Restaurant Review: Giorgio Italian Restaurant

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Isn't Sunday supposed to be a day of rest? That's what I thought, but while I was loving my brunch one Sunday morning, all of the sudden a battalion of vexing questions began assaulting my pampered, calm and comforted mood.

This caused me to restlessly wonder how such a wonderful frittata could be crammed with so much great-tasting actual lump crab meat and sided with a plateful of deliciously zesty potatoes plus a huge fresh fruit salad - all for a mere $10.

And if this place could do crab like that, then why can't so many other restaurants? And where in the heck was everybody? Because once again Giorgio was rocking brunch, but it was rocking it only at three occupied tables.

If you know the Clintonville-situated Giorgio Italian Restaurant just from its decent dinner service, I urge you to go again for its eye-opening brunch. I guarantee it will exceed your expectations of this place and it will do it at phenomenal value.

First off, like me, Giorgio understands that breakfast appetizers are sorely underutilized in this town. So as palates can be easier pleased when opened slowly, I recommend going for the great bang-for-the-buck Bruschetta Assortita ($7). That hulking platter of multiple toast rounds draped with colorful, sweet and savory goodies looked like a serving of a.m. sushi.

Its super-crunchy bread ovals held this trio of classic triplets: smoked salmon over chopped hard-cooked egg, prosciutto with cantaloupe done in diced-up fashion, and bananas above a smooth and dreamy blend of Nutella with whipped cream. Stretching dollars even further, it also sported a generous serving of herb-marinated cheese cubes and yet more share-able fruit salad.

The Crispy Prosciutto Focaccia ($7) looked like a "white" pizza but ate like a great open-faced sandwich; its mix of colors, flavors and textures made it fantastic fun to munch on. Four large, crunch-happy bread wedges supported al dente asparagus, sweet caramelized onions, salty cooked prosciutto, bright discs of sliced, perfectly boiled eggs and a restrained amount of unifying melted cheese.

Amping up the richness of these compatible elements was a side of chive-speckled, lemony hollandaise sauce (like all brunch dishes here, this was served with spunky garlic, onion, red pepper and tomato-enhanced spuds plus a plus-sized fruit salad).

Hollandaise took on a pleasant tomatoey tang and loose consistency in the excellent Eggs Venetian ($10). Two sauce-coated poached ova perched atop sauteed spinach and sat atop big and beautiful fried polenta cakes, brilliantly filling in for ho-hum English muffins. Those amazing maize-made babies had crispy crusts and creamy, lovely interiors.

Since Giorgio was out of creamy polenta on another Sunday, those same killer corny cakes came with the Shrimp and Polenta (five fatty crustaceans wrapped in crisply cooked pancetta, and a great deal at $8) and the retooled combo worked great. It came sauced with a bright and creamy tomato and red pepper coulis.

In Italy - and my kitchen - leftover pasta commonly goes into a next-day frittata. Giorgio's smart penchant for adhering to classic combinations continued with its rich and salty Carbonara Frittata ($8). Call it bacon and eggs with strands of spaghetti, mozzarella, garlic, tomatoes and fresh basil; and call it super-satisfying.

And call me if you order the marvelous Frittata Al Mare. That's the impressive crabby and eggy delight I mentioned earlier. It's further fortified with lots of sliced artichoke hearts, fontina cheese and spinach, and it gets topped with Giorgio's tomato hollandaise sauce, too.

Since we started with a breakfast appetizer, why not finish with the desserty Pancakes Formaggio ($9) - a triple stack stuffed with a grown-up, semi-sweet strawberry and whipped ricotta cheese filling that's drizzled with warm honey. It's great for sharing - unless I happened to have ordered it.

Anyway, with top-notch munchies and deals like these, please head to Giorgio soon for its terrific brunch, and let me relax on Sundays knowing that a little neighborhoody place that deserves more business is actually getting it.

Giorgio Italian

2941 N. High St., Clintonville



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