Early last week, restaurateur Michael McConnell opened a Lower East Side outpost of his popular Seattle-area project Via Tribunali and threw in a location of his Caffe Vita as a bonus. Tribunali is a pizzeria serving Neapolitan-style pies baked at 1000 degrees in a brick oven that was built on-site from parts that were imported directly from Naples. The menu features 15 pizzas, all of which are made with locally-sourced ingredients, plus calzones, antipasti plates, and a full list of beer and wine. Shockingly enough, there are no fried pies. But don't worry, there's a restaurant for that and that alone coming soon.
So far, the early diners have written in with raves, with just a few detractors here and there claiming it's not worth the trip. See what the early goers are saying ahead.
The Good News: The one Menupages review is a positive one: "Truly incredible pizza, the owners were so warm and welcoming, the brick oven is marvelous, the wine is tasty, and the place is cute and cozy. Can't wait to go back!" [Menupages]
The Bad News: The lone Eater commenter is not blown away: "While the toppings were pretty tasty, they have some work to do on the crust - Neapolitan it ain't (at this point). No oven spring means the oven wasn't hot enough, imo." [Eater Comments]
The Great News: All of the Yelp reviews are five stars and all come from relatively seasoned reviewer (i.e. probably not shills). Here's one: "Teeny tiny and oh so delicious. It brought me right back to Italy including two Italian speaking cooks. We had the mozzarella and prosciutto appetizer which was a decent size, and shared the prosciutto, mushroom and pepperoni pizza. The crust was perfectly thin and crunchy. It was filling but given more of an appetite - I could easily devour one pizza on my own. The house red wine was also wonderfully complimentary to this great meal. Small personal preference - wish the chairs had backs to them." [Yelp]
Some More Good(!) News: Here's another rave from Yelp: "...we had the octopus and arugula salad (good!), mushroom and prosciutto (super!), the via tribunali special (good!) and for dessert we had the nutella calzone. I think the nutella calzone was overkill since we had 2 pizzas already, but it was still pretty good. We would definitely come back to try the other pizzas." [Yelp]
The Okay News: An Eater reader writes in: "The pizza is totally decent but no better than what they're doing over at Motorino or Keste or to a lesser degree Forcella. I'd say it's fine if you're in the area but don't go out of your way for it, especially with so many great pizza options in New York." [Eater Tipline]
The Paulie Gee Take: Greenpoint pizza sensation Paulie Fee tweets: "Beautiful intimate space. Uncut pies. Very Napoletana menu. But where's the Montanara?" [Twitter]
More Good News: Here are the Foursquare tips so far: "Nutella calzone is amazing, order the Stella (it's not on the menu), and the prosciutto fungi is delicious pizza too." And: "Get the Vesuvio calzone. Amazing!" [Foursquare]