Piccolo Forno in Lawrenceville proved to be worth the hour wait… mostly.
After a LLLLOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG work week, a colleague suggested that we all go out for dinner and drinks to Piccolo Forno, a tiny little BYOB Italian joint on the main drag in Lawrenceville. The place only takes reservations for groups over 5 and usually not on the same day as the call, so either plan ahead or be prepared for a fairly epic wait. We knew we were in it for the long haul, so we sent over a few from our party to get our name in early.
When I arrived, my group was across the street at a really lovely bar/restaurant called The Round Corner Cantina. What a great little suprise that place was. Good beer and from the look on the faces of everyone eating, good food. The staff was nice and knowledgeable. This was a great place to wait and get a few drinks. I think it will be on my short list for next night on the town as well. (http://roundcornercantina.com/)
But, back to Picollo Forno. We were seated at a nice, cozy table (remember the place is pretty darn tiny) near the bar. Our server, Sabrina told us her favorite things on the menu. One of them contained braised boar; needless to say, I stuck with my own choice:
1. Insalata di Rucola: baby arugula, cherry tomatoes, radicchio, toasted walnuts and parmigiano reggiano. Yum, yum, and yum. There is nothing not to love about this one. It was probably my favorite part of the dinner. Fresh ingredients and not bogged down with cups of dressing like most salads.
2. Maccheroni con Melanzane al Forno: baked rigatoni with fried eggplant (heaven!), onions, beschamel and gruyere. This was also something I would get again in a heartbeat, but on the flipside it was rich enough to make my heart stop beating if I had it more than once a year!
3. Pizza- Tonno e Cipolle: crushed tomatoes, fresh motz, imported tuna (clearly being a veg, I had it sans the tuna), onions and capers. I wouldn’t call the pizza bad…but then again, I wouldn’t call it good either. Being from Chicago I am pretty picky about my pizza. This place just fell short of the mark in every way on this pizza. The sauce was too sweet. The crust was nice and thin but not crispy. It was almost a little soggy- not appetizing. There were not enough toppings. Nothing to write home about.
For the most part, my companions all enjoyed their dinners and I did too. I would return when I am in the mood for a nice dinner out, but I would highly recommend getting pizza elsewhere. Don’t forget to grab a beer at the cantina when you are in the neighborhood!
Piccolo Forno overall grade: B, Pizza grade: D