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Pizzeria Bruno

Is Beta Chowhound at fault for my not being able to find a search result for Bruno on the Manhattan board? Annoying. Well, anyway...

about 8 hours ago
Pan in Manhattan

Pizzeria Bruno

I couldn't find a dedicated thread for Pizzeria Bruno, so I thought I'd start one, as my girlfriend and I went there last night for the first time.

My first impression of the place was that they were really trying for a gritty East Village look. The walls I was facing were whitewashed brick, the plates are printed with a picture of a truck with graffiti all over its sides, the cloth napkins had a silhouette of a New York City streetlight on them, and hard rock at a loudish (though by no means intolerable) volume was playing on the sound system. But this kind of place could have never opened in the gritty East Village of the 1980s, though it might have worked on MacDougal St. in the 1990s. In any event, it is a pizzeria unlike any I've ever gone to. Franny's in Prospect Heights is the closest, but I never remember anything as bold tasting from them as what we had last night. Bruno is a restaurant that embraces extremes in tastes.

Our waiter was quite friendly and recommended I believe at least four of the pizzas on the menu, plus some other things. He confirmed that both the Pasta and "Market" items are smaller than the pizzas (for example, he said there were 4 or 5 diver scallops in the $18 "market" plate of them), so we decided the most sensible thing to do was split two pizzas.

We ordered the Margherita and the Nduja.

Pizza Margherita is usually the classic Neapolitan tricolor pizza of tomato sauce, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella. But this was not a traditional margherita; rather it was an offbeat reinterpretation of that paradigm. This version was described on the menu as "mozzarella, fermented tomato, lovage". The fermented tomato was significantly funky, to the extent that we probably wouldn't order this again, but we did find it interesting. Lovage is an herb I don't think I had ever tried before, nor had my girlfriend. The pizza was pretty salty and might have been too salty if not for the lovage. Lovage is a very perfumy herb that some people will not like because they may feel like they are eating perfume or soap, but we thought it was delicious and really caused this pizza to make it. This pizza also had a decent amount of small red pepper flakes, though fewer than I usually pour on my own pizza. There was also basil on this pizza.

The Nduja was described as "spicy pork, cauliflower, mozzarella, tomato, sorrel" (or at least that's what it says on pictures of menus I've found online - no current menu is available, and I thought this actually might have had some salty Grayson cheese in it, rather than mozzarella). When they say "spicy pork", they don't fool around! This was not as spicy as really spicy Thai or Sichuan food, but it really had a bite. The cauliflower had a perfect texture. I don't remember a specific taste of sorrel and maybe the current version doesn't have it (if it did, it was well enough integrated that it was just part of the overall taste). In any case, this was great and we would order it again.

Both pizzas had delicious crusts, and by the way, after one slice apiece was in the refrigerator for over 24 hours, I ate them cold and they tasted good, with the Margherita possibly better now.

The sommelier described and recommended something like 8 red wines, and I told him the ones that he mentioned were minerally or from volcanic soil sounded most interesting to me and were wines I hadn't tried before and therefore found interesting, so I asked him to select the two or three wines he thought were most interesting and give us tastes.

We selected a Terre Nere from the slopes of Mt. Etna that was terrific - an interesting minerally taste with a super-long finish, at $16 a glass (I think bottles were $64, a fair value compared to the glass, but we weren't in the mood to drink more than a glass apiece). We felt that the spicy, funky, salty pizza needed a wine like that to cut through and interact with it.

The total bill, including a service charge of 20% (no tipping allowed) was $84 and change. I won't be going to Bruno every night and probably wouldn't want to even if money (and waiting time - we did wait just a little for a table, though not too long) weren't an object, but this is a really thoughtful, interesting restaurant that really strikes me as giving a damn about all aspects of food, drink, service and ambiance. I'm glad it's there, and I surely will be back to try other pizzas and wines.

about 9 hours ago
Pan in Manhattan

Branching out in the East Village

I don't think Pizzeria Bruno was open yet when I started this thread. In any event, my girlfriend and I went yesterday, and it fits into my "no more than once every 2 months" category. The two pizzas we had were very creative though with strong tastes and not for everybody, and we had a terrific wine (1 glass apiece). I believe the total was about $84 and change, including the 20% service charge (no tipping allowed).

Here's my report on Pizzeria Bruno: http://beta.chowhound.com/post/pizzer...

about 9 hours ago
Pan in Manhattan

Grand Harmony is closed

I used to go there in the early morning for a placid meal when I was up that early (like one day when I was excused from jury duty right away). Yeah, it was fun for many years, though I haven't gone for quite a few now. It'll be interesting to see what replaces it.

1 day ago
Pan in Manhattan

Best dim sum in Chinatown?

What dim sum places have you been to in Queens and Brooklyn? Not only have I found places like Asian Jewels way better than Golden Unicorn, Dim Sum Go Go is also way better. I know you had one bad experience there, but I just find it weird that a really sloppy place like Golden Unicorn meets with approval from you, and after the meal I had there a couple of months ago, I am not going to give them another chance.

P.S. The next time you are on the West Coast, make sure you check chowhound and other likely sites for recommendations. I had a dim sum lunch in South San Francisco that was better than any I've had on this side of the Pacific.

Sep 02, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

Gabriel Kreuther - reservations (not just on bookings!)

It was impossible to reserve at Lupa between something like 6:30 and 10 (occasionally maybe 9:45 or so) for so long that I more or less stopped going there, and now after having had an objectionably salty lunch there a few months ago, they've probably lost me permanently (unless someone else reserves a family dinner there and invites me).

Sep 01, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

Help with final dinner decision: Babbo, Locanda Verde, Osteria Morini or...?

Didn't taste good?

