I’m a happy and proud uptown resident of Harlem, even though most of my daily life is spent below Central Park, thanks to my 9-to-5 and social engagements and events I attend. I know there’s a ton to explore in my neighborhood and up, but when I’m home, I’m always exhausted and often fully glued to my couch conquering the next show on my Netflix queue.
I’m happy to report, however, that this past weekend I made a bit of a change. Alongside my friend Mike, who always seems to live in the same neighborhood as me (Great Falls, VA → Glover Park, D.C. → Harlem, NY), and his girlfriend, Sarah, I set off on a northern journey and went to brunch at Fumo, an Italian restaurant in Hamilton Heights.
To be honest, Fumo is only about 20 blocks away from where we live, so it’s not like we were off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail or anything, but it was still a significant departure from the status quo.
When we arrived, we were seated at a large wooden table in the front corner of the restaurant. We had room to spare at the table, which could comfortably hold six, but were happy to have a bit of space and privacy outside the hustle and bustle of the restaurant’s interior.
And a lovely, inviting interior it is. The bright space is open and filled with decor accents that verge on cheesy but somehow still feel like home—think cookbooks, jars of pasta sauce, and colanders. I half expected a block of parmesan to show up on the table (too bad it didn’t actually). If you didn’t know this was an Italian place before arriving, the decor leaves little room for confusion.
There was no confusion over drinks either—Sarah and I both chose to sip mimosas (she got the unlimited option for $17.50), and Mike went with an Italian beer, Birra Moretti. Not unlike one of the Netflix shows I watch, the mimosas tasted fresh and were dangerously binge-able. I only had two, but Sarah made the right choice with the unlimited option. Her mimosa was never empty, which we considered a mark of great service.
I made the executive decision to start with an avocado toast, which I leveled up with the addition of proscuttio and a fried egg. Putting an egg on avocado toast adds nothing new to the super-saturated avo toast landscape (except really nice flavor, obviously), but the prosciutto was a welcome novelty that I hadn’t seen elsewhere.
The salty, savory flavor mixed well with the egg, but together they kind of overpowered the avocado. I wish there had been more of it. But, as a whole, the generously proportioned dish was really tasty, and the side salad provided a nice touch of tang to balance out the toast’s deeper flavors.
Next up were our mains—two pizzas and a pasta. Sarah went with the classic margherita pizza (not on the brunch menu, but they made it anyway), Mike chose the buffalo pizza, and I got the breakfast carbonara.
Sarah’s thin-crust wood-fired pizza came out with what looked like perfectly crisped edges and melty mozzarella, an assumption that was confirmed just after she took her first bites. An avid pizza lover, Sarah’s seal of approval means a lot.
Mike’s buffalo pizza, which was topped with spicy Louisianna-style chicken, blue cheese, and mozzarella, also got excellent reviews and really reminded him its source material—buffalo wings. (And thank goodness, because his original plan with Sarah was to go get wings for breakfast until I came along and ruined that plan.)
The brunchiest dish of the bunch, my breakfast carbonara, was a departure from my normal M.O. This incredibly indulgent combination of spaghetti, pecorino cream cheese, bacon chips, scallion, and a fried egg was just the kind of gooey, cheesy dish that’s perfect to soak up a mimosa (or five) and tasted great to boot.
The only problem? You might not be able to finish it in one sitting, especially if you ate a bunch of avocado toast to start. But hey, I’ll take brunch woes over actual woes any day of the week.
The Bitches Say: Five Flutes. Fumo’s great food, service, and ambiance make this Italian pizza and pasta spot a worthwhile destination whether you live uptown or not.
Fumo serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.