If you pass on this post because of the name, you may want to hang on a little longer. But first I would like to present to you this very related Ziggy’s Guide to Tipping in NYC:
1. If the service has been stellar – Tip 20% (on top of the tax, before tax is up to you)
2. If the service has been a little less than stellar – Tip 20%
3. If your water hasn’t been filled on time, your food hasn’t arrived on a timely basis, and no one asked you if you like your food – Tip 20%
4. If your server made numerous errors with your order, hasn’t smiled the entire time, and looks rather stressed out – Tip 20%
5. If the servers made you feel uncomfortable and unwelcomed the entire time, to the point of never returning – Tip 20%
6. If the server along with another server collaborate to follow you to the bathroom, blindfold and kidnap you via the back alley, lock you in an apartment for 15 days and let you watch nothing but Full House reruns before leaving you in the middle of a bear infested forest naked – Tip 15%. Yes, this is where I draw the line
Why then Ziggy? Why do you recommend tipping 20% no matter what? Because this is their salary. Because the servers are humans like me and you. Humans who make mistakes. Because if you make a mistake at your line of work, your salary most likely doesn’t take a hit. Because people can have bad days. Because there are other workers relying on this tip. I can explain much further but this post is not about that. It’s about one of a handful of places in NYC that ditched the tipping practice completely, while charging a fixed 20% “administrative fee” (no tipping allowed). I give them Kudos for that and I hope others follow suit. Its just that over the years tipping has become sort of automatic. And the more you eat the more you understand the ins and outs of running a restaurant and the reasoning behind bad days
Bruno Pizza would have gotten major props even if they allow tips. The food is much more creative than the name implies. The name sucks! I don’t know how else to put it. Its one notch less generic than Rays. “Not Another Bruno” would have made more sense
But let me tell you how much I loved this place. It was on the radar since they opened, but leaped to the top of the mental queue when an Italian chef I respect told me to go. They just got their liquor license and already featuring an impressive drink menu including a few beers on draft (liked the Italian one, didnt like the San Francisco one, forget the names). The place has a funky, east villagy, minimalistic, rustic look. Very loud. Space between tables… maybe good enough for a Jenner, but definitely not a Kardashian. As for the food…
Fairytale Eggplant – More like Fairytale Eggplant and Shishito peppers. A fairytale perhaps because they make them so meaty, and great tasting? Comes with this mild black cashew paste which makes the dish resemble a squid ink mess after a few minutes. Get this!
Fluke – Stunning all around, look and flavor. Quinoa grains puffed and boosted with Tapioca add a coffee like flavor to the fluke. A few uni pieces add more color but I would gladly sub them for one more killa fluke piece. Need more cowbell, and fluke.
Margherita Pie – Good. Not as wildely different as I was expecting after reading about the pizza elsewhere. Just a little different texture, chew and a kinda whole wheaty flavor.
Nduja (pizza) – Thats more like it. Nduja (spicy pork) with cauliflower which adds a nice crunch. Great tasting pie
Cavatappi – Excellent. Like fat Gramigna, or supersized curly elbows, with collard greens, smoked bone marrow, breadcrumbs, bacon and clams, all work nicely together
Grayson-Agnolotti. The glaring miss of the night. Its 5 tiny ravioli with light cream sauce, chanterelles, squash and hazelnuts. Ok flavor, with hazelnut bringing unnecessary sweetness, and Agnolotti that has no resemblance to any agnolotti I’ve ever seen. But the main issue is the size. It would be tiny even as an appetizer, but priced as a main ($22)
Desserts – This is where that brilliance is really showing off for me. Two items on the menu currently and both outstanding and very creative. The rose gelato is made on the spot, and its so airy and fresh. It comes dusted with powder they make from lovage (that comes on the Margherita as well), and a berry compote thats not overpowering. The peach sherbert was equally great, especially the accompanied plum merengue.
Kicking myself for not bringing the big boy camera for this one, but oh well. Highly recommend Bruno Pizza. One of my favorite new restaurants of the year
204 E 13th St
Recommended Dishes: Fairytale Eggplant, Fluke, Nduja, Cavatappi, both desserts
It does look good. In particular the Nduja pizza, the cavatappi and the desserts. Bruno is an OK name so long as it’s got nothing to do with a certain Austrian model (think Borat’s “other” persona). Lol.
In Italian, the word ‘bruno’ is not inevitably a man’s name, but is also simply the word for “dark’. Is it possible the restaurant is not named for a person but instead is intended to mean “dark pizza” — ? Maybe you already know this, but cavatappi is the Italian word for a corkscrew, and the soft, spicy Calabrian pork sausage in Italian is always spelled with an initial apostrophe — ‘nduja (like the Calabrian criminal organization, ‘ndrangheta).
My objection is not to the name of the eatery, but calling a pizza that includes lovage a Margherita. Also, agnolotti can be just about any shape
Per eater: [Bruno is] named after Giordano Bruno, a Dominican Friar who was burned at the stake for heresy in 1600. The name indicates that a Neapolitan purist may be somewhat aghast at the pizza combinations that will emerge from the oven.
That is an unappetizing name for a pizzeria for those of us who admire Bruno. I’m neither Neapolitan or a purist (I actually don’t like Neapolitian pizza ) but a “margherita” is defined by 3 things. Nobody the world over cares what Americans like as toppings on pizza, but why call it a margherita? I think most Americans would be “aghast” to order a cosmopolitan at a bar in Italy and be served a cocktail made with vodka, Cointreu and watermelon juice. Even if it was an “improvement” on the classic cosmopolitan, one would expect the bar to give it different name. Most Americans quickly get the point when it comes to cocktails, and are very specific about cocktail ingredients. But many of them think its an affectation when Italians are specific about food ingredients or are being “purists”. They’re not being “purists”. They are just calling a margherita a margherita and telling you that a pizza isn’t a margherita unless if it has lovage on it. (Because it isn’t.)