I visited Forno Kitchen + Bar for dinner over the weekend and was impressed enough to go back the next morning for brunch — although I did have to clarify to many people that I was going to F-O-R-N-O, not P-O-R-N-O… although that would certainly be a unique dining experience if anyone’s looking for a new restaurant concept. You’re welcome.
Brought to us by same folks as nearby Short North Pint House, Forno — which is Italian for “oven” and has nothing whatsoever to do with naked people — opened at the beginning of this year and offers a slightly more upscale dining experience than its sister restaurant, with a modern, colorful lighting and furnishings and an open view of the stone-fired oven action.
The “drunk” part of brunch is certainly encouraged here – with the purchase of any brunch entree, you get your first mimosa or bloody mary for half-off (regularly $10). Bonus: the bloody mary comes garnished with a delicious fried risotto ball. If you want a second cocktail after quaffing your discounted drink, I highly recommend the Strawberry Rose: vodka, muddled strawberries, St. Germain and Cava.
There’s nine options on Forno’s brunch menu, which debuted last month. Selections includs brunch staples like french toast and biscuits & gravy; an expected-at-a-pizza-place breakfast pizza; and a highly-tempting-for-next-visit braised beef brunch brasato. I ordered the chicken and waffles, which were some of the best I’ve had in Columbus (RIP Sage) — tender, juicy chicken breast with sweet maple and a tangy hot sauce aioli. I also tried the Forno Skillet, a tasty AM twist on the namesake Forno Pizza I had enjoyed the night before with eggs, potatoes, mushrooms, red pepper, asparagus and goat cheese.
Forno is located at 721 N. High Street in the Short North. Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 11am–3pm.