Chef Chris Nye, the New Pizza Guy

Posted by / Friday, April 1st, 2011

Chef Chris Nye is the new chef of Pizzeria Orso and he is featuring his new spring menu today.

I had the chance to taste some dishes off his menu, and they were delicious! I tasted the beet salad; some type of mozzarella salad with lemon and arugula; tomato arancini; sourdough bruschetta;  lamb spirale with pappardelle di farro; margherita DOC; ripieno (folded pizza) with ricotta and broccoli rabe; orso bianco; a meat pizza that I don’t know the name of; ricotta cannoli; homemade tiramisu; and a shot of  (strong) limoncello.

The beet salad was a fresh way to start off the meal. It consisted of pickled beets, dandelion greens, yogurt, local honey and pistachios. The pistachios softened and added some saltiness to the acerbic taste of the dandelion greens. I will always love a good beet salad.

The lemon preserves was the real star of the mozzarella salad. It gave the mozzarella salad a much needed sour kick to every bite. I love mozzarella, but it can be overwhelming and very heavy, and the lemon added another dimension of taste to the otherwise bland mozzarella. Good thinking, Chef Nye!

I would definitely order the tomato arancini (see pic below) again as an antipasta. It was a hot, crispy risotto, taleggio ball with a surprise of a small piece of tomato in the middle. What’s not to love? It’s fried, creamy and has risotto! This is not a new spring item, but nevertheless, scrumptious.

Ah, the sourdough bruschetta with warm ricotta and a side of roasted olives was addictive. Our table agreed that there must be crack in the ricotta because we all gobbled it up and wanted to ask for more. After this dish, I started to feel pretty full. I know, sounds pathetic, but a big slice of bruschetta plus a good piece of mozzarella AND three balls of risotto can be really filling!

The Calabrian sausage in the lamb spirale was moist and savory. But to be honest, (I also think I was distracted from all the food) I probably wouldn’t have known it was lamb. They could have April fooled me into thinking it was beef or pork, but either way, it was good. The hand cut pasta with the cute pioppini mushrooms tasted homemade and simple.  It could definitely work as a perfect, hearty lunch meal as well.

Yes, that was FIVE antipastas that I tried…if you can imagine how filling they were. I ALMOST forgot that we hadn’t even started on the main course of pizzas.

The ricotta with broccoli (or spinach?) rabe ripieno (a calzone type thing) had a perfectly crispy crust, with fresh veggies combined with what tasted like a sweet ricotta mixture. It was creamy and combined with the veggies nicely.

The orso bianco pizza with ricotta, mozarella, grana, fontina, pecorino and garlic was a white pizza full of creamy cheesy flavors. I love cheese, and white pizzas, so this is what I will be ordering next time. This pizza would pair perfectly with the beet salad.

The meat and margherita pizza were pretty standard, but nevertheless tasty!

Honestly, I couldn’t believe that everything except for the meat pizza and the lamb spirale was vegetarian. Thanks to all the cheeses (the mozzarella, the risotto, and the rich ricotta on top of the bruschetta and in the ripieno), I felt like I had eaten a hearty dinner.

For dessert, we were all happily surprised when the waiter brought out the cannoli with some fresh rhubarb! What a great surprise to kick off the spring season. It was my first time seeing rhubarb this year, a lovely reminder that it is officially spring which means more foods are in season! It was fruity, piercing reddish pink, sweet, and brightened up the plate. We also had homemade tiramisu……it was  fluffy and light, like a cloud in my mouth, as well as subtly sweet. I will definitely remember this tiramisu.

Thanks again to Amber, Sangi, Pizzeria Orso and of course, Chef Chris Nye!

(image: Pizzeria Orso)

Pizzeria Orso
400 S Maple Ave.
Falls Church, VA 22046

-Rebecca Kim

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