Desserts & Bakeries
Southern & Soul
Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens
Lower East Side
Upper East Side
Upper West Side
CUISINE: Italian, Pizza
NEIGHBORHOOD: Lower East Side
282 Bowery at Houston
I'm not sure if it's fair to judge Pulino's on one pizza at midnight, but I'm going to do it anyway. Background info: Pulino's is the newest establishment by downtown restaurateur Keith McNally. Working the kitchen is Nate Appleman, who moved from San Francisco just for the job. I actually ate at his former restaurant, A16, when I was in SF two summers ago and it was fantastic. I love McNally's other restaurants –Schillers, Minetta, Balthazar, to name a few — so I was confident this new one was going to impress me. CONT'D
Turns out, I'm going to have to agree with Adam Platt, whose harsh review of Pulino's earned him a raging letter from McNally himself. (Hey Keith, if you're reading, my email address is Jena@theyoungandhungry.com.) After a movie on Saturday night, I stopped by Pulino's and was happy to find that, despite a crowd outside, there were several tables available. Everyone's talking about how the place looks identical to Schillers, but I couldn't believe it when I saw it— the same checkered floors, walls lined with liquor bottles, magazine rack. The wine is even organized in a similar fashion, copying Schiller's "cheap, decent, good" system with a "light, medium, full." Talk about a lack of creativity.
Since it was late and I wasn't too hungry, I ordered simply: carafe of "full" wine and a pepperoni pizza. The pizza wasn't necessarily bad, but it reminded me of pizza that I make at home — as much as I try, I can't get the crust to taste like it does at a good restaurant; it's dry and flat, like matzoh, without much flavor on its own. So too was the crust at Pulinos. As for the sauce, I'd take mine over Pulino's, which got dark and tomato pastey near the crust. Lastly, it's hard not to like pepperoni, but Pulino's was thin and dry, just nothing special.
It's true that I bypassed entire sections of the menu — appetizers, salads, desserts — but one would think pizza should be the main draw here, right? Though it might seem harsh, I'm going to allow my mediocre pepperoni pizza to speak for the entire restaurant. And it's saying: Go to Motorino.
Posted in FOOD on May 26, 2010 12:03pm by Jena Steinbach | 5556 comments
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We are young (early 20's) and hungry (for knowledge! music! art! food!) friends living on (or in areas which border) Manhattan. We moved to the city seeking higher education, and an alternative to frat parties and gin buckets. We prefer a bottle of Chianti to a keg, lunches at City Bakery to a dining hall, Joe's to Starbucks, Frankie's Amatriciana to Batali's. Our uniting factor is our love for food. For detailed, personal information, keep reading.
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