Tutt’Appost: Where all is in place
All was not in place at Tutt’Appost. Three 30-something friends in New York, with respective Neapolitan connections, opened their dream restaurant on 5th Avenue in Park Slope. The idea was to showcase their shared passion and expertise with both inventive Neapolitan cuisine and charismatic hospitality. Unfortunately, they opened in the teeth of the pandemic; and then there was the fire that shut them down for six months. But like the large mural of Pulcinella – the rebellious, resilient Neapolitan character from 17th century commedia dell’arte – artfully scrawled within the entrance of Tutt’Appost, the three owners and friends persevered through the challenges and reopened their dream in April of 2022.
Andrew Puca, Manuel Gregorio, and Jerald Gralto met in one of the Long Island Italian eateries operated by the family of the latter. The former two gentlemen had immigrated to New York from Naples and worked in and/or operated their own restaurants. The collective energy and respective skills warranted a collaboration: Manuel as the chef, pizza expert; Andrew and Jerald on hospitality, spirits and operations. The result is a restaurant, pizzeria and cocktail bar accessed through the storefront at 289 5th Ave. Past the Pulcinella mural (by @jdpaintz and @bash.nj) is a corridor of bone and black and brick that begins with table seating near a stylish, onyx bar and ends with a rustic room in back adorned with stacked firewood, wide plank walls and a smoked-glass ceiling, enhanced by strung lights and flora.
The menu is pizza-forward and wood-fired, informed by the vast experience of partner Gregorio, trained in Naples and owner of a restaurant in Queens. His signature dough rests for 48 hours and is topped with classic recipes with local ingredients often paired with inventive combinations that defy tradition. There are 19 pies, both red (Rosso) and white (Bianche). The tomato-based “Rosso” pizzas include the must-have from Naples, a Margherita of tomato sauce, fior di latte and basil; this base can be bolstered, though, in two other original offerings: a cheeky-named “Thor & Loki” that builds on a Margherita base with the addition of soppressata and spicy honey or the “Stella” – a combo of prosciutto, arugula, shaved parmigiano with a balsamic reduction (this one gilding the lily with a ricotta filled crust). On the “Bianche” side is a “Carbonara” pie of egg yolk, guanciale (cured hog jowl), parmigiano and black pepper; there’s also “La Lupa” of fior di latte, stracchino (soft cheese from northern Italy), roasted potatoes draped with prosciutto di parma.
The pizza menu reveals the willingness of the owners to deviate from an exclusive Neapolitan card. This is also evident in the offerings of the non-pizza dinner menu. So, there are odes to Campania in Polpo (octopus) and Melazane alla Parmigiana (baked eggplant with tomato and mozzarella) and Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, but there’s also an all-star lineup of signature dishes from other regions of the Italian Peninsula: Chicken Milanese and Pappardelle Bolognese, for example. There’s even a shout out to the American palate with a chicken wing antipasto and a hamburger main course (both through an Italian interpretation).
“What we were trying to do was bring authentic Neapolitan cuisine to New York but to do so in a way no one else has, which is with the inclusion of the signature dishes from other regions, as well as having a friendly bar atmosphere,” said partner Puca. “I think we’ve done that.”
At Brooklyn Tables agrees. Tutt’appost!
Andrew Cotto has been eating his way through Brooklyn for 25 years. As an author, the food of our borough has been featured extensively in his novels and journalism. In his new column for the Daily Eagle, Andrew will tell the tales of Brooklyn eateries, from the people behind the food to the communities which they nourish.
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