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Bruna's Ristorante
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    Post #1 - October 3rd, 2004, 7:51 am
    Post #1 - October 3rd, 2004, 7:51 am Post #1 - October 3rd, 2004, 7:51 am
    LTH Repost (9.23.02)

    Maybe it's the new season of the Soprano's or possibly David Hammond's post about turning last weeks farmers market tomatoes into red sauce, but I was in the mood for old school Italian. A place where the wine choice is, "you want da red, or what" type of place. On Friday night my wife and I headed out to the older of the two Chicago Little Italy's, along the 2400 block of South Oakley, and had dinner at Bruna's.

    My description above is not really fair to Bruna's, they actually have quite a nice, reasonably priced, wine list and a menu that goes beyond red sauce items. I will say though that the overall feel of the place is quite old school, right down to the personable owner and comfortable front bar. Speaking of the bar, one of the things that I like about Bruna's is the conviviality of the bar, it's small enough that conversation amongst patrons is almost inevitable, they serve a mean cocktail and have Italian reds by the glass.

    I was in the mood for a dirty martini with blue cheese stuffed olives and, even though I was half expecting the bartenderess to say they didn't have blue cheese olives, she didn't bat an eye. After a slightly longer than usual wait for my drink, I took a sip and then tasted the olives, immediately realizing that the reason for the wait was she had gone into the kitchen and stuffed the olives herself, a nice touch.

    Our dinner started off with a very flavorful appetizer of fresh fig and prosciutto with a little lemon and a twist of fresh pepper. The pepper was a nice touch and really accented the sweet figs and salty prosciutto. Another nice touch was the fact that the figs were peeled, something I had never even thought of doing. We also split a seafood salad as an appetizer, a freshly made combination of squid, bay scallops, sea scallops, shrimp and various greens tossed with a light house made dressing.

    For a main course we split the zuppa de peche, a tomato-based mix of clams, shrimp, mussels, scallops and a half of a lobster tail. This was served with a side of linguine and the waitress split the order in the kitchen for us, another nice touch.

    For dessert we split a waitress recommended tiramisu, which Bruna's makes with cognac, and was quite flavorful, not cloyingly sweet, as are many versions.

    When were driving home we wondered, as we always seem to do when we leave Bruna's, why it had been so long between visits.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Bruna's Ristorante
    2424 S Oakley Ave
    Chicago, IL 60608
    773-254-5550
  • Post #2 - October 18th, 2004, 11:13 am
    Post #2 - October 18th, 2004, 11:13 am Post #2 - October 18th, 2004, 11:13 am
    I was so happy to get a hit when I searched for "Bruna's"!

    Ms. EC and I paid our first ever visit to Bruna's this past saturday. I am normally not a fan of your basic Ristorante or Trattoria dining, but I was in the mood for some pasta on Saturday. What a pleasant experience!

    We ordered a bottle of their cheapest Chianti and started eyeballing the appetizers. When I asked how the portobello was prepared, the waitress recommended a portobello appetizer that was not on the menu. Chunks of mushroom and creamy polenta in a rich gravy that I could not get enough of. The gravy was a topic of conversation all night it tasted like red wine, beef stock, garlic, tomato. I wanted to lick the plate.

    The Ms. had the eggplant parm which was very fresh. The difference between fresh and "not so fresh" eggplant is very distinct to me, and I could really taste the eggplant. Fresh, flavorful, delicious.

    I had an excellent bowl of carbonara. When I first saw it, I said, "Looks like I'll have some leftovers." I had none.
    (I chose this entree over the veal chop w/peppers, which I would love to return to try.)

    We split a delicious tiramisu. You're 100% right, Gary, flavorful and not too sweet.

    The service/crowd/atmosphere were all comfortable and friendly.

    I can't wait until my next Italian food craving.
  • Post #3 - October 21st, 2004, 3:58 pm
    Post #3 - October 21st, 2004, 3:58 pm Post #3 - October 21st, 2004, 3:58 pm
    The afternoon before the Chicago Marathon, we headed to Ignotz which has been our favorite in that neighborhood. Much to our dismay, it was closed along with every other restaurant except for Bruna's which was across the street. Thank goodness they were open b/c a) I would have been disappointed to make the trek for nothing and b) Our other option would have been to fight the other pre-marathon masses at Maggiano's/Scoozi/Buca. "No thanks" to point B.

