Krunch attempts to reinvent the wheel, or at least the pie, with their original Neapolitan-style take on pizza. In a minimal, but decidedly modern and “un-pizza” joint space, owners Chris Bianchi (Redemption Lounge) & Angelo Pisacreta have dressed up the restaurant with bamboo panel walls, marble tables & orange chairs. With only 15 seats and a little standing counter space, Krunch focuses its efforts on take-out, delivery and pizza – squares of pizza, cut not with a traditional pizza cutter, but scissors.
Though the name assumes a crust-centric experience, the toppings are ironically what really shine here. In fact, the name does Krunch somewhat of an injustice, focusing the attention on a mediocre Neapolitan-style crust with very little give and not enough snap. But what sits on top of the crust transcends the term “slice”, crossing over into inspired “dish” territory. I’ll readily admit my initial fear of shrimp atop a cheese pizza, but when creatively combined with lemon, olives, red onions, tomato and fresh mozzarella, The Krunch Gamberi merits praise and a second square. Ditto on the Bianchi Krunch, the crust merely a platform, painted with sumptuous white marscapone & ricotta pie infused with a savory truffle oil, almost too rich to be pizza. The only mystery pie was the one they pushed the most – the Krunch Zucca – an apparent “must have”, which I found to be a bland frosting of pureed zucchini spread thickly across the brick oven-baked crust.
For the curiously pizza-averse eater, there’s an impressive selection of seasonally-inspired salads, creative pastas and paninis. The Tuscan salad – a springy mix of romaine, hearts of palm, fresh pecorino, and Tuscan beans, dressed in a zesty white balsamic vinaigrette – could satisfy the most discerning Italian critic. Even the Krunch rigatoni could contend with some of the more worthy pasta dishes in the city, which makes sense, since the recipe was inspired by Bar Pitti’s rigatoni pasta. Worth its weight in delivery gold, the rigatoni’s laced with a creamy tomato sauce, then dotted with pancetta, pecorino and crisp green peas.
Of course, no modern pizzeria’s menu is complete without a gimmicky, but pleasing dessert pie. This one comes in the form of Nutella, spread across the signature crust, perfect for the late night munchies and available until 4 AM. Krunch won’t win any pizza crust awards, but it will certainly make take-out on the East Side a whole lot brighter.
Until we eat again,