Today, Sam Sifton files on the seven week-old Keith McNally pizza place Pulino's, giving its transplant chef Nate Appleman an enthusiastic one star. It's surprisingly early for a full Times assessment, but he puts out a good read today and especially nails the space:
Pulino’s can be punishingly loud, particularly when the walls on the east side of the room are open to blatting trucks on the Bowery and everyone’s shouting into the din. But it is beautiful, and the service has the practiced excellence of first-class air travel or Parisian bistros. The restaurant is a vision of Manhattan that, like all of Mr. McNally’s projects, is at once entirely fake and entirely accurate. Restaurant dressed as theater dressed as nostalgia, is how the novelist Richard Price put it, in “Lush Life.” That’s Pulino’s exactly.
As for the food, he likes the burgers, the breakfast. The goat meatballs elicit an "oh, man," the duck gets a "yes." His steak makes for "fantastic eating," the cabbage is "delicious," while the lamb fazzoletti is "the sort of dish you go to sleep thinking about, dreaming about, and wake up desiring." In sum, "Pulino’s is not really a pizzeria, nor a bar. It is a restaurant, a good one." [NYT]
Alan Richman gives his seal of approval to ABC Kitchen, "one of the best new restaurants to open this year": "The food is imaginative, creative, varied, and, for the most part, beautifully prepared, with more than a few hints of Vongerichten at his intuitive best. What we have here is something no other restaurant in this space came close to achieving: sustainability." [GQ]
Ryan Sutton declares the wd~50 is good enough for everyday eating: "Curl up with a bowl of rare duck breast with sinus clearing kimchi in comforting cheddar consomme. Ruby-red flap steak, cooked sous-vide, is just three or so slices for $35, but dredge it in malt-flavored beef jus and you struggle to finish it. Richness trumps portion size." [Bloomberg]
Sarah DiGregorio has a thing for the crust at Greenpoint pizza shop Paulie Gee's: "It's the crust that burrows into your brain—a stretchy, bubbly, char-spotted pillow of a bread, the thought of which makes your stomach growl days later. It smells so sweetly of yeast you want to bury your nose in it..." [VV]
Plattypants gives three stars to ABC Kitchen, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's "most overtly gimmicky undertaking yet." His companions poke fun at the place at first, but "when the food began to arrive, these mutterings were quickly replaced by studious, almost scholarly silences, punctuated by quiet exclamations of pleasure." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Ligaya Mishan calls The Vanderbilt delicious but calculating while newcomer Kaz an Nou has a great Creole burger, Gael Greene is mostly impressed with Michael Bao's newest DOB 111, Jay Cheshes gives Fatty 'Cue three out of five stars, Tables for Two has a satisfying but costly meal at Midtown's Casa Lever, and Robert Sietsema heads to Jamaica to try the Liberian restaurant Maima's.
THE BLOGS: NY Journal is sorely disappointed by the food at Kenmare, The Ubereater reports that Ditch Plains is serving a successful lobster bake, The Hungry Roach recommends spending Cinco de Mayo at Mercadito, NYC Food Guy discovers that Gem Spa really does have the city's best egg creams, NYC Foodie's mind is blown at East Village newcomer Bar Paya, Immaculate Infatuation thinks Pulino's is more about the scene than the pizza, and The Food Doc reveals that the food at Ryan Skeen's 5 & Diamond pleases and surprises.