    When we arrived, there was only one other group there. Our server was fantastic! We told her we were running the marathon and she left a pitcher of water on the table and kept our bread basket full. I had the Capellini Pomodoro which I normally would never get at a restaurant but it's what I wanted and it was great. The sauce was fresh and had a lot a flavor without being purely tomatoes. There were two of the biggest basil leaves I have ever seen on top which I incorporated with the pasta.
    My boyfriend had the shrimp linguine with a garlic and olive oil sauce (I can't remember the actual name) which was solid all around and just what he wanted.

    Nothing about our meals were fancy but sometimes simple is perfection. Our only real requirements for the meal were pasta, bread, and water so we didn't check out the wine list or the dessert menu. That cannoli would have been mine though...

    Anyway, there were several other items on the menu we would have liked to try so we look forward to going back. It's also good to have a back up to Ignotz.

    As a side note, the Taste of the Heart of Little Italy is the fest this neighborhood has every year. $20 can easily overfeed two people with great food from almost every restaurant. The best part is that it's a quiet fest...read: no drunken frat boys/trixies from Lincoln Park who are probably too scared of the neighborhood to make the trek. Don't miss it.
  • Post #4 - October 21st, 2004, 5:06 pm
    Post #4 - October 21st, 2004, 5:06 pm Post #4 - October 21st, 2004, 5:06 pm
    I try to go every year, as it's my kind of fest. However, the food is not nearly as good as it could be, though it's very good compared to most summer festivals.

    This year's entertainment was pretty strong too, with a Chicago-born comedian of some national repute whose name escapes me.

    PS, no Trixies, true, but a good number of tough-guys. Still, a fairly well-behaved fest. Gotta love the mobile Trevi fountain, too.
  • Post #5 - January 3rd, 2006, 7:08 pm
    Post #5 - January 3rd, 2006, 7:08 pm Post #5 - January 3rd, 2006, 7:08 pm
    LTH,

    Had a very nice meal at Bruna's last evening, and once again reliable springs to mind. From the convivial bar, where they hand stuff blue cheese olives for Dirty Martini's, to greaseless fried calamari, to damn good Veal Saltimbocca and Chicken Vesuvio.

    A few wine gems if you engage owner Luciano in conversation, tasty tartufo and a not too sweet tiramisu, though pass on grocery store tasting spumoni.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #6 - January 4th, 2006, 7:51 am
    Post #6 - January 4th, 2006, 7:51 am Post #6 - January 4th, 2006, 7:51 am
    Actually, I couldn't disagree more with the overall assessments stated above. Bruna's encapsulates virtually every characteristic I find completely disturbing about many Chicago Italian neighborhood restaurants. That would be overall mediocrity. As far as I can tell, my perception of this mediocrity comes from their inability to execute often times simple cooking techniques (i.e. overcooking an inferior grade pasta), partnered with the use of an inferior product (low grade sausage, poor quality canned tomatoes, abysmal bread, etc).
    I found our antipasto selections completely uninspirational. The sausage in the Giambotta was too over processed while the proscuitto with figs virtually escapes my mind, which is never a good thing. For entrees, the lasagna that Trix ordered was comically pasty, while the chicken vesuvio I had was dried out even though the accompanying sauce was quite tasty.
    Experiences like this are the very reason Trix and I struggle GREATLY with the small neighborhood Italian restaurant experience in Chicago. Valuewise, there is virtually no worse choice in the city.
    It doesn't help that Trix can make many Italian dishes at home with a much higher grade product coupled with her amazing cooking abilities for a fraction of the price you pay for your usual Italian restaurant experience. I suspect that many people could say the exact same thing.
    If Bruna's or other restaurants of its ilk usually offered items that were somewhat unique, my level of tolerance for them would go up dramatically. However, that isn't even close to the case.
  • Post #7 - January 4th, 2006, 8:33 am
    Post #7 - January 4th, 2006, 8:33 am Post #7 - January 4th, 2006, 8:33 am
    Pigmon,

    Having tasted Trixie-Pea’s bolognese I’d agree she is more than capable than making better Italian food than 99% of the restaurants in Chicago. You are a very lucky man.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Last edited by G Wiv on January 4th, 2006, 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #8 - January 4th, 2006, 10:45 am
    Post #8 - January 4th, 2006, 10:45 am Post #8 - January 4th, 2006, 10:45 am
    I've been to bruna's twice, and my food has been fine, but nothing at all special, both times. The first time, my mom had a completely dreadful, awful, miserable, one of the worst things I've ever seen a supposedly decent restaurant serve, chicken ravioli (daily special). My lamb was fine, but no better than greektown. The second time I had an ok, but not great, chicken vesuvio. I've certainly had much better elsewhere.

