PDX - Al Forno Ferruzza - new pizza joint
In the interest of adding content to this site for PDX that isn't a reply to a visitor (we love ya though, keep on coming! ;o) I thought I'd post about a new place up on NE 38th and Alberta.
Stopped here on Wed. with my mom for lunch. We had a small pepperoni pie, a calzone with roasted peppers and herbed tomatoes, and a cannoli. We shared everything.
They went brick and mortar from a cart and they are just doing what they can as they can with the place. They, undoubtedly, have a long way to go on the space. It is not a showplace, but it really is clean - and there's a bit of funky Alberta vibe about the place. Their focus is on the food and they certainly know what they're doing here.
Pizza was a very tasty thin crust with a bit of sauce and cheese, we added the pepperoni for another buck. The style of this pizza is light - it is not a loaded pie dripping with cheese, it is a more restrained pie with high-quality ingredients. I prefer more cheese, but this was still a very good pizza and definitely worth the $8 for the small pie.
The calzone was great. A torpedo of that tasty dough filled with a very creamy and fresh ricotta, some melty mozzarella and accented with roasted peppers with a chunky tomato sauce on the side for dipping. The ricotta in this is soooo good, I had to ask where they source it from. Turns out the father (this is a father/son + others operation) makes it himself! No wonder it is so delicious. Totally worth $7 - which gives you your pick of two add-ons (same list as the pizza toppings).
The cannoli is filled with the creamy rich delicious ricotta accented with orange zest and is not too sweet. They don't make the shells, but they do fill them to order, which keeps the shells crisp. Decorated with a few chocolate chips at each end, these are very good and a nice end to a meal here. They are a tasty way to spend $4.
Overall, I loved the calzone and the cannoli (that ricotta is irresistible) and liked the pizza. If I lived closer, I would be a regular - but I live across the river, over the hills and near the WA county line...so folks who live closer than I, please support this place and give them enough business so that they can settle into their space.
P.S. - They are waiting on their liquor license, so right now there is water (Pellegrino and non-carbonated), cans of Coke, and Pellegrino limonata and aranciata.
Al Forno is my new favorite pizza place. The sauce is the best. San Marzano tomatoes do make a difference. They use wonderful ingredients, and make delicious pizza. They are lovely and friendly, and you can get a slice! For a transplanted Brooklynite this is a big deal. Since I can't import Di Fara's, Al Forno is my pizza stop.
I was sad on Friday that they weren't open for lunch. I haven't seen hours posted, but the address and # are 2738 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211 (503) 253-6766