Sep 01, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

Looking for some good pizza or Italian

McDonald's is famous, too. Don't go to Carmines; it sucks.

Sep 01, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

Best dim sum in Chinatown?

After reading at least qualified praise for Golden Unicorn on this board, I went back a couple of months ago, and it was mediocre to poor.

Sep 01, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

Angeleno moving to NYC looking for help!

I was recently at Flor de Mayo (101 St.) and tried a stewed beef with cilantro sauce that was very good, with surprisingly tender beef. My girlfriend got the Loma Saltado, which both of us also liked.

Aug 31, 2015
Pan in Manhattan
1

Angeleno moving to NYC looking for help!

I'm not so sure Awadh isn't a destination restaurant for people in other neighborhoods. There sure aren't many restaurants I'd travel to the Upper West Side specifically to go to. Maybe I wouldn't for Awadh, either, all things being equal, but that's mainly because of some emotional baggage I have (that's my old neighborhood). However, any time I'm reasonably close to there, I want to go for dinner at Awadh again.

Aug 31, 2015
Pan in Manhattan
1

2nd Budda Buddai @ 77 Mulberry Street

Has to do with kosher certification. Nowadays, a lot of Orthodox Jews won't eat at even a strictly vegetarian restaurant if it's open on days like Saturday when Orthodox Jews (including rabbis who certify kashrut) wouldn't be able to inspect.

Aug 30, 2015
Pan in Kosher

Unique NYC bakeries

Two Little Red Hens makes great squares (lemon, lime/coconut, linzer, etc.). I have no idea whether those are "unique" enough for you.

Aug 30, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

L.A. hound visiting NYC in November -- recommendations?

The first two places below are destination restaurants; the next two are more in the nature of quality neighborhood places;

The best Ethiopian restaurant I know of in New York is Zoma, 113th St. and 8th Av. (Frederick Douglass Blvd.), an easy walk from there.

Awadh, on Broadway between 97th and 98th Sts., is where I had my best Indian meal in years recently. Though it was only one meal, I would definitely give it my recommendation.

Freda's Caribbean & Soul Cuisine is on Columbus Av. just south of 109th St.

Crepes on Columbus (between 108th and 109th Sts.) is quite worthwhile, though not the best crepes I've had in Manhattan (those are at Crepes Canaveral on St Marks Place near 1st Av.).

Try searching this board under terms like "Columbia", "Harlem" and "Upper West Side" for more ideas.

Aug 30, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

True bird chiles at Eataly

Does Bangkok Grocery on Mosco St. not sell chilis of these approximate dimensions?

Aug 29, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

True bird chiles at Eataly

Just how small are these chilis that you saw?

Aug 29, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

Bites on/near Broadway for and end-to-end walk

Unfortunately, it could be out of business, which would really be too bad. It's too long ago for me to remember the name of the bakery.

Aug 28, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

Best dim sum in Chinatown?

I went back to Dim Sum Go-Go within the past couple of weeks and had dumplings with 2 friends. All of them were good. So I would recommend them, but my past experience is that their buns tend to be overly doughy and the dough can then get soggy from condensation.

Aug 27, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

Bites on/near Broadway for and end-to-end walk

Its a very rich cake made with batter that is filled with shredded coconut (and probably coconut milk, but I'm not sure) and cooked with a lot of butter, and has pineapple jam in between the top and bottom pieces of cake. By the way, you're right: Google image results don't show something that looks like this Dominican cake at all. And the recipes that include cream cheese are really something else, not this cake.

Aug 27, 2015
Pan in Manhattan
1

Michelin New York Predictions 2016

Laut didn't deserve a star, and I found that whether I got genuine Malaysian food depended solely on whether I had a Malay-speaking server, but its food was probably more refined, overall - and also more upscale in price and feel, which I think affects Michelin raters - than Somtum Der's.

Aug 26, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

Michelin New York Predictions 2016

Yes, that's one of their best dishes.

Aug 26, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

Michelin New York Predictions 2016

It's a neighborhood restaurant for me, and I'm a regular. But do you really like their larb?

Aug 26, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

Michelin New York Predictions 2016

Bib gourmand. A Michelin-starred place should never serve black-tipped lettuce like Nish Nush did when I went there.

Aug 26, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

Michelin New York Predictions 2016

Perhaps. But the thing is, some of their dishes are good and others (for example, their watery larb) are not.

Aug 26, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

Michelin New York Predictions 2016

Are you predicting Somtum Der will get a Michelin star? I like the place to a point but I'm not sure they deserve a NY Times star. A Michelin star for them would be insane.

Aug 26, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

If you had $500 to spend on one meal for 2, where would it be?

After having looked through the recommended dishes in that NYT review, the rice dish was claypot rice.

Aug 26, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

Bites on/near Broadway for and end-to-end walk

Does anyone know if there's still a Dominican bakery on the west side of Broadway between 137th and 138th Sts. that makes great coco pinas? They always had wedding cakes in the window. I used to love that place in the late 80s and went back again several years ago. Coco pinas are very rich, but worth having.

Aug 26, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

If you had $500 to spend on one meal for 2, where would it be?

This New York Times review was very good: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/11/din...

Basically, my experience was that everything was sublime, and that that meal redefined for me what miso soup and chawanmushi could be, to take two examples. I also remember a rice dish that was extraordinary.

Aug 26, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

Some suggestions for two dining issues!

Weird. Is that possible?

Aug 26, 2015
Pan in Manhattan

If you had $500 to spend on one meal for 2, where would it be?

I haven't been to EMP in years, but would you consider a kaiseki meal, such as at Kyo Ya? I found that a unique and sublime experience when I did it a few years ago.

Aug 25, 2015
Pan in Manhattan