5/22/2012 10:36:00 AM

International Chain Fratelli la Bufala Lands On The UWS

Manhattan’s Upper West Side can be unforgiving to new restaurants, but so far, locals have welcomed Fratelli la Bufala, a stylish, black-walled pizza specialist focused on the glories of fresh cheese. Housed in the space once occupied by Greek mainstay Niko’s, the Brothers Buffalo is an outpost of an Italian chainlet with locations ranging from London to Istanbul to Miami.

Few can be unhappy with a co-owner who brings you wine and snacks to nosh on while you wait by the front counter, which, if you’re lucky, may allow you to watch the pizza makers roll their dough. Even so, you'll want to get to the main event - the cheese. It's imported from Italy and has an unusual, savory flavor. Buffalo’s-milk mozzarella appears everywhere on the menu, from the appetizers to the peculiarly named greens (“supervision salad”?) to the numerous individual, thin-crust pizzas - which range from the pesto-heavy Pepponata featuring radicchio to the tried-and-true Margherita, adorned sparingly with basil.

With chewy rather than crispy crusts and prices that might raise eyebrows ($10–$21 per), these pies may be an anomaly in an area used to cheap, New York-style pizza. But Fratelli la Bufala isn’t a typical slice purveyor. It also offers house-made pastas, including an appropriately al dente cannelloni filled with crumbly ricotta, and whimsical desserts, such as a thin-sliced “carpaccio” of pineapple blanketing voluptuous buffalo’s-milk ice cream.

The chain is rated in our Miami Restaurants survey, where it received a 22 for food and elicited some complaints about it's "fast-food casual" feel and "pedestrian service." Still, there were plenty of fans of the pizza, and time will tell what Big Apple diners think of its outpost, which is located at 2161 Broadway. Check out the website here (212-496-5303).

1 comment :

  1. Great write-up. I may have to check this place out!