I’d like to take a moment to, once again, note how stupid Yelp and its reviews (but, mostly, its reviewers) are. I know I will be met with some disagreement, but in this case, I know that I am right. And those reviewers? They were so wrong.
My dad loves pizza. So, what better way to celebrate his day and his wonderful children (without whom there could be no Father’s Day) than to go to dinner and allow him (and ourselves) to indulge in the fabulosity that is Pizzeria Orso. Chef Edan McQuaid, who has been called “the best pizza guy on the East Coast” is just 30 years old but, seemingly, has been making pizza forever (“he probably came out of his mother’s womb making pizza”) . Before taking the helm at Pizzeria Orso, McQuaid worked at such local establishments as 2 Amys and Pizzeria Paradiso.
Located on the ground floor of an office building in Falls Church (for you natives, it’s where the old duck pin bowling alley used to be) and right near Elevation Burger, the space is large and bright, with a waitstaff that is friendly, informed, and ready to serve. Our table of six barraged our poor server, Ben, with a bevy of questions (Is your cheese shredded or sliced? What is the difference between tomatoes and fresh tomatoes? ). Service was not slow, as per the myriad Yelp reviews I read.
The menu is quite similar to that of 2 Amys…lots of delicious appetizers and a variety of pizza combinations. The selling point is that every pizza takes just 90 seconds to cook in the wood fired oven, and each pizza comes out slightly charred on the top and bottom. This? Is a good thing.
We started off with a couple of appetizers. The potato crocche, fried potato and cheese fritters, were delectable. Crunchy and golden brown on the outside, once you bit into them you were awarded with a bite of mashed potatoey goodness. In fact, that is the best way to describe them: golden nuggets of deep fried mashed potatoes. A little sprinkle of salt and these were perfect. And five of them for $5 seemed to be quite reasonable (despite the “overpriced” tone of many of the Yelp reviews).
We rounded out our appetizer choices with two orders of fresh burrata, which came drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and served with several pieces of perfectly toasted bruschetta. If you’re not familiar, burrata is is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella and the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it soft, easily spreadable, and buttery texture (thus, it is not surprising that “burrata,” in Italian, means “buttered.” ) This appetizer was tasty beyond words. The softness of the cheese and its subtle salty and creamy flavor worked well with the “plain” aspects of the toasted bread. I could’ve eaten an order all by myself. My grandmother looked very seriously at my brother and asked him if he was sure he wanted to eat that, considering his cholesterol. I’d like to think that was a rhetorical question.
And now we move on to the pizza (or pizze, if we want to be authentic). We ordered five different ones, each of which proved to be its own star. Among the pizzas were the Diavolo, a traditional pepperoni (with the cute little pepperoni slices that curl up into little bowls of grease…don’t cringe, you know you are drooling), tomato sauce, and mozzarella (sliced, not shredded) pie. We also sampled the Ortaggio, which was topped with tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella, eggplant, olives, onions and sweet peppers. We then ordered three variations of the margherita: one with proscuitto and mushrooms, one with just prosciutto, and one with prosciutto and lardo which, according to our friends at wikipedia, is ” a type of salume made by curing strips of pig fat with rosemary and other herbs and spices. It is taken from the layer of hard fat along the pig’s back…[and was] at one time Italy’s basic cooking fat, especially in regions where olive trees are sparse or absent, but health concerns have reduced its popularity [note that cholesterol problem previously discussed].”
Of course, I had to have a taste of the lardo pizza. It was rich and full of flavor and worth the full fat that it added (and, really, how often do you see something like that on a menu?). The one “bad” thing I have to say about the pizzas is that, much like its fancy pizza counterparts, Pizzeria Orso does not cut your pizza for you unless you specifically ask them to (and, even then, they may forget but they will happily bring a pizza cutter to the table).
All in all, this was a very good, easy, and delicious experience. There were no “kinks” that needed to be worked out. Perhaps, in the two weeks since they’ve opened, the place has found its groove. It clearly provides a fabulous pizza experience that rivals 2 Amys and, with its convenient to suburbs location (and a garage, to boot!) Pizzeria Orso is definitely going to find its way onto the pizza rotation list (if not completely remove all competitors from the list).