Pulino’s. Location: Bowery. Bowery and Houston. Scene: Hipsters. Trendy. Local. Chill. Food: Italian. Pizza. Meatballs. Roasted Grapefruit. Skillet-Baked Eggs. Biscuits + Gravy. Egg Pizza. Egg Sandwich. Cheeseburger. Focaccia Caprese.
- Funghi + Eggs Pizza: Mushrooms. Pancetta. Mascarpone. Grana (2nd pic)
- Farro Salad: Cranberries. Walnuts, Raddichio with Maple Vinaigrette (3rd pic)
- Pulino’s Pancake: Skillet-Baked with Blueberries + Lemon Ricotta (4th pic)
- Frittata of the Day (pic below)
Pulino’s synonymous with sir Keith McNally, New York’s premier restauranteur who basically makes neighborhoods cool just by opening up a restaurant there, opened this pizza place on Bowery about three years ago in March 2010. The prime example of his success goes to the Meatpacking district and his French spot Pastis. Years ago this neighborhood was just for chopping meat and nothing glamorous. Pastis was built and boom now we have the trendiest neighborhood around including: the Standard Hotel, The High Line, models and bottles (aka club life), expensive boutiques and stores like DVF and Tory Burch and it all came about because of Keith McNally or at least that’s what I believe.
Back to Pulino’s on Bowery. This is his latest Manhattan restaurant (as he’s been busy opening up Balthazar in London this year). I obnoxiously went on opening night and sat at a table a few feet away from Mr. McNally and his daughters and yes, I got excited about it. Here, it’s the pizza he focuses on and stays true to New York using thin crust and lots of red sauce which is rich and thick. The decor resembles his other loves with heaps of alcoholic bottles on shelving, shiny mirrors, thin European napkins with the red line and not to mention the bathroom where the Men and Women’s are the same entrance and share the same sink – a trademark of his empire. There are also bowls of dried pasta and olive oil bottles sprinkled around. Now I have not been back to dinner here even though I loved the meatballs, pizza crust and gnocchi, but recently I’ve been eyeing the brunch menu and dove into this. Two weekends in a row to be exact – not by choice but also not upset by it.
Now onto the brunch food and excuse my Keith McNally rant. The breakfast pizza’s are a must. Who wants runny egg all over their cheese and crispy crust? No one. Who thinks its the best thing you’ve ever eaten? Everyone. We tried three: the Spinach, Pancetta and Funghi. Don’t mess around just get the Funghi. The ‘shrooms and the grana (cheese) are delicious with the crunchy crust. The Pancetta and Spinach pizza’s are just a bit creamier and heavier, and you need to save room for the Skillet-Baked Pancake. This thing is incredible (not just because it comes in a skillet) but because it’s like cake for breakfast and you get to add maple syrup to it and not be judged. It’s fluffy, sweet and a major game changer in the world of pancakes. I also love the Farro Salad as it’s tossed with Craisins and Sweet Potatoes. It’s fresh and all the textures and flavors work. You could probably also find this across the street at Whole Foods. The Frittata of the day is thick, tall, round and not overcooked. Ours had butternut squash, spinach, cheese and mushrooms. If you want to go light and skip all the carbs, this is your jam. The Baked Ziti + Meatballs (pic above) are pretty good but I wish it was Meatballs + Baked Ziti instead because the meat is so awesome and way better than the noodles. Soak up the sauce with your pizza if you’re a real animal. Skip the Enchilada + Eggs. No one needs to add a random Mexican dish to an Italian brunch unless it’s right. The taste is off.
As you can tell, this is one of my (new) favorite brunch places. One perk is that it’s probably the easiest of all KM restaurants to get a last minute reservation at on Opentable. The trend continues. Three years later and look around. Bowery is exploding with new restaurants such as: Peels, Saxon + Parole, L’Apicio, The General, Bowery Diner, Mile End Deli, Le Philosophe, Forcella, etc. Who to thank? This guy…