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il brigante - raising the bar in South St Seaport/Financial District

bokkyo Feb 27, 2007 04:42 PM

Having lived in this area for over five years, I didn't have high expectations checking out Il Brigante. In the neighborhood, I've seen a fair share of come-and-go's... of dodos... and those Wall St dress-ups that make Carmine's feel as if it's "the original" :) So, tonight, while doing laundry, between washing and drying, I thought-- what about a pizza run?

There was one other table when I came in just over an hour ago. Service was fast and friendly as I decided on the Margherita pizza and the daily special, mussels in white wine sauce. The place boasts a coal oven and, although I haven't been to Italy, I'd wager their pizza would pass native standards. The dough is outstanding-- not too crunchy nor chewy, just that someplace in-between that made me wolf it down and lick the plate clean (okay, I really didn't lick the plate clean... but I wanted to :)

Then the Mussels. And I thought the pizza was the highlight! These were very fresh, not overcooked and I was smiling through the sixteen, wiping the foccacia(?) bread in its sauce and eating every morsel of food. Total bill? $20.59. It's rare I have a meal this satisfying but perhaps it was because my expectations weren't too high to begin with. Having said that, I do believe Il Brigante is here to stay!

 
 
 
 
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  1. csw Feb 27, 2007 04:57 PM

    What is their address?

    1. bokkyo Feb 27, 2007 05:38 PM

      214 Front Street near Beekman, diagonally across from Salud.

      1. guttergourmet May 21, 2007 07:33 PM

        Robert Sietsma of the Village Voice proclaimed this the best new pizza in the city. The man knows his pizza but I was very disappointed. Had a margherita and a calabria. Slightly undercooked though not bad but not even as good as Una Pizza Napoletana which I consider overrrated. I gotta get back to Dom...

        10 Replies
        1. re: guttergourmet
          bokkyo May 22, 2007 09:20 AM

          Here's my theory about IB's inconsistency with their pizza-- it has to do with the guy making it. In that second picture above, the guy who made it is partially seen and he was watching over the oven. It was excellent pizza but I've never had it that good since.

          Although I'm still not definite about this. The other couple times I ordered it was for pickup and even if I'm there less than 5mins after calling, I haven't seen that guy.

          There was a History Channel episode where they mentioned the "art" in making pizza is knowing when to take it out of the oven. Perhaps this inconsistency has to do with IB's pizza crew inexperience? At any rate, I'm still willing to give them a chance and shall try a few more times. If only for the memory of that first Margherita.

          1. re: bokkyo
            DarthEater May 22, 2007 10:24 AM

            Maybe you should speak up and let management know so they could address the problem as soon as possible. And perhaps they put in more care into Roberts pie?

            1. re: bokkyo
              guttergourmet May 22, 2007 11:42 AM

              Definitely was not that guy.

              1. re: guttergourmet
                financialdistrictresident May 22, 2007 12:02 PM

                I agree the pizza is pretty good at Il Brigante. I have had the pizza a few times and tried a salad. It is more of a lunch than dinner place. They may have gotten the kinks out (it's still pretty new). I still see it frequented by more tourists than locals. bokkyo, I'll have to try the mussels based on your rec. I had tried the fish and was not impressed. Hopefully the service is better now that Bryan is there. I have had inconsistent service.

                1. re: financialdistrictresident
                  j
                  JulieL May 22, 2007 01:09 PM

                  A group of 10 of us had dinner at Il Brigante on Sunday after going to the Bodies exhibit. I would rate the food as dissapointing overall. The appetizers were very small. In particular the ceasar salad was barely a portion for one and not nearly enough dressing. It was basically a few pieces of very dry romaine lettuce. The pizza was fair and somewhat soupy. I get better coal oven at my local place in NJ. The coffee machine was broken so no coffee or espresso. The one highlight was the tiramisu which was light and airy and not overly sweet. This is not a place I would re-visit.

                  1. re: financialdistrictresident
                    bokkyo May 22, 2007 01:15 PM

                    I've had the swordfish there and the serving was small, the fish dry and bland. Service has always been good but I prefer dining in when there's no crowd. Hope you like the mussels, I'm curious how this dish compares to the "mussels flown in from NZ" in that restaurant on the next block.

                    1. re: bokkyo
                      financialdistrictresident May 22, 2007 06:41 PM

                      I have not been to the Blue place on Peck and Front yet. Too new and a scene. Very much a bar atmoshere, few tables. My friend just had dinner there and said the lambchops were very good, 6 small ones for $20. She said there are a few banquets in the back, otherwise there are only bar stools. You might want to try Table Tales for lunch, it's lovely (also see the recent long thread on financial district restaurants).

                      1. re: financialdistrictresident
                        m
                        meatfan May 24, 2007 09:04 PM

                        I haven't tried Table Tales - is that the place on Water Street? Do you happen to know what time they are open.

                        1. re: meatfan
                          financialdistrictresident Jul 29, 2007 06:33 PM

                          During the week 11:30 - 3:00 for lunch . They have breakfast 8:00 - 11:30. See tabletales.com, their hours may change since they're new. No beer/wine.

                    2. re: financialdistrictresident
                      financialdistrictresident Jul 29, 2007 06:37 PM

                      Gave Il Brigante another chance tonight. Looks like they hired professional servers. The crust was excellent. But $18 for a small pizza with mozzarella and mushrooms? And they forgot the basil. Why can't we get a good pizza in this neighborhood? Adrienne's service is poor (2 hours for delivery!). I'm back to Lombardi's . . .bigger pie, cheaper price here in 20 min. Consistently good. Only wish the brick oven crust held up better in transit!

              2. Nikki NYC May 22, 2007 06:51 PM

                Perhaps if I had had the pizza and not the rigatoni I wouldn't have noticed the thick piles of dust on the shelf that runs along one of the walls... That ruined my lunch.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Nikki NYC
                  Nikki NYC May 24, 2007 10:57 AM

                  OK, I went back for the pizza and sat on the other side of the room. It was delicious! I guess the moral is, if you go to il brigante, have the pizza and don't sit near the dirty shelf...

                  1. re: Nikki NYC
                    bokkyo May 24, 2007 11:18 AM

                    Which pizza did you have, Nikki?

                    (Oh and perhaps next time I eat there I'll make sure to point out the dirty shelf :)

                    1. re: bokkyo
                      Nikki NYC May 24, 2007 12:01 PM

                      I had the margerita. I don't think they put any spices into the sauce - personally, I love the rich, tomato taste. There were three others with me, and they had: seafood pizza (it looked weird - covered in mussells (in sheels), shrimp, and squid - but he enjoyed it), pizza with zuccini and shallots, and a pizza with cherry tomatos on it. Have it with the orange pelligrino and maybe you will enjoy it too much to notice the dirt! :) One more thing - get there at 12 sharp or you may have to wait for a table.

                2. s
                  smokedgouda Jul 30, 2007 06:52 AM

                  A friend from out of town and I went to IB following a show. I don't recall the specific appetizers we had but they were tiny. The pizza was good, but not great. I thought it needed a little more sauce, it was a little dry.

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