This just in, via an e-mail from the man himself this morning: Keith McNally has tapped none other than Nate Appleman to helm the kitchen at his forthcoming pizzeria on the Bowery, Pulino's Bar and Pizzeria. Appleman, who will be chef and partner, was last seen looking for a point of entry into the New York market, having parted ways with his partners at A16 and SPQR in San Francisco. He's also this year's recipient of both the James Beard Rising Star award and Best New Chef honors from Food & Wine magazine. While the last time McNally experimented with a name chef on an Italian restaurant, at Morandi, the results were initially mixed, the McNally-Appleman one-two immediately catapults Pulino's into the territory of places like Otto and Co., where top operators and chefs are in tandem, and puts it on a path for epic success. It's a (characteristically) very shrewd move for McNally and a virtual lottery win for Appleman, who has something to prove in NYC. Pulino's, a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night proposition — per the McNally standard — will open sometime in December.