Two-year-old Bruno Pizza, the divisive East Village Neapolitan pie place known for milling its own flour, wants to return its 2015 zero star review to Pete Wells and the New York Times. Shortly before its Times review, Eater critic Ryan Sutton cast Bruno a glowing two star assessment, while later in the year Eater critic Robert Sietsema named the restaurant’s Fairytale Egglplant appetizer one of the best dishes of 2015.
In a letter dated October 6, 2017 and addressed to Wells and the Times Dining section, Bruno Pizza proprietor Demian Repucci calls out reputed chef Sébastien Bras’ recent statement requesting to relinquish the three Michelin stars held by Le Suquet à Laguiole, his restaurant in the South of France, and declares, “It is in this same spirit that I would like to give back the New York Times ‘zero star’ review of Bruno Pizza in 2015.” He goes on to cite Wells’ three star review of Jersey City’s Razza Pizza Artigianale last month, which caused him to wonder how his own eatery could have earned zilch. “...[T]he sting was suddenly rekindled with this review,” he writes, adding, “Which then raised the question for me, in what context was Bruno Pizza reviewed?”
Repucci continues on to agree with Wells that his two co-opening chefs, Justin Slojkowski and Dave Gulino, who have both since decamped from the restaurant, “had absolutely no idea how to run a restaurant kitchen,” and that “they were really only interested in fussy ‘tasting menu’ food...” Therefore, he states that Wells’ “zero star review was about a restaurant other than what was [his] vision for it.” He also mentions the fact that Bruno was reviewed just three months in, while Razza Pizza Artigianale’s critique came after five years of business.
In conclusion, Repucci writes, “So that zero- star reviewed restaurant back when Bruno Pizza was only a baby is not the restaurant we are now ... So I would respectfully like to give back my zero star review to the New York Times. Thank you but no thanks.”