Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Café Sorriso e Gelateria Food Review

Pizza Margherita

The corner of Calvert & Connecticut is a few blocks away from the heart of Adams Morgan, but Café Sorriso e Gelateria makes a great starting point for those reluctant to cross Duke Ellington Bridge into the eclectic neighborhood. Cozy charm, plenty of quirks and a surprisingly original (and affordable) pizza add up to one welcome addition to the Woodley Park dining scene.

That's not to say that Sorriso doesn't have some work to do. I arrived mid-day, with only one other customer downstairs. Yes, downstairs... one of the aforementioned quirks, along with a creaky front door and even creakier floor above (it's like dining in a group house, where the food's really good.) It's a unique space, and welcomely cool with a gorgeous view of Calvert Street from a rail of window seats. There's also a bar, communal table, and a few round tables along the wall. I sat at the latter, and had to stare at a tangled spiderweb dangling from a fire alarm. Not exactly appetite-inducing.

Outdoor dining

I was in a rush when I arrived (actually obnoxious on my part, looking back) but the staff bent over backwards to accommodate me. My order was simple: Pizza Margherita ($6) with a Diet Coke. I was given a glass of water too, so you can't argue that Sorriso is too expensive for a simple lunch. My pizza arrived quickly, nice and hot. For starters, it doesn't look like any kind of pizza you're probably used to; but wait till you taste it. Constructed atop a focaccia crust, this pizza is incredibly light with a wonderful combination of gooey mozzarella cheese and zesty tomato sauce with (thankfully un-wilted) basil leaves. When I say light, I mean light. Perhaps the airiest pizza crust in the area. I could see myself having this once a week, and that's saying a lot. Best of all, it's just six bucks (five without cheese, a dollar or two more with prosciutto or salami.)

The rest of the menu is varied, and almost dilettantish compared to the row of nearby tourist traps along Connecticut Avenue. I can't wait to try their breakfast (Multigrain Pancakes, Rosemary Frittata) and authentic gelati. A second pizza couldn't hurt either.

Atmosphere: B- (Quirky, but comfortable: Nice and cool!)
Crust: B+ (Light & airy... literally melts in your mouth)
Toppings: B (Great cheese.)
Service: B
Value: B (Hard to find fault with a $6 pizza.)
Overall: B (A pleasant surprise, worthy of repeat visits.)