Naples By Austin: Bufalina

Updated: Feb 29, 2020



If virtue lies with those who use food as merely a means of sustenance, then count my soul amongst the virtueless masses who live to eat; waistline be damned! (Or at least haphazardly managed.) A good meal carries momentum like a symphonic crescendo. Leaving me ecstatically planning my next visit before the check arrives. Bufalina on Burnet Road hits this note. A Neapolitan pizza restaurant where one can ensure carbohydrates are not counted but embraced.


Inside, the dining space is narrow and the seating is efficient. A communal table runs through the middle of the restaurant. On the right wall is a full bar with stools, on the left, a long bench with tables, conversations overlap one another, and the lighting is intimate but scarce. A chorus of candles and Edison bulbs guide you. It’s as if you’ve stumbled under an eclipse; all of the shapes and colors are present, but not vivid.

  

The menu reveals a strong wine list. Scan it if you are aching for something particular, but rest assured that the red wine “from the tank” is an excellent option (or bring your own bottle for a modest fee). Start with the bread and oil (sourced from a local bakery), and the mozerella of the day. This will ensure a one pizza dinner.

Next to the bar, and guarded by rope, sits the Stefano Ferrara wood-burning oven. Fine tuned for over 90 years by the Stefano family, the Neapolitan oven will reach up to 1000 degrees; transforming dough and an assortment of toppings into a delicious feast in under two minutes.  


The Caprezi comes straight from the oven to the table.The crust is crisp and warped like a Dali painting. Any anxiety you had about your neighbors close proximity melts as you turn to them and proclaim how the spice from the serrano peppers simply improves one's quality of life tenfold. 


After another glass from the tank to help soak it all in, you call for the check. The staff wear no uniforms. But are distinguishable from the patrons. A natural sense of style seems to be a prerequisite to work here. The check is delivered in the pages of an erotic novel (a standard procedure). As you depart you feel rejuvenated and you will insist the night goes on. You give your best to your neighbors, as if you’ll do it all again tomorrow, and take off in search for the nearest negroni nightcap.  

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