign came down.
It seemed like it was not more than a while when activity stirred at the same storefront. I perked through the window to see the reshaping and emergence of the restaurant, Frankie’s. I watched for awhile to let them get settled into the groove before I wanted to try out the menu.
Soon I read an ad for a short/prep chef and applied. I dummied down as I did not want them to know how much I knew about the kitchen as a food critic.
I was hired immediately and worked with an ever-changing staff of kitchen personal I found the owners Frankie, and Frank Genzale, to be some of the nicest folks in the restaurant industry and was an absolute pleasure to work for. NY Chef Joe Verdoliva is a fully trained, knowledgeable and very skilled artist with food. The staff has to work hard to meet the standards of this fine chef. I was very pleased to find the same bartender from Filabertto’s and other disclosure that this was the same family restaurant personnel.
The dining room is spacious and well laid out while the decor keeps pace with interesting and tasteful placement. The bar is offset by a rail and is just big enough to accommodate the evening crowd. Seating was comfortable and the service staff was prompt and offers “charmed” and entertaining personal service. I also found the menu to offer many trails into the cuisine style that are the staple basics of any Italian restaurant and are all the things I happen to enjoy. Almost every dish delivers what you are here for, so let me focus on what I did not care for.
The meatball has a higher percentage of vegetable mirepoix than most and was noticeable in the meatball in taste and texture.
The pasta dishes are heavy on the pasta and the meat quite scant by proportion or perhaps tradition. The sauce of the tomatoes which is based on the chef’s own maternal recipe was simply pleasant and predictable, I feel it lacked and needed a little bit of the excitement that one might find in a zippier pizza sauce.
The wonderful wood-fire oven with the kitschy sign above that declares WOOD FIRE PIZZA is gas heated with a log up front for effect.The pizza is different and unto its own right, being oblong to fit the plates. Although an interesting diversion, I do not feel this is the pizza that Frankie’s could be making if the wood fire stove was used as intended. However, hardwood is expensive to keep a stove burning and I would love to see one night a week they make real wood-fire pizza and I feel it would put Frankie’s B-Town Bistro – Italian Restaurant over the top.
In final synopsis the menu’s overall pricing is at industry standard but a little high for Burien. The bargain is the happy hour and they do offer live entertainment occasionally.
I feel it is worth making a reservation and give Frankies B-Town Bistro a chance to give you a taste for your evening enjoyment!
Frankie’s B-Town Bistro
653 SW 152nd Street
Burien, WA 98166