40 North Pizza Restaurant In Austin: Detailed Review
Reopening their dining room for the first time since March 2020, 40 North Wood-Fired Pizza serves up a cozy, classic experience as if they never stopped. Even with the animated crowd drawn by the reopening, 40 North’s clean and clever decor and seating arrangements creates a surprisingly spacious yet personal dining space.
The pizza joint leans towards a cafe aesthetic. Tasteful artwork and knick-knacks are present enough to make one feel at home without overwhelming the space available. 40 North’s staff are vivacious, friendly, and knowledgeable about their menu – as somebody who struggles with decisions, it was a relief to receive confident and spot-on recommendations from the staff!
Cool Collabs: Salty Cargo
40 North keeps things exciting by featuring collaboration pizzas and plates highlighting other local eateries. I was lucky enough to try chef John Gocong of Salty Cargo’s additions to the menu: the Tori Katsu Sando sandwich and Pacific Asian-inspired Hawaiian pizza.
The Tori Katsu Sando is a marvel. Chicken is far from my favorite protein, but the incredible crunch, superbly seasoned and succulent light and dark meat, and lack of chew-interrupting cartilage had me at a loss for words. My guest and I could do nothing but make heart-eyes at the sandwich as we demolished it in awestruck silence. The Hawaiian Pizza was a creative take on the typical Hawaiian, with an unexpected but welcome kick from the house-fermented anchovy sambal chili paste, tempered by a taste of Thai.
I’m a big believer in the power of classics to define a chef’s expertise, which is why the obvious choice for my next pizza was the Margherita. Because it’s a pretty simple pizza, I paired it with 40 North’s fun new Frozen Cappelletti Spritz. Picky eaters, rejoice! Despite its simplicity, the Margherita is not at all left in the dust by the spritz thanks to its well-rounded flavor profile, and an extra bit of natural sweetness coming through from the organic tomato sauce.
The Frozen Cappelletti Spritz may be more of a stretch for a picky eater, but is infinitely rewarding for those willing to take a sip. My eyebrows made it all the way to my hairline when I tried the citrusy aperitivo. It tastes like tropical fall. That is, the energy and sass of an Italian seaside villa is innovatively packaged in the crispness of a fast-approaching autumn.
The All-or-Nothing Pair
For my last course I went with a personal favorite – mushrooms! I was a little concerned, as most pizzas with mushrooms arrive looking a little sparse…but I had no reason to worry. 40 North packed enough local mushrooms and black truffle onto the pizza’s cheesy, foldable base to make me giggle euphorically at the sight of my slice. They went all out with the mushrooms, and it truly was a celebration of Funghi.
Paired with the mushroom party was an apple party of eight in the form of Texas Keeper No. 1 small-batch cider. And those eight apples did their work beautifully. The cider easily trumped any beer I’d ever had- it was rich, complex, and showcased the power of the unpretentious apple. Together with the Funghi pizza, 40 North’s cider selection provided an exciting end to the evening and a desire to come back for more drinks and neapolitans very, very soon.