We actually happened upon Cornuto by accident, having come specifically to this stretch of Phinney Ave thinking that there was ice cream to be had. This particular evening we were out of luck, because the new outpost of Capitol Hill’s Bluebird wasn’t quite open for business. (Shoot!) Turned out not to be such a bad thing, though, because we noticed an open door just adjacent and decided to check it out.
That open door was Cornuto, a pizza newcomer to the Phinney scene. I’ve decided that one of my favorite things about the restaurant is its petite size. Four two-person booths (or four-person if you’re quite friendly with one another), four bar stools, two tall tables, and a smattering of outside seating. Add to that a big pizza oven with a very small adjoining prep area, and you have that entirety of the space. It’s all dark wood, with exposed beams coated with four coats (!) of shiny lacquer, crackled glass pendant lights, and a sizable bar. It seems like the perfect neighborhood spot, where you could just as easily drop in for a drink, or stick around a little longer for dinner. When we were there that evening we discovered that they also do brunch, so that’s the meal we returned for next time around.
If you’re wondering what constitutes “brunch” at a Neopolitan-style pizza place, it’s a couple of things: The meal can quite happily begin with a delicious bloody mary, and the pizzas have a fresh mozzarella base (and not the tomato sauce base of the evening pizzas) as well as a mostly cooked egg atop. The crust is thin, though less on the crispy end of the spectrum and more doughy. It also has a slightly sweet flavor, and in my book, all of these things are pluses. Aran and I were big fans of the pizza we sampled: The Pancetta, with pancetta, and roasted cherry tomatoes; and the Salumi e Funghi, with salami piccante and crimini mushrooms, both with the aforementioned mozzarella and egg.
Seattle seems to be awash in pizza options and everyone has their favorite, but I’d say that Cornuto’s is worth a try. Their brunch version will definitely lure me back for a return visit, and with small-scale atmosphere like that I’m a fan for sure.