Forno Kitchen + Bar (Facebook / T: @fornoshortnorth / IG: @fornoshortnorth)
721 N. High St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43215
Open Mon-Thurs, 4p-12a; Fri, 4p-1a; Sat, 10a-1a; Sun, 10a-close) (brunch served Sat & Sun, 10a-3p)
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Last month I was on assignment for the Dispatch, scoping out brunch at Forno in Short North. You can read my review here. We had a good time, and I wanted to share some of our photos and additional thoughts.
Let me start by sharing a quirky connection we have to Forno. Well, not the restaurant itself. The space. When we moved to Columbus years ago, our first apartment was in the top floor of Forno’s building at High and Buttles. We have fond memories of our two years there. I remember when (oh goodness, did I just say that?) Forno’s space was split into four spots: a gallery, our landlord’s office, a corner shop (Baskets By Bonnie, then a clothing store) and Paul Robinett’s candle store (which Mrs. Bfast w/Nick managed). So as we enjoyed brunch at Forno, we eyed all the details of the space and recalled what stood where. Most amazingly, the old bank vault in the building is still there (it’s admittedly hard to move).
Anyway, Forno occupies a big space. The northern side facing Buttles features most of the seating, and it’s brightened by those huge windows. The other side has a cooler feel, lit more with blue lights – although both sides feature giant lampshades running down the middle of the space.
There’s a mix of seating, too: tall cab tables, big booths that practically swallow you up. My chair was sunk a bit at the bottom, so I felt a bit like a little kid at the adults’ table.
In the center is the restaurant’s namesake: Forno – the oven. If you glance over their menu you’ll see pizza is the main feature, although they branch into entrees, salads, desserts, and the like.
We started brunch with a thick and rich Bloody Mary and a selection from the beer list (Jackie O’s Java the Stout).
First up for our meal was the brunch brasato. It’s something you don’t see on a lot of brunch menus around town, so it piqued my interest.
The dish is essentially beef braised in a tomato sauce (it gets a tad acidic) with parmesan, rosemary, and an egg. The egg is cracked right into the mixture and cooked thoroughly. You’re meant to spoon it onto the bread. Although it is certainly strong on the tomatoes, the beef was fall-apart tender and the presentation was lovely.
Second cocktail: the Pear Necessities with gin, poached pear syrup, and ginger liqueur.
The Nutella stuffed French toast was sweet and topped with bananas and hazelnuts, but not super notable. It needed more Nutella!
Our favorite part of the meal: the Brunch Pizza with eggs, fontina, garlic, pancetta, and Brussels sprouts. I can always use more Brussels sprouts in my life. And runny eggs on my pizza? Yes, absolutely.
They really nailed it with the pizza, and this is reason enough to return. The crusty was thin and crispy without getting too charred, the Brussels sprouts tender, and the eggs just the right consistency (runny yolks, mostly cooked whites). I love being able to dip a breakfast pizza in its own eggs.
As you can see, there’s a fun mix of items on Forno’s weekend brunch menu. You can still enjoy all their pizzas and appetizers like calamari and arancini. And the brunch menu gets even more, well, brunchy: biscuits and gravy, chicken and waffles, skillets, parfaits, BLTs. Lots of reasons to head over there and get exploring.
This meal was covered by the Dispatch as part of a review. Photos and opinions here are my own.