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This pizza comes with a pedigree. Angelo (A.J.) Pappalardo, who has cooked at Esca and Osteria del Circo, spent his childhood making pies and other homey Italian classics at his dad’s Staten Island standby, Joe and Pat’s. The two cooks, joined by their old friend Al Di Meglio (also formerly of Circo) now run Rubirosa, Nolita’s tony answer to a red sauce, checkered-tablecloth establishment. Invite hungry friends who will let you eat off their plates—almost everything is served family style—and fight over the rich and crusty eggplant parmagiano or the spicy sausage and broccoli rabe cavatelli. Be prepared to call your Nonna after enjoying “Grandma’s braciole,” a tender mass of braised beef in a balmy tomato garlic sauce. Of course, the real business here is pizza, with standouts including the caprese of homemade straciatella, tomato and pesto, or the mushroom and prosciutto, topped with peas and pecorino. And while photos from the Old Country line the walls and rustic wood tables are crammed into corners, the crowd is aggressively Soho-styled. Enjoy a cocktail at the glossy bar while waiting—sometimes up to an hour— for your table, and remember you’re not in Little Italy anymore.
Until recently, dining on Mulberry Street meant suffering through bland penne alla vodka or lackluster veal Marsala. But then quietly over the past year, the stretch of pavement between Prince and Spring transformed into a veritable oasis for... More »
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