This place has been mentioned before, in a couple of the long, Bronx-oriented threads that pop up every so often. (One such is linked below.) I think it's long overdue for a headline of its own.
This is the location at 1080 Morris Park Ave - I've never tried their other branch (PP&P II) on E. Tremont. A friend brought me here for lunch a couple of years ago - I remember consuming mass quantities of good gnocchi, with copious leftovers.
Anyway, this year I've had a hankering to go back. After three visits (the most recent this afternoon,) I have to say that I am in love with this place, even if it ain't perfect (that's a sign of maturity, right?)
The decor is nothing special - pretty much just a variation on the NYC checkered-tablecloth pizzeria/restaurant: a nice collection of local historical photos & ephemera on the walls, and wall-mounted TV's in opposite corners (tuned in to MSNBC or some such at lunchtime, with a romantic switch to all-sports TV at dinner.) At the back of the room there's a dessert display that you will want to check out on your way to the bathroom. The tiramisu (said to be home made) was excellent.
At my three recent meals I've tried a pasta special, and an on-menu pizza and pasta. All great. The special pasta was broc. rabe & sausage w/ orichietti - appropriately garlicky and v. good; the menu pasta was spaghetti "Frank Sinatra" (nicely seared shrimp, capers, olives (as I recall,) tomatoes & garlic - basically a puttanesca with shrimp. (I wonder if Ol' Blue Eyes would find the linguistic associations flattering?) I think that was the best thing I've had so far. Today for lunch I had a "mini" brick-oven pizza (it seemed very big to me,) with my faves, br. rabe & sausage. Good-quality sausage, not too fatty, a faint scent of anise (which is fine by me - I like the idea of anise much more than the reality.) The crust was lovely, with nice charred edges, though unfortunately the part covered by the toppings got soggy. But was still tasty.
One time I had an app. special, tuna carpaccio. It was served too cold from the fridge, but was otherwise good. My one serious gripe is that the house salad came drenched in a harsh balsamic. (That should only be the worst thing I have to say about a restaurant. What a wonderful world it would be.) Next time I'll get it naked.
The place can get noisy, cacaphonous even, but the people who run it are so good-natured and warm that even noise-hating crabs like me and my honey have to succumb to its charms. We're not regulars (personally I'm working on attaining that status, I see more lunchtime visits in my future,) we're not even Italian, yet we were relaxed and made to feel at home.
The phone # is (718) 409-9069. I don't think they take reservations. It's a pretty small room. If they're full, you may end up waiting outdoors, or in the little vestibule. You can stare in longingly at the diners, your eyes imploring them to get the check and get out.
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