This brunch works, but it’s light on breakfast

My original thoughts on the (dinner) menu at Italian eatery Tipo when I was there a while back were that it offered a little something for everyone, but I felt differently about the brunch version as I was reviewing it while seated at the bar. Not that it didn’t have a fair number of options – it included lots of plates, some pizza, and sweets – just that not many of them were the “br” in brunch. That seemed a little odd since I assume many people eat brunch looking for a traditional breakfast.

She started with a Mimosa Spritz – aperol, prosecco, oj – and I stuck with water as I continued perusing the menu. Wanting the early morning meal despite the fact that is was after noon, I picked out the few options that were available to me. Crepes and frittata stood out at first, but it was the Smoked Shortrib and Potato Hash – farm egg, melted onion, sourdough – that had me the most interested. It sounded like a hearty breakfast and met me where I was at at the moment.

Mrs. Portlandeater was in the mood for a Margherita Pizza – fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil, olive oil. It wasn’t the most exciting choice on the menu, but the heart wants what the heart wants, as they say. We placed our orders and watched as the pie was created and thrown into the oven. The kitchen appeared to be prepping for dinner as the restaurant was in its last hour before closing to reopen for the night.

Our food came out with mine in a skillet, the seasoned egg and two buttery pieces of toast hiding the hash. It was on the smallish side, though I somewhat expected that because the prices weren’t particularly high. Her pizza was traditional with a fair pouring of olive oil on the top. She grabbed a slice and I arranged my food in a way that allowed me to view it all at once.

I took a bite of the toast first and it was marvelous. It was made from fresh bread and crispy through and through; I found a satisfying crunch in every bite. I ate all the toast first, making room to dig into the egg. The chicken seed was cooked to medium and a smidge spicy. As eggs go, it was quite good. I finished that before moving on to the taters.

Based on appearance, I had mixed feelings about the hash. It looked well prepared overall, but the potatoes were a little large for my liking. It was nothing too far outside of the ordinary, but for a hash, smaller bites of potato offer a better ability to mix in the other parts of the dish, allowing for more consistent flavors and textures. An initial bite proved it wasn’t devastating, but I felt the beef didn’t quite cover for the large potato as well as it could have.

Despite the biggish spuds, the hash was still quite enjoyable. The short rib in particular was really tasty and added the depth I was looking for in the plate even if some potatoes were left without any. These weren’t just hash browns, they were a meal – a small one, but still substantial enough to remind me I had made a good decision. I finished those and considered an order of another plate or something sweet, however, my wife had plenty of pizza left and was willing to share.

For pizza purists, the margherita at Tipo is a must. The smattering of mozz and basil on top of thin crust and light red sauce with an olive oil finish is true pizza for many a restaurant-goer. While it’s not my personal favorite, I frequently find myself eating her leftovers and Tipo is at least as good as any I’ve had lately. Before I was done, I found myself gladly consuming half a pizza.

Pizza, drink, and hash plate came to about $37 with tip. Whether you are there for brunch or dinner, Tipo makes really good food. My only issue is that the brunch menu itself falls short on breakfast options. Yes, there are some, but many more are suitable for lunch. If you are in the mood for lunch or dinner, Tipo makes a great choice, but if you want some of the standard morning foods, you might consider going somewhere else.

Tipo 182 Ocean Ave
207-358-7970

Stay hungry.

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