The Best New Pizza in NYC Is the East Village’s Bruno Pizza
It hardly seems like news when a new pizza restaurant opens in New York City, already home to dozens of the best pizza places in the country. But then along comes a spot like Bruno, which just started serving in early August on 13th Street in the East Village, and it's time for everyone–or, at least, everyone who loves pizza, which should be everyone–to get excited again. Bruno Pizza is an ambitious venture from three total pros, Demian Repucci, and Justin Slojkowski and Dave Gulino, who have cooked to much acclaim at places like Roberta's, Acme, and, most recently, Box Kite, where they created an insanely good tasting menu "pop-up restaurant" in a minuscule coffee shop on St. Marks. Of course, none of that would matter if the pizza (and everything else) at Bruno wasn't any good, or interesting, but I'm here to tell you that the opposite is true. Bruno Pizza is a terrific, even thrilling restaurant that's already packed nightly and will become an even tougher table once fall begins and everyone gets back from the beach/mountains/lake. Basically, the time to go here is now.
The New Upper Crust: Bruno Pizza
Bruno Pizza is one of those small, super-casual restaurants that so often these days are where much of city's most exciting cooking is being done. There a generously wide bar running down one side, a row of two of tables on the other, and a one-lane aisle in which the efficient and amiable servers and bussers scurry up and back. That piece of art on the back wall–ENES tag, Ethan Armen wheatpaste–is from the plywood that was out front during the restaurant's construction. And the most ahead-of-the-curve feature: there is no tipping at Bruno, because all checks are charged a 20% fee to (partially) cover staff salaries. This is the future of restaurant pricing here in NYC, at least among the more forward-thinking chefs and owners, so we need to get used to it.
What To Eat At Bruno
The Bruno menu is still in the testing stage, with dishes moving in and out frequently (plus, Slojkowski and Gulino are dedicated to using only the freshest ingredients, so expect seasonal changes as well), but the structure is: handful of salads and starters, several pizzas, a couple of pastas. I've only had two things so far, but both were superb, and it's only been lack of opportunity that's kept me from hitting this place again. My salad was called, simply, Cucumber, of which there was plenty (startlingly fresh, too) but the name belies the wonderful range of flavors and textures of the dish, including bitter succulents, sweet melon, and dollops of creamy buttermilk tapioca in lieu of dressing. For my pizza I went with the Nduja, crust courtesy of their custom-ground 00 flour, covered in mozzarella and tomato sauce, and topped with bits of spicy pork, cauliflower, and sorrel leaves. It was my favorite pizza of the summer.
For Menu and More Information on Bruno
Bruno is located at 204 East 13th Street, just east of Third Avenue, and is open daily at 6:30 for dinner, though is likely to change to an earlier time soon.