Perhaps it is because of Pulino’s Italian theme, in contrast to the French of it’s NYC sisters – Balthazar, Pastis, Schiller’s – that we were pleasantly surprised by the cordial welcome, relaxed atmosphere and the general level of politeness received. Such a nice exchange from the snobby service we had experienced over the years from its siblings.
After passing by for longer then we should have, avoiding Pulino’s as one does a member of an obnoxious family, one random day we finally entered; lured inside by the amber glow, tinkling of cutlery and boisterous laughter spilling out into the street. As we made our way to the bar through the bustling scene, under the infused light projected through various liquor bottles lining the walls and a warm fluorescent ceiling sequence of hanging lamps that extends all the way into the restrooms, clips of restaurants in movies played through the mind. Here one could imagine that they were in the film version of New York.
Our first experience had us enjoying a strong, cold artisanal beer and confidence-inspiring glass of Montepulciano. The Italian bartender was so nice we decided to come back the following evening for dinner. Again we sat at the bar, as the table wait was a bit long, and to our fortune – there was May. The incredibly charming bartender who happily advised us in the different food options sampled wines and joined in our enjoyment of life. This seduction brought us back again, and again. We became such pure ‘fans’ that for a week last year I made an office for myself at the end of the bar – coming daily for 10am breakfast and coffee and staying through lunch. :)
Besides the attentive. friendly service and excellent location; the food is just superb. The Eggplant Caviar is perfectly smoked and marinaded with smooth olive oil and warm spices; accompanied by a paper-thin Italian flatbread. It is so delectable, I still think about it throughout the day. The pizzas are light and not over seasoned, allowing each ingredient to be individually counted as part of the whole. The Melon Salad with Bulgar and the Pumpkin salad with Morels were stand-outs; the morels being especially meaty and fresh. Though these were followed with one of the lightest Eggplant Parmesan and the agonizingly delicious Burrata with oven roasted tomatoes and balsamic reduction that was described by May’s as “14-year-old crack!”. Yes, it IS that good.
Pulino’s, in a quick one-two, punched its way directly towards the top of the list of favorite New York restaurants. We are looking forward to our return this autumn and are excited to see what is new on the menu. Head to Pulino’s for excellent value – lunch special allows for a half-salad and personal-size pizza – the cinematic atmosphere and top-notch fare on the northern edge of SoHo.
(1) 212 226 1966
282 Bowery (at the corner of Houston) New York, NY. 10012
Unfortunately closed on 2014