Bruno Pizza

204 E 13th St. New York, NY 10003(212) 598-3080 brunopizzanyc.com

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As a rule, it’s generally frowned upon to like your in-laws, much less love them, but when they find you gems like Bruno’s it’s kinda hard not to love the bejesus out of them. A “hot list” mention in Turkish Vogue (yes, there’s a Turkish Vogue), my mother in-law decided to give it a whirl. And then another and another, and before she knew it she was a dervish going back and forth to this restaurant five times in an eight week period. And while I had never even heard of the place myself, if it’s one thing my in-laws know- well, it’s probably diplomacy. But if there are two things, it’s food. So, I made it priority and grabbed wifey to head down for a bite.

The place is much hipper than most pie places, but the subway car-shaped dinning space with white on white box seats that double as a torture device and a music selection that does the same, it starts to make you feel like you’re in Guantanamo being forced to balance your ass on a cinder block whilst being exposed to shrieks and shrills that try to pass themselves off as music.

So already docking one star for setting, the food was going to have to do a ton of work to climb back out of the hole they were starting in. And my glass of wine wasn’t helping things either. Not because the wine itself was bad, in fact it was a very nice Syrah, but it was served in a glass reeking so heavily of the detergent it was washed in that it took away form the bouquet of the vino.

And then suddenly Bruno went on a tear, opening with an Ultimate Brussels sprouts, every bit as good as Ilili, but without the fried guilt, which so many other restaurants are doing now, loading up the sprouts with bacon and other goodies to the point where they are more like French fries than vegetables. But not Bruno. They let the sprouts shine through, with just the right amount of pizazz to make them special. Pizazz courtesy of apple butter, shishito peppers and puffed black rice.

As for the pies themselves, both were outstanding and both were served up on a whole wheat crust, shockingly enough. But not your typical, earthy, over-powering whole wheat. This is done in such a subtle way that you get all of the good and none of the bad, leaving you with a crust that rivals some of the best you could ever name.

The first of the pies was the Tasso Ham topped with smoked blue cheese, thinly sliced Fuji apples, sage and shallots. It’s excellent, but being the heat-seeker that I am, I found that it needed crushed red pepper to give it balance.

On the other hand, the Mushroom pie doesn’t need a thing other than your mouth, and is the best shroom pie I’ve had since Oenotri in Napa, CA. Topped with a blend of locally sourced fungi ranging from shitake to cremini, paired with a decadent béchamel, chives and chiles.

And to finish off, while the options are slim, they prove to be all you need. A refreshing duo of gelatos of which we opted for the Meyer lemon variety. But Bruno doesn’t do anything expected, serving it up with freshly sliced kumquats, mulberries, lemon curd and meringue brittle. It was so much more than we expected, capping the night on the highest of highs.

If you fashion yourself as a pizza connoisseur, then you need to hop your bones in cab and head to Bruno’s, presto!

4 teeth

Bellizzi

153 E Main St. Mount Kisco, NY10549 • (914) 241-1200bellizzifood.com

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If you are just going for pizza, be warned that without kids you will likely find this place to be hell on Earth. It’s part arcade, part romper room- oh, and part pizzeria. But if you order delivery, none of that really matters, now does it? All that matters is the food. And to be fair, that’s usually all that matters. After all, I’d rather eat an incredible meal in a hovel than a crappy meal in a castle.

So, shocking as it may be, this garish, kid-laden eyesore actually manages to serve up a pretty mean pie. My favorite being their namesake, the Bellizzi Special with lemon thyme crust, roasted peppers, zucchini, herbs, and a killer sauce- My wife and I were both extremely impressed. Better than 80% of the pies you get in Manhattan.

Beyond that pie, however, the drop off is steep. And if you don’t have kids I strongly urge that you head elsewhere for your pizza-fix. In the immediate area I recommend Old Stone Trattoria or surprisingly Village Social. Both have solid pies, without the cheese… meaning cheesy decor. The pies obviously have cheese.

2 teeth

Pie Face

169 West 23rd St. New York, NY10011(855) 444-3388piefacenyc.com

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While I went there all like 🙂

I left more like :l

Here’s why:

The Chicken and Mushroom pie was 😦 because it lacked seasoning. Way too bland and gooey with not much flavor.

Worse still was the chunky beef, which tasted more like Alpo- not sure what the emoticon would be for this, but I’ll go with :@.

Fortunately things picked up with the Pulled Pork BBQ and the Philly Cheesesteak. Both a solid :l

But the true winners were the Thai Chicken and my personal fav, the Tandori Vegetable. Both a resounding 🙂

So, it would seem that Pie Face is better at the non-traditional meat pies. And that I am better at reviews sans emoticons.

As for dessert, the chocolate chip snicker doodle cookie also sucked. Too hard and dry and lacking flavor. And service was a touch on the pissy side.

Certainly not the makings for a 🙂 if you’re shopping for one.

2 teeth