Two days ago a mom and pop pizzeria by the name of Pulino's opened on the corner of Houston and Bowery. The restaurant offers a modest selection of Neapolitan pies, square-cut, as well as savory items from a chef who made his bones in San Francisco. Yes, it's way early in the game, and yes, they've yet to roll out dinner service, but already every blogger in town, in addition to restaurant industry types, Jude Law, and other downtown glitterati have stopped in, and some have filed reports. Here are the early assessments from those that have happened upon the quiet newcomer. We wish the folks behind the place the best of luck.
The Good News: Three user reviews on Yelp so far, all positive. One happy camper recounts their experience: "Four Cheese ($15) pizza with Prosciutto (for an additional $5) - big enough to share with a friend if you're not starved and have a starter and dessert. The brick-oven crust was perfectly cooked and topped with the freshest of toppings (I hear they butcher the meat on site...truth or myth [truth], it sure tastes like it). The table next to us had ordered two pizzas to share for a group of three and they couldn't finish (pies are meant to be shared with many pork options - prosciutto, pancetta and porchetta - among the extra toppings choices you can add making them both filling and as flavorful as can rival the likes of Co., Keste, Lombardi's, Grimaldi's, John's or any other NYC pizzeria.." [Yelp]
The Bad News: A comment on Eater's Pulino's breakfast liveblog: "Food was a let down, especially the chestnut "pancake" was more like a large, deep-dish muffin with an extremely salty flavor. Not good. Obviously it's early days, but I wanted to be impressed and wasn't. The paper menus, formulaic design, Schiller's bathroom and mediocre food are all disappointing. Hopefully lunch and dinner will impress." [Eater]
The Damn Good News: Always Hungry goes into detail describing the type of pizza on offer here before extolling the goods: "The Margherita [from the main "Pizze" category] featured a tart, sweet, unchunky sauce, dressed lightly with cheese— about a 1½:1 ratio, sauce to cheese. It avoids the problems plaguing many generic slices these days: undersaucing. It is a very good pie. The category “Pizze + Uova” declares with understatement what may be the best pizza to arrive in New York in the last year. The Salsiccia consists of eggs, sausage, bacon, mozzarella, and white cheddar. It seems slightly thicker at first, but that may really only be because of the toppings. Bacon tastes like the best breakfast bacon, small nubs of sausage (as when you split the casings and sizzle break the stuff up in the pan), and very runny eggs. They keep the albumen runny, and even those not normally keen on their eggs this way should shut up and eat— it creates a sauce that combines for delicious flavor. The proportion of egg:pizza:perfect." As for the dolce, "the Ottima, a pizza with ricotta, wild blueberry jam, and bacon, is the compelling sweet pie to order...Dessert room here should be saved for more savory items. Too many good things to try. Good luck getting in."
The Solid, Cautious News: Though Adam Kuban think it's too soon to file a full-fledged review of the place, he does admit that "I liked what I had. Mr. Appleman's 'Bowery-style' pizza is a nice mixture of New Haven– and bar-style pizza. Once he and the crew get their sea legs, we'll be back." Back at his office, Ed Levine "said it passed the 'hour-old test.' 'I liked the ratio of sauce to cheese,' he said, 'and the crust didn't suffer from rigor mortis.'" [Slice/Serious Eats]
The Bad News: From the tipline: "We went for lunch on day two, and it was so busy it felt like dining at Grand Central. Also, I don't see why they cut the pizza in squares. Who wants to eat the middle square?" [Eater Tipline]
The Hot Babes, Meh Food News: From another Eater commenter: "The Good: Gorgeous babes everywhere....really hot ones Polo ad, Dolce-G. type babes...not B&T, brighton beach bimbos The Bad: the pizza looked really average; thats fine, as long as people realize if its bad...95% of people will be ordering the same 3 non-pizza items and the kitchen will melt down." [Eater]
The "Overhyped" News: Lunchstudio finds the pizza "too charred and the bang for buck not quite worth it. A little too much hype methinks." But some praise for one item: "holy yum the sunchoke and red cabbage salad we would go back for." [Lunch]
The "Familiar But Nonetheless Great" News: Guest of a Guest's Billy Gray enjoys. Here's why: "For a brand new restaurant, Pulino's ran like a well-oiled machine...for a reasonable $17 I went with the very generously portioned salsiccia (sausage, tomato, mozzarella, broccoli rabe, chiles & pecorino) instead. This could easily constitute a full lunch for a pair of more sensible diners. Dangers of the job and all, I devoured the whole cheesy, square slice thing. The pizzas are thin crust and just crispy enough without straying too far into Sicilian territory (not that there's anything wrong that). Crusts have that great wood-oven look and taste, bubbles and all...The room was as smart as the crowd that filled it...Pulino's might not break new ground when it comes to the classic Italian menu, classic McNally design or (re)established location. But McNally once again combines all three elements in a way that makes the welcoming Pulino's a welcome addition to the neighborhood. It somehow feels like it's been a local fixture for years despite just opening its doors." [Guest Of A Guest]
The "I Love Caps" News: A NYMag reader gives the restaurant a 7 and forgoes most grammatical conventions in making their case: "wow, this place has all the right notes to begin, GREAT BREAKFAST PIZZA A+++++. the bloody mary falls short, too sweet, too something and not very good. the grape fruit ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AND forget the Frittatatas..... OVER PRICED DRY AND NOT GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!STICK WITH THE PIZZA! 1 person with tip $60.00 not on BOWERY and I live here. I think I will stick with Hancho en Dumdo. sorry guys, Server Rocked friendly staff. [NYMag]
The Twitterific News: Freemans' @WilliamTigertt likes the chaos and the 'za: "industry shite show, Jude Law, Schiller's remix decor, but damn solid pizza." @scottspizzatour approves: "Pulino's Pizzeria on Houston & Bowery has a great take on thin (but not cracker) crust pizza. Scary hype can't compete with good pie. And Conant right hand man @jtascarella thinks "Pulino's is delicious, happy to try again soon. Still really love Veloce though (I know it's totally different)." [Twitter]