Bruno Pizza is permanently closed
Pizza in East Village
- Perfect for
Bruno Pizza has a special mill that mills special whole wheat flour. The pizzas are topped with things like fermented tomatoes and peaches. It’s like science lab, but with pizza.
We’re intrigued, yet skeptical.
At Bruno, a lot of the pizzas are interesting, but we’re just not all in on their thick, dry, whole wheat pizza dough. The funky pizzas are worthy of a taste test if pizza is a hobby of yours - and a lot of people in the restaurant appear to be enjoying it, but with so many A-rate pizzas in close proximity, we can’t see ourselves coming back for Bruno too often.
That’s not to say we aren’t impressed by the effort. The ingredients and creativity that go into the pies are appreciated, and we’ve never been to a pizza joint that also offers crudo and crudite as well. From a culinary perspective, Bruno is probably the most “advanced” pizza restaurant in NYC. Clearly, the chefs, and there are many of them (over 10 listed on the menu), have talent and are passionate about what they’re cooking. But at times it feels like they’re combining ingredients that don’t taste all that great together, and ultimately cooking a little bit too much for themselves, and not necessarily for the diners.
That said, everyone who works here is super friendly and engaging, which is good, because Bruno automatically adds a 20% service charge to every order, rather than a tip. The bright space is also nice room to hang out in, so it’s a good time overall.
As much as we like it for its ambition and its good vibes, we left on multiple visits feeling like if there’s one cuisine that doesn’t really need to be played with in the lab, it’s pizza.
Fancy vegetables. We can get down.
A pizza place with an impressive crudo section isn’t something you see everyday. This is probably one that’s more fun for the chefs to make than it is for diners to actually eat. The pickled uncuttable strings of seaweed don’t vibe well with the chunks of overly thick raw fish. And idea of adding hops to buttermilk, which serves as the base to this dish, is super cool and funky, but the flavors don’t come meld so well. We’d skip this one.
In some cases, the creativity of the kitchen at Bruno Pizza succeeds - the different flavors and textures here come together in a great way. Do be aware that the thick black cashew sauce at the bottom will linger on your lips and in your mouth, so if you’re on a date, you might want to check yourself out after eating.
We’re not the biggest fans of the Bruno brand of heavy, whole wheat crust. That being said, you might be. As simple as it looks, this isn’t your usual margherita: the tomatoes are fermented, the mozzarella is made in house, and there’s just enough garlic that you can actually taste it. It’s a good pizza, but there about 10 others in a 1.0 mile radius we’d rather eat instead.
A mushroom lover’s pizza dream. At least four different kinds of shrooms with chive, chilies and a flurry of béchamel on top.
Country Ham Pizza
This is the pizza Bruno has become best known for. The balance of sweet and smokey between the peaches, cured onions, and smoked ham hit all the right notes. It’s different, it’s creative, and it’s definitely the one you should order.
This red sauce pizza was a bit disappointing. We couldn’t find, or taste, much nduja (spicy pork) at all, but there was an overabundance of cauliflower top. We were excited about the whole spicy pork situation, but that was misleading. This should have been billed as a cauliflower pizza, and if it was, we would have just gotten the pepperoni instead.
The pastas are kind of hit or miss. We absolutely loved the bucatini, which was filled with fresh corn, squash, onion, and squash blossoms. The buttery sauce was excellent, and thick, light noodles, were udon-esque. Very creative, very delicious.
On paper, this pasta dish sounded like a dream: smoked bone marrow, clams, collards, bacon. In reality, it fell a little short. The pasta itself was a little slippery, so the ingredients didn’t stick the noodle. It was challenging to get all the different elements scooped up into one bite, and we couldn’t taste, or visibly find, any hint of a clam.