    That neighborhood is rather close to me, so we might go to one of the others in the neighborhood next time. Bruna's just isn't worth trying again, at this point. Especially when for $15 dollars less I can have a vastly more satisfying and entertaining meal at Sabatino's, or for $20 more a much tastier meal at Cafe Spiaggia, Follia, etc.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #9 - January 4th, 2006, 10:53 am
    Post #9 - January 4th, 2006, 10:53 am Post #9 - January 4th, 2006, 10:53 am
    gleam wrote: The first time, my mom had a completely dreadful, awful, miserable, one of the worst things I've ever seen a supposedly decent restaurant serve, chicken ravioli (daily special).


    That seems quite an outpouring for a seemingly innocuous dish. Was it the innocuousness of the chicken ravioli that made it so horrible? You hardly ever treat us to such a flood of disdain, so I have to ask.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #10 - January 4th, 2006, 10:56 am
    Post #10 - January 4th, 2006, 10:56 am Post #10 - January 4th, 2006, 10:56 am
    I have been going to Bruna's since I was about 5 years old, so I am biased...that said... We went a couple of weeks ago, bringing along a visitor from Japan who loved Italian food. My first visit in about 3 years and nothing has changed.

    Like most places, there are gems on the menu, and if you stick with them, you will not be disappointed.

    We started with the Proscioutto and Melon - where they got such sweet honeydew in December, I'll never know. It was a very generous portion - too much for 3 of us.

    Bruna's faithfully executes 3 dishes that we all enjoyed -

    Veal Limone - perfectly sauteed, carmelized lemon rinds - a head and shoulder above the Saltimbocca I enjoyed at Sabatino's a week later (still good, but slightly overcooked and not as tender).

    Spaghetti Carbonara - Simple, Rich, Smokey, Perfectly cooked noodles.

    Shrimp Diavola - Large Shrimp - Bright spicey sauce also on perfectly cooked noodles.

    Their Tiramisu is, as Gary said, not too sweet, it's very similar to what I make at home. We also had the tartufo and italian ice. The tartufo was ok, but not amazing, the italian ice was crisp, refreshing and also not too sweet.

    There are other places in the neighborhood - I recall when ilVicinato first opened - the chef from Febo's left and started his own place. I haven't been in years, but they were recently on Check, Please! and seem to be doing just fine.
    Last edited by kafein on January 4th, 2006, 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #11 - January 4th, 2006, 11:09 am
    Post #11 - January 4th, 2006, 11:09 am Post #11 - January 4th, 2006, 11:09 am
    David Hammond wrote:That seems quite an outpouring for a seemingly innocuous dish. Was it the innocuousness of the chicken ravioli that made it so horrible? You hardly ever treat us to such a flood of disdain, so I have to ask.


    It was ground up white meat chicken, apparently unseasoned and unbelievably dry. It was covered with a rich (far too rich), yet bland (far too bland) cream sauce. It warranted no more than two bites. It was supremely awful. I don't even think the olive garden would put out something that bad.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #12 - January 4th, 2006, 11:33 am
    Post #12 - January 4th, 2006, 11:33 am Post #12 - January 4th, 2006, 11:33 am
    PIGMON wrote:Actually, I couldn't disagree more with the overall assessments stated above. Bruna's encapsulates virtually every characteristic I find completely disturbing about many Chicago Italian neighborhood restaurants. That would be overall mediocrity. As far as I can tell, my perception of this mediocrity comes from their inability to execute often times simple cooking techniques (i.e. overcooking an inferior grade pasta), partnered with the use of an inferior product (low grade sausage, poor quality canned tomatoes, abysmal bread, etc).


    Great post!

    Now, I say that not because my experience at Bruna's was just fair. It's good to hold places accountable regardless of their charms. And I think when talking about old line Italian, it is good to distinguish the charm from the quality.

