After a lengthy visit to the New Museum, and hungry, we found ourselves outside Pulino's, Keith McNally's pizza joint on the Bowery. It was late afternoon and the place was already starting to fill up. But it didn't take too long to secure a table.
I would describe the atmosphere inside Pulino's as joyous chaos; plates clanging and lots of chatter as the waitstaff works the tables. Pulino's draws an eclectic crowd ranging from tourists pinching pennies to trendy hipsters, and just about everyone in between.
The space itself breathes old New York with lots of exposed brick and tiled columns. A large archway reveals an open kitchen with flames dancing in the wood-burning oven where the pizzas are made.
We quickly settled in with a few of pints of ice cold beer and ordered some fried calamari as we waited for our pizzas to arrive. The rings of squid were golden and crispy and perfect for dipping in a bright marinara sauce. I don't know if it was hunger or the beer, or the food itself, but we were in pure calamari heaven.
When the pizzas arrived they were larger than I expected. One pie could easily be shared, although you will probably want to eat the whole thing yourself. The crust is thick with just the right amount of char. We ordered two pies. One was packed with sausages and chucks of sweet pepper, the other was a clam pie with bits of caramelized onions. We thoroughly enjoyed both, although I'd give the sausage a slight edge.
But you will find more than just pizza at Pulino's. There are seared scallops, roasted chicken and an oven-roasted rib-eye. The restaurant is also serving breakfast pizzas, like the Patate, made with eggs, potatoes and sausage.
Pulino's has a little bit of everything for everyone. Maybe that's why everyone is heading to Pulino's