Longer days, better vaccine availability and now, the return of Brunetti pizza. Things are indeed looking up.
The tiny Westhampton Beach pizzeria, a fixture on Newsday’s Top Pizza list, shuttered in 2019, just before the town’s Main Street undertook a massive restoration project. This gave owner Michael Brunetti the perfect opportunity to find a larger location that, unlike the original, actually fronted on Main Street. (The old location, tucked behind Mambo Kitchen, is now home to 103 Bambino's Pizzeria.)
The new Brunetti is two blocks west and seems vast in comparison to its predecessor, which was little more than a wood-burning oven, a counter, and a few stools. The dining room can seat 16 (at full capacity) and there are another eight seats outside. I counted six people in the open kitchen — about as many diners as the old place could accommodate. Working the oven is Brunetti’s new partner, Danny Armyn who, in the months the pair spent preparing, studied the art of pizza making with Roberto Caporuscio of Kesté Pizza & Vino in Manhattan.
When it opened in 2010, Brunetti kicked off Long Island’s neo-Neapolitan pizza trend. It’s become a happy commonplace but, eleven years ago, a pizzeria with a wood-burning oven that made individual pies with long-fermented dough, fresh mozzarella and imported San Marzano tomatoes was a rarity.
The Margherita is still aces, and Brunetti’s "vongole" remains the only clam pizza on LI that this New Haven-raised writer can get behind. (It’s nothing like Frank Pepe’s huge, charred, delicious oily clam pizza, but it has its own refined, mollusky charm. And, most importantly, it features no mozzarella, which, this writer feels strongly, has no place on a clam pizza.)
More space allowed Brunetti to expand its menu too. There are 13 signature pies, and 10 small plates, from rice balls and fried calamari to eggplant Parmesan and potato croquettes with Fontina and truffled aioli. The four salads include artichoke with arugula, shaved pecorino and lemon vinaigrette, and kale with farro, chickpeas, red cabbage, ricotta salata and roasted walnut oil. Brunetti has a brief but excellent all-Italian wine lists, Italian craft beers and, new for the new location, cocktails such as Aperol Spritz and Negroni. The signature cocktail, the Limonetti, is made with Brunetti’s own limoncello, seltzer and basil.
Brunetti is at 61 Main St., Westhampton Beach, 631-288-3003, brunettipizzahamptons.com