    Granted, it's hard, real hard. While I'm not a Bruna lover, I'm a Tufano's/Bertucci's/Club Lago/Jimmy's/Jim&Pete's/Salerno's/Sabatino's lover, and all of these places can be subject to the same critique's to various degrees. And I'd love to see, in 2006, that we let 'er rip. Not to trash places that are worth trashing, but to, perhaps, evaluate our collective standards.

    One of my big pushes this year is to highlight what I percieve as "quality" products. I hope we can look for quality everywhere we eat.

    Rob
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #13 - January 4th, 2006, 11:48 am
    Post #13 - January 4th, 2006, 11:48 am Post #13 - January 4th, 2006, 11:48 am
    Vital Information wrote:Granted, it's hard, real hard. While I'm not a Bruna lover, I'm a Tufano's/Bertucci's/Club Lago/Jimmy's/Jim&Pete's/Salerno's/Sabatino's lover, and all of these places can be subject to the same critique's to various degrees. And I'd love to see, in 2006, that we let 'er rip. Not to trash places that are worth trashing, but to, perhaps, evaluate our collective standards.



    Late in 2005, I actually started drafting a thread entitled "Sacred Cow Slaughterhouse" that would be focused on calling into question some of the board favorites. I felt, though, that a thread solely for the purpose of criticizing favorites would generate more heat than light.

    I agree, though, that we should try to stay open to having our favorites critiqued...even if it can be a little painful.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #14 - January 4th, 2006, 12:28 pm
    Post #14 - January 4th, 2006, 12:28 pm Post #14 - January 4th, 2006, 12:28 pm
    David Hammond wrote:I agree, though, that we should try to stay open to having our favorites critiqued...even if it can be a little painful.


    I totally agree, and I don't find it painful in the least. If people hate the things that I love, I won't lose a bit of sleep over it. I also expect to be able to fairly criticize anything, without causing anyone any pain.

    That being said, I do feel like defending Bruna's to some degree, since it has been over a year since I last posted to this thread.

    I've probably dined at Bruna's about 8 or 10 times in the past year, and I've learned a few rules about their menu:

    1) I think the Portobello ala Bruna is one of the best appetizers in town. I mention it above. (Vegetarian note: It does not contain beef stock).

    2) I stick to unfilled pasta. I crave their carbonara and I enjoy their bolognese. I have also recently enjoyed their linguini w/sausage and peppers. The sausage is mild, but I have no problem with the quality.

    3) See rule #2--I stick to unfilled pasta. I don't order anything where a hunk of animal meat is the central focus of the plate. No veal chop. No chicken dishes. No fish. I've been consistently disappointed.

    4) Exception to rule #2. I love their eggplant parm.

    5) I don't care for tiramisu, but I love it at Bruna's.

    Beyond those menu rules, for me the place is overflowing with charm.

    Finally, in the interest of critiquing sacred cows, I'd like to come out of the closet about the fact that I always leave Sabatino's disappointed. It has fallen off my "list". But, perhaps we should save that discussion for another thread.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #15 - January 4th, 2006, 12:43 pm
    Post #15 - January 4th, 2006, 12:43 pm Post #15 - January 4th, 2006, 12:43 pm
    I tend to be a Bacchanalia supporter, tho in the spiriit of old school Italian, I suspect the primary difference from Bruna's is that Bacchanalia uses a lot a lot more garlic. One could argue, correctly, that none of this is fine cuisine, as Pigmon has so effectively. That said, I did go to Bruna's a couple of months ago on a Sunday afternoon. As it happened we had picked up carrry out from Bacchanalia a week earlier and either the Son or I were up for some variety, at least in terms of location.

    I have never quite understood the love for Bruna's over and above the other choices in the neighborhood, but so be it. I also do not agree with Pigmon's laceration of the place, though I can not say my most recent meal was memorable or great - all I recall is a mushy stracciatella that I found disappointing.

    But Bruna's does take credit cards, which Bachannalia does not, so there is another difference.

    A friend recently visited another old school Italian favorite of mine, Capri, and tore it up. Canned sauce, overly salty, etc. Which reminded me that I rarely order regular pasta at most of these places (sometimes I pick a special, but usually I avoid cream sauces so the chicken ravioli could not have caught me). To some degree, and I look forward to Antonius chiming in on this, pasta is the economy choice on the menu, so there is not so much effort put into it. While most good pasta sauces are not made of expensive ingredients, they should be high quality and there is quite a bit of effort required to cook them. I seriously doubt that effort, or quality of ingredients, are put into most pasta sauces made at restaurants for two reasons. First, because it is the cheap dish, and secondly, since one cooks for one's customers, because most customers expect their bolognese to taste a lot more like Chef Boyardee (sp?) than Marcella Hazan.

