Jeff Weinstein (The Counter, Cadet) recently brought in Frank Pinello of Best Pizza Brooklyn to retool his three year-old West LA restaurant. Freddy Smalls begin life as a more of a gastropub but always had fine dining chefs helming the kitchen. After Charlie Parker (and later his sous chef Victoria Yang) departed, the kitchen had wandered.
Through out the chef swaps, the space, with its obvious New York homage and vibe thanks to its compact space and subway tiles, screamed for a menu evocative of NYC. And Pinello is about to bring that New York flavor. Best Pizza is known for its old-timey slices that stay true to ingredient quality, as well as Bill Meier, its dogged all-weather, all-purpose, fixie-riding delivery warrior who just passed away last month.
But Pinello, having previously partnered with Roberta's, had been itching to get back into a fixing a "red sauce Italian" menu. He says the new dishes at Freddy will go back to basics, be completely devoid of tweezer food, and over-deliver by offering Brooklyn Italian comfort food with solid execution. Think: clams casino (with XO sauce), meatballs, crostini, and mozzarella, all with local ingredients. Pinello is a student of Dan Barber's Third Plate, but is also heavily influenced by his nonna's Sicilian cooking.
The menu revamp is already in the works, and should be completed by March 2. There was a slight interruption as Pinello traveled back and forth between NYC and LA to tend to Meier, who fell ill in January. Lunch and brunch menus will follow shortly in March as well. In the mean time, those interested in tasting Best Pizza's Brooklyn slices should head over to Prime Pizza, where Frank Pinello was the opening consulting chef.