My wife and I had been looking for a replacement for Ianelli's on Mamaroneck Avenue for our red-sauce Italian fix. We may have found it just a few blocks down the road.
Saw some old mentions of Francesco's on Chowhound, but it was a friend's enthusiastic recommendation that finally got us to go.
First of all, the place is like a time capsule. Faux wood paneling, formerly plush booths, laminated menus, low lights - if you grew up in the NYC area between the 50s and 90s, places like this ruled the earth. Not a lot of tables, and it was packed on a Saturday night, so we had to wait nearly an hour for a table.
We split a plain pizza, which was very good. A thin, crispy crust, with a fresh-tasting sauce flecked with basil and a thin layer of salty cheese - a cross between NY-style pizza and bar pizza like Colony Grill in Stamford.
We also split an order of baked ziti, which came under a thick blanket of mozzarella in a small lasagna dish. Again, the sauce tasted fresh, and like actual tomatoes - not the leaden, tomato paste-based stuff you get in so many other Italian-American places and pizza joints.
All told, about $25 for plenty of food for two. Looking around at other folks' dishes, I saw huge chicken and veal dishes, as well as spaghetti with meatballs the size of tennis balls.
Don't look for any fancy cooking here, just solid, gut-busting Italian-American food. I'm eager to explore the menu, starting with their meat gravy. If anyone has any other recommended dishes, I'd love to hear them.
600 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605