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It’s official. New York City has become Disney World, and Pulino’s is the newest attraction at Pleasure Island.
Now, I can’t claim that I was around when The Bowery was home to Syd Vicious and Dee Dee Ramone and all the people they did smack with. But I did manage to get here before CBGB turned into a John Varvatos and before Daniel Boulud took a dump on it’s memory by naming his restaurant DBGB. That’s right Danny, God Save the Queen. Unfortunately, I missed the really good stuff, when the neighborhood was filthy and punk rock changed the world. But I did at least experience something a little different – before Mickey and Goofy cleaned up the streets and put in a gift shop.
Either way, Keith McNally is here now, and he’s brought his flagship Pastis over from the Magic Kingdom. What’s the difference between Pastis and Pulino’s? Pizza. Ultimately, this is just another McNally franchise, which is fine, but you better know what to expect before you eat. You aren’t coming here for a great New York pizza experience. You’re coming here to either stare at, or show off some ridiculous legs in a miniskirt, and God bless you for that. The pizzas are definitely decent, but this place is more about the scene and having a good time. We’ll go on record saying that we are totally cool with that…but let’s not shower the joint with Michelin Stars just yet. If you want to avoid the craziness but still get in on the action and get a table, we recommend rolling up at about 10:45 on a Friday night. The bar will still be bumping, but you should sit quickly, and at midnight they begin serving a limited number of killer late night burgers. Part of us definitely wishes there was still some grit to the area, but another part of us is also just fine with late night food and miniskirts. Maybe Disney World isn’t so bad after all.
A killer burrata, drizzled with olive oil, and all around fantastic. You need this at your table.
Another must to kick off your meal at Pulino’s. This is a cast iron pot of baked ricotta cheese, served with crusty bread. The edges are crispy and brown and the middle is soft, warm and perfect.
The true test of a quality pizza. Believe it or not, this is one of the better pies we had at Pulino’s. Simple and delicious.
Rock shrimp and speck is an interesting pizza combo, but it definitely works here. The briny shrimp and salty speck are friends when they’re together in my mouth.
Ah yes, now we’re in our element. Porchetta on pizza is a good fucking idea. The pork is tasty and liberally dispersed, and the fennel comes through strong. This one racked up a few points on the rating for sure.
A pretty basic mushroom pizza. The ‘shrooms are good, and this is fine, it’s just nothing special.
Sausage and broccoli rabe, with a nice kick from some chiles. We liked this one quite a bit.