Although it's apparently been open for a year, this was our first visit to Pulcinella. If you have a desire to eat at Via Allegro frequently, but not the necessary six-figure salary, this is a *fantastic* spot.
The surroundings are cozy (but that's not to be read (as "cozy" may sometimes be) for cramped) and low-key elegant. The service was excellent - a great balance of friendly, good natured and attentive without being overbearing. When we asked what the chef particularly *liked* to cook, we weren't steered toward the most expensive items on the menu (as is so often the case when the focus is simply to up-sell), but instead the hearty and reasonably priced pastas.
We started with a ceasar and a 'chef's caprese', which was a great combination of pureed yellow and red tomatoes, sun dried grape (cherry? hard to tell when they're shriveled up) tomatoes and a piece of buffalo mozza the size of your fist. The caesar was very credible, but the caprese definitely stole the show.
We then each had pasta - a fluted noodle with tomato sauce and wild boar meatballs, and wide noodles with bolognese sauce. The first dish wasn't served as spicy as had been requested (more on that later), but both were satisfying and full of flavour.
When we asked whether the chef makes zabaglione (not on the menu, but a favourite of ours), we were told that our server would check, and quickly confirmed that *of course* he would do it. The zabaglione (served over fresh berries) was thick and wonderful, and accompanied by the chef personally apologizing for not making the tomato sauce sufficiently spicy (which we told him wasn't necessary, but what a classy touch).
Back to the Via Allegro reference - shouldn't surprise anyone that the food is a good as it is - the chef used to work at VA. So it's VA quality food (with an albeit much more modest wine list - we know, most places on the continent have a more modest wine list than VA), at just over half the price. Wine list is heavily Italian (not suprising). From a lower end $35 Montipulciano to much higher end fare, there is something for everyone (we selected a ripasso which went very well with our dishes).
We will be back. Frequently. And yes, it will mean many more hours on the treadmill. And they will be more than worth it.
Rating may well work its way to 5 star, but want to try more of the dishes first.