Growing up I thought pizza places consisted of subs, wings, and of course pizza. In our household we even designated Friday night as pizza night. Pizza to me, was more of something you ordered before a game or when you were too lazy to figure out dinner plans.
My childhood seems like a distant memory now and so are my opinions on pizza places. Over the last year we’ve had the chance to visit several restaurants whose perspective of pizza is radically different than my previous notions. Expansive menus, gourmet appetizers, and incredible pairings are springing up all over the Metro DC area. Pizzeria Orso, located in Falls Church, Virginia, is the antithesis of my previous pizza experiences.
Headed by Chef Bertrand Chemel, Pizzeria Orso is serving up mouthwatering Neapolitan pizzas. For those less familiar with Chemel, he’s also behind famed restaurant 2941 and previously worked for Daniel Boulud at the prestigious Cafe Boulud in New York City. To say the menu comes from a well educated and talented Chef is an understatement.
While perusing the menu, a complimentary plate of Chemel’s most recent creation, Piccolo Frittos arrives at the table. This simple addition does an excellent job at setting the mood for the food that’s to come. While enjoying these breadstick alternatives we recommend starting with one of several cocktails, our favorites were the Jalapeño Marghartia, Prosecco Strawberry Sparkler, and Pomegranate Whiskey Sour.
Since there were four of us we really explored the entire menu. For mushroom fanatics, the Spring Bruschetta (ricotta, mushrooms, ramps) is where you should begin. Meat lovers will find an enticing option in the Lamb Belly over palenta. If you’re looking for something a little different the fresh Grilled Octopus over fingerling potatoes is a dish we might mistakenly skip over on the ordinary night. As for a simple dish, the Spring Ricotta Dip is easily sharable for a table.
Though we were already satiated by the incredible starters, four wonderfully crafted Neapolitan pizzas arrived and about an hour later, my taste buds were hovering somewhere around cloud nine. The Orso is probably one of the more commonly ordered pizza options, but try any of the seasonal specials from the menu for a fresh vegetable and meat combination. If you’re willing to take the kitchen’s opinion, they can recommend what their favorite is during any given week.
Someday I will reluctantly have to decline dessert – this visit was not that day. If we hadn’t been given the works already, the sweets came out in full force. Pizzeria Orso is appropriate for all ages so bring friends, because you’re going to want to try the Chocolate Tiramisu, Strawberries & Cream Sundae, and Donuts with a chocolate topping.
Chemel emphasizes local ingredients in several of his dishes, so don’t be surprised if you regularly stumble upon him at the Falls Church farmer’s market. The next time your friends want to get pizza, blow their mind with a trip to Pizzeria Orso.