Don't worry. Pulino's executive chef Nate Appleman is not angry with us. He was only pulling a face for the camera.
Side by Side
I ordered a Margherita ($14) and a Polpettine pizza ($19) for a light lunch grazing. (Ever since seeing Nick Solare's artful side-by-side shot in his East Harlem Patsy's review, I've, um, been inspired to borrow that compositional theme.)
The Famous Exterior
If you follow the New York food blogs, you have seen various incarnations of the exterior here. In what was probably the most ridiculous escalation of "plywood" quote-unquote "reportage," blogz were falling all over themselves to get pictures of even a bit of window glass. I hope you're happy that Slice waited till there was something to actually show.
Big Ol' Pizza Bubble
And here's a bit of a closer look. You can almost see how thick the sauce is. I would say that Bowery-style is a little bit Neapolitan, a little bit New Haven, and a little bit "bar style." And, yes, like many bar-style pizzas, it's sliced into "party cut" or "tavern style."
See what I meant about New Haven–esque? Here's a shot of Frank Pepe's to compare.
From left, the underside of the Margherita and that of the Polpettine (meatball).
Yeah, it means meatball in Italiano. Here, the beef meatballs are sliced flat, not applied in little meaty spheres. This one has tomato sauce, mozzarella, grana padano, basil, and—the thing that knocks it out of the park—pickled chile peppers.
I just wanted to pull back from the close-up to give you a full picture here, lest anyone accuse me of trying to hide some blemishes. The crust on this one was burned on one side. But cut 'em some slack, right? It was the first day; they're getting used to the oven; and the place was mighty, crazy busy.
Executive Chef and Expediter
So busy, in fact, that Mr. Appleman was working as de facto expediter at the oven station.
The decor is studiously funky, like this table made from a "police line" saw horse. I didn't take many interior shots because I didn't want to make fellow patrons uncomfortable; if you want more interior porn, check out Grub Street.
I ordered a Porchetta ($19) to go to bring back to the Slice–Serious Eats office. Topped with thick slices of porchetta, tomato sauce, roasted fennel, garlic, mozzarella, and pecorino. Ed Levine here said it passed the "hour-old test." "I liked the ratio of sauce to cheese," he said, "and the crust didn't suffer from rigor mortis."
Affogato for Dessert
A nice finish. Ice cream flecked with anise seeds and espresso poured over. With a trio of biscotti for crunch-n-munchin'.