On an unseasonably warm Friday night, we dined at Menomale in Brookland. We sat on the restaurant’s sidewalk patio, which can be enclosed but was open on this mild night.
When we first got to the restaurant, we noticed that Ettore, the owner, was there. We watched him the whole time through the window while we sat on the patio. He was so focused, so methodical–we could tell that we were in good hands. Menomale, like Pizzeria Orso, has a VPN certification. For what it’s worth, Menomale got their’s about 2 years before Pizzeria Orso. It takes a strong determination to keep up with all the requirements that come along with making DOC pizzas.
On this warm night, I started the meal out with a Sonoma Anvil Bourbon Cider. The bourbon flavor was interesting, but I found the drink too sweet for my liking. Marnay had a Goose Island Sofie, a saison. Marnay liked it, but wished that it had a little stronger flavor. Neither of us had the Sofie before, and it was a little mild for a Saison.
We were hungry (!), so we started the meal with Prosciutto di Parma e Melone. The prosciutto did not appear to be made in-house, but that did not mean it wasn’t delicious. The salty, nutty meat went perfectly with the slightly cold, sweet cantaloupe. Prosciutto di Parma gets its nutty flavor from the Parmigiano Reggiano whey that is in the pigs’ diets. The dish was served with arugula, grapes and strawberries.
You can’t go to Meomale and not get pizza, so we shared the d’Ettore, or chef’s special. The pizza has fior di latte (cows’ milk mozzarella), cherry tomatoes, arugula, prosciutto di Parma, grana Padano and extra-virgin olive oil. Even though the pizza has a lot going on, it still tasted like one pizza. I can’t say that there was one topping that overpowered the rest. I think that part of this can be attributed to the soft crust on a Neapolitan pizza. New York style pizzas, for example, have lots crust and cheese and are filled with grease whereas Neapolitan pizzas taste cleaner and prevent the toppings from getting lost. Neapolitan pizzas are also healthier than traditional New York pizzas, for the same reasons.
While we were finishing our meal on the patio, it started to pour! Luckily, some employees came and rolled down the windows before we started to get wet. While the rain was unexpected (we didn’t even bother to bring umbrellas), it did not put a damper on our experience. Menomale is a great Neapolitan pizzeria and a very good restaurant overall.
Menomale: 2711 12th St NE, Washington, DC 20018
Closest Metro: either Brookland or Rhode Island Avenue