Pizza al taglio (“by the cut” in Italian) isn’t a style often seen stateside—most pie lovers think round and thin for Italian-style pizza. Developed in Rome, and cooked in big rectangular pans for easy dividing into smaller rectangular slices, pizza al taglio is traditionally sold by weight, and now available throughout Italy—my favorite is Pizzeria Kentia in Umbertide, Umbria—and, as of a few weeks ago, available in downtown Seattle at Bar Taglio, opened by chef Brendan McGill of Hitchcock fame.
We stopped in for a first look, and (naturally) dove into the drinks before the pizza. The drink list from Alexandra Stang, formerly at Bastille, covers classics (the Negroni, as you’d hope, is swell, utilizing a house vermouth blend), a few new mixes, and a “When In Rome” selection of three mini-martinis and caffè corretto (coffee with booze). While each drink had was solidly sippable, the two-ounce mini-martinis were amazing and fun, featuring locally made gins paired with different vermouths and garnishes. The Copperworks Malt Barrel Aged Gin version, with del Professore Classico vermouth and an olive or twist, was a layered, flavorful delight. Other versions include a Counter Old Tom Gin with a prosciutto garnish and a Big Gin with a tomato garnish—both were hard to resist.
Small alongside ridiculous modern pours, I found these mini-martinis a perfect size, each easily consumed “while it’s laughing at you” (which I take to mean while cold) as legendary Savoy bartender and author Harry Craddock said around 1930. In addition, they pair with the taglio-style pizza divinely. The pizza is $5 to $8 for a large square slice or you can grab a whole pie with up to six options from the list of 11. All slices I sampled boasted a nice little crusty crunch balanced by good chewy-ness, slightly thicker than what most envision as Italian pizza. The Funghi was the overall favorite, with savory chanterelle and lobster mushrooms cozying up with lush Taleggio and Grana Padano cheeses.
You’ll also find on the menu Antipasti, Insalate, and two larger dinner-only Secondi, Birre, including Italian classic lager Peroni and wine leaning Italian-y. Don’t let that sway you far from the slices and those martinis—at least on your first visit to this Roman café-esque spot, with marble-topped tables on ornate stands, tall open ceilings, and a long bar. One final tip: Bar Taglio is bustling already at lunch (the three-martini lunch is back!), but weekend nights are less busy, making it possible to pop in.