    Having said that, I did have a wonderful Veal Bolognese sauce at the Italian restaurant in the Golden Nugget hotel in Las Vegas a few years ago. So it can be done if one wants to make the effort.

    Maybe there is a secret menu of real pasta at Italian places? Made to the authentic Italian palate? 8)
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #16 - January 4th, 2006, 12:47 pm
    Post #16 - January 4th, 2006, 12:47 pm Post #16 - January 4th, 2006, 12:47 pm
    VI, you know that we are simpatichi when it comes to some of these old neighborhood places, but I think that a clear distinction needs to be made between Italian-American taverns that sell food (Tufano's, Bertucci's, Club Lago) and restaurants (Sabatino's, Bruna's) with higher culinary aspirations. While I will meet for a beer and a sandwich at the former places any day and forgive the kitchen anything, I have never expected very good food and thus have never been disappointed (and rarely have I been pleasantly surprised). Places such as Bruna's and Sabatino's must be judged by their kitchens more than their ambience. I have always like both very much, though I regret that I have not made it doen to Bruna's in over a year and I regret even more that my last meal there was just average. But it is one of the few establishments that I am willing to patronize for average food, because I'm a sucker for history. Bruna's is the Italian Berghoff, after all. I hope they read this and get their s*it together.

    For what it's worth, the kitchen at Bruna's circa 2003 was completely Barese and just off the plane, so to speak. Somewhat ironic for a place in the old Tuscan neighborhood. I had risotto, fickle and hard to cheat for sure, and was very good. The Italian sensibility in the kitchen was obvious, and ther recent posters' descriptions of basic incompetence indicates an obvious and painful change. It might be my own ethnic bias, but I have a hard time believing that even the crappiest Italian line cook would be unable to boil pasta correctly. So my guess is that the kitchen has turned over.

    I hate to say what have you done for us lately to a cherished old place, but business is business.

    Speaking of such places, Il Mulino is coming to Chicago, I saw.

    Interesting that the more people go to Sabatino's based on the collected wisdom here, the more positive responses it gets -- very much unlike Bruna's. I think it's just a case of one place running a much better kitchen at this point in their histories. I also feel that the cooking at Sabatino's is obviously in a different league from the places VI mentions, but one must order carefully and make special requests at times. The kitchen rises to the dish. Thus, fish and chops are always surprisingly good, and good values. Also, because the average diner is looking for a Rosebud-style feedbag of oversauced pasta, I find it also helps to ask for a light hand with the sauce. If you can go during the week, and relatively late, when it is less crowded and the owners have time to stop, chat and talk about what you like to eat, you will have the best possible Sabatino's experience.

    One last thought: if anyone really wanted very good neighborhood Italian food, Marco Conti's places would not shutter so quickly and so consistently.
  • Post #17 - January 4th, 2006, 12:49 pm
    Post #17 - January 4th, 2006, 12:49 pm Post #17 - January 4th, 2006, 12:49 pm
    I crave their carbonara and I enjoy their bolognese.


    I believe Carbonara was my main course, despite having said I avoid regular pastas. I do eat Carbonara from time to time - for me it is a comfort food which it seems like that whole meal was. It was decent. In the American style, the meat (pancetta?) was used far too generously. That was the main flaw. Much better than the Stracciatella, though.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #18 - January 4th, 2006, 12:55 pm
    Post #18 - January 4th, 2006, 12:55 pm Post #18 - January 4th, 2006, 12:55 pm
    Jeff -

    Sabatino's on a Wednesday night at 10pm is a fantastic experience. The place is virtually empty, so you get great service and a slightly nicer atmosphere. On our visit at about that day and time, we had one of the big half moon booths in the back room to ourselves, and the couple in the booth next to us was celebrating their 51st anniversary. It was a lot of fun.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #19 - January 4th, 2006, 1:38 pm
    Post #19 - January 4th, 2006, 1:38 pm Post #19 - January 4th, 2006, 1:38 pm
    I have to say---posters are hitting me close to home & my Italian heritage when dissing Bruna's. Certainly there are a few misses on their menu--I make a better antipasto at home, I'm not a big fan of their gnocchi (altho my brother loves it) and I feel that Luciano's fusilli is too rich (altho my daughter craves it). Ah, the subjectivity of it all...

