For the month of April, the Restaurant Spotlight will be focusing on brunch at restaurants in the City of Falls Church. This week, we explore Pizzeria Orso’s Sunday brunch.
Pizzeria Orso has been serving up its signature Neapolitan-style pizzas and small plates for a few years now, but brunch at Orso is a more recent addition. The restaurant debuted its special brunch menu last summer, and in a short amount of time has made a dining experience that’s worth waking up early on a Sunday.
Orso regulars will see pizzas on the menu otherwise available during non-brunch hours, but also two special brunch-styled pies. There’s the McLovin’ ($13), with spinach, egg, and three cheeses, and there’s the meaty Big Country ($14).
The Big Country is a breakfast platter on a pie, topped with three favorite breakfast meats – ham, bacon, and sausage – a maple syrup drizzle, and an egg in the center with yolk ready to run across a bed of mozzarella and fontina cheeses and the pizza’s chewy and charred crust.
But if the Bacon Sticky Buns ($7 for two) is the first thing to catch your eye, you aren’t alone. This is a raved-about menu item, with pillowy pastry curling around chopped pieces of bacon, the warm buns glazed and served with some extra frosting on the plate. Dishes like this remind you why sweet and savory tastes work so well together.
For brunch traditionalists, Orso has all the basics. There’s an omelet, an eggs-any-way platter, and pancakes, waffles, and French toast. They serve a breakfast sandwich – the Country Ham, Egg & Cheese Sandwich ($11) – as well. It’s definitely a fork-and-knife sandwich, with ample ham and fluffy scrambled eggs barely contained in thin pieces of herb-aioli coated focaccia bread. Fries or a mixed greens salad are served on the side.
As for drinks, Orso offers the two brunch staples, mimosa and bloody mary. The Mimosa ($6) is made with prosecco and orange juice, and is more dry than sweet. The Spicy Bloody Mary ($9) isn’t as menacing as the name would suggest, but you’ll feel a tingle of heat and enjoy the robust flavor of the house mix. It’s garnished with a skewer of pepperoni slices, an olive, and a basil leaf, for a charming Italian touch.
Familiar brunch dishes are popular for a reason, but be prepared for some unconventional items on this menu to pique your interest as well. Take the 1000° Egg ($10), so named for the trip it takes to Orso’s volcanic brick pizza oven. Here, a small baking dish contains a poached egg at its center, surrounded by a zesty marinara sauce full of big chunks of sausage and topped with some herby pesto. You’ll be glad the dish comes with two big pieces of grilled sourdough bread to scoop up every last bit of that delicious sauce.
The Orso brunch is delightful for the way it combines egg-centered eats and Italian cuisine inspiration. But it’s also a well-rounded brunch. It balances the lunch and the breakfast dishes, and the sweet and the savory plates. And by offering a dozen pizzas, in addition to its two special breakfast pies, the brunch here doesn’t lose sight of what has made Orso a local favorite.
Pizzeria Orso is located at 400 S. Maple Ave., Falls Church. For more information, call 703-226-3460 or visit pizzeriaorso.com. Brunch hours are Sunday: 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.