    That being said, I would take their mussels marinara (when small), fried calamari, stracciatella, penne puttanesca, chicken vesuvio (preferably with peas) & their eggplant parm over any similar dishes at any Chicagoland restaurant at which I've dined.

    And while some would say in a critique to concentrate on the kitchen and forget the ambience, I think you cannot separate the two, especially at Bruna's--it's part of the deal. I will admit this though---you will get a better overall experience at Bruna's and probably anyplace else if you visit on off days or off hours, instead of a jammed Friday or Saturday night.
  • Post #20 - January 4th, 2006, 3:53 pm
    Post #20 - January 4th, 2006, 3:53 pm Post #20 - January 4th, 2006, 3:53 pm
    jnm123 wrote: I will admit this though---you will get a better overall experience at Bruna's and probably anyplace else if you visit on off days or off hours, instead of a jammed Friday or Saturday night.


    In fairness, that is probably true at almost any restaurant. I remember Tony Bourdain saying in Kitchen Confidential that Tuesday or Wednesday are the optimal nights to catch a chef at his best.

    P.S. I'm a Bruna's fan but agree with the fact that only certain dishes really shine.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #21 - January 4th, 2006, 4:11 pm
    Post #21 - January 4th, 2006, 4:11 pm Post #21 - January 4th, 2006, 4:11 pm
    jnm123 wrote:And while some would say in a critique to concentrate on the kitchen and forget the ambience, I think you cannot separate the two, especially at Bruna's--it's part of the deal.

    Yes, I agree. I always have a good time at Bruna's, starting with a little back and forth with the owner, on to the hand stuffed blue cheese olives all the way to the not bad at all tartufo and everything in between.

    Sure, if I put on my critical glasses and took out my sharpened pencil I could easily dissect and deconstruct, starting with.....................

    But that's not really the point of Bruna's, or Sabatino's or Manny's or ......., for me. It's the overall package that makes me happy, hell, even just driving in to Bruna's movie set like neighborhood puts me in a good mood.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #22 - January 4th, 2006, 4:21 pm
    Post #22 - January 4th, 2006, 4:21 pm Post #22 - January 4th, 2006, 4:21 pm
    GWiv,

    Amen brother. Put those pencils away and enjoy that plate of pasta or whatever.

    Some folks seem to take themselves way too seriously. (Ouch! That was really evil)

    :twisted:
  • Post #23 - January 4th, 2006, 9:02 pm
    Post #23 - January 4th, 2006, 9:02 pm Post #23 - January 4th, 2006, 9:02 pm
    I eat at Bruna's at least 3 times per month. I've never even remotely had a problem with the pasta (always al dente) and their bread, which I believe they get from Red Hen (I'll find out), is crusty and has a definite chew to it, much better than the bread served in 90% of the Italian restaurants around the city.

    Their carbonara is the best that I've had outside Rome (not saying that it compares, however).

    The mussels that I had last week were top-notch, other things that were quite good were the stuffed shells and the farfalle con tonno.
  • Post #24 - January 6th, 2006, 9:14 am
    Post #24 - January 6th, 2006, 9:14 am Post #24 - January 6th, 2006, 9:14 am
    Ooh, saps..I've always wanted to try their farfalle con tonno--that's the tuna, right? How is the sauce, or is there any? Do they use anchovies too?

    That's the thing---I don't get to Bruna's as much as I'd like, and when I do I get in the rotation of basically the same 4 or 5 dishes: chicken vesuvio, eggplant parm, veal parm, penne puttanesca.
  • Post #25 - May 8th, 2009, 9:53 am
    Post #25 - May 8th, 2009, 9:53 am Post #25 - May 8th, 2009, 9:53 am
    Had a nice meal at Bruna's last night that echoed many of the thoughts expressed in this thread.

    The Good
    Negroni-Nicely balanced, but still plenty strong.
    Penne alla vodka with sausage (the sausage was really good, i wish i could describe what made it good)
    Tiramisu (not overly sweet)

    The Not so Good
    Spinach and Cheese Ravioli (the "tomato sauce" on this was extremely sweet, tasted canned/jarred.)

    I love the vibe, the mixed crowd and a stroll through the neighborhood.

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