Tuesday, April 1, 2014

PIZZETTA 211 TINY SPACE BIG FLAVORS IN THE RICHMOND DISTRICT

Boredoom...it can drive one to do lots of things, like get on 2 different Muni buses to make my way out to the Richmond District of San Francisco. My goal on this slow day was to just get out of the house and do something. Hit up Green Apple Books and maybe grab a quick bite to eat. Fortunately for me my friend Miss O works out this way and her BF lives nearby also so after browsing without luck at the bookshop I last minute texted her to see if they were up for food while I was in the hood. She said sure and after tossing out some ideas we settled on Pizzetta 211.

It's a tiny place all the way out at 23rd and California. My random memory access vaguely conjures up reading or hearing about this place somewhere in time though I can't remember exactly. Since Miss O is off work early-ish we get there right before they open which turns out to be a good thing. Because it's so small it filled up quickly when we were there, which I'll take as a good sign. Plus they don't reservations, thus if you don't like to wait your choices are get it to go, wait in line or go somewhere else. After perusing the brief menu we kick off the food with that days 'daily starter' (which basically changes depending on what's fresh at the market)


Asparagus, radish and micro greens drizzled with olive oil on a bed of white bean puree. The oil was a bit heavy handed causing some of the greens to be more wilted than crunchy but otherwise this was a bright, fresh tasty start. Kind of makes you feel just a tad bit healthy before you chowing down on the greens before the pizzettas. (We fool ourselves anyway we can people) Pizzetta basically means small pizza and for that reason the three of us choose 3 pies to share, first up....


San Marzano tomato sauce, mascarpone and arugula. Since each is baked to order they come out of the oven as ready and are hot and crispy. The dough is thin crust and actually manages to hold together, meaning the toppings don't cause the crust to be all soggy on the ends. It remains crisp from crust edge to tip. The mascarpone had a nice rich creamy texture and flavor and complimentary to the slight sweetness of the tomato. The arugula with it's moderate green bitterness helps level out the sweet and adds another crunch to the pie. Overall, a good start but this may surprise you, it would rank third of the ones we had. Second up was......


Fried eggs, maitake mushrooms, truffled pecorino with a garlic and herb cream sauce. Again, they nailed the crust perfectly, plus it wasn't burned on the bottom which is a pet peeve of mine. I'd guess this was close to a breakfast pizza of some sort, eggs seem to be the new add on item at a lot of the places these days. Visually they look good though I like mine fried a little harder than they were here, just a tad too runny. Taste wise I'll be honest I'm not sure what it adds flavor wise so I could have done without them either way. The rest I really liked. The mushrooms had a great earthy flavor that meshed with the creamy richness of the garlic sauce and tangy cheese, this part alone made it my favorite of the three. Plus it was cut so you could eat the parts with or without the egg. Third up....


Spicy braised lamb, mozzarella, mint, yogurt and charred spring onion. Bang on with the crust again, I really am a fan of the thinness. The lamb was spicy but not like grab a glass of water burn your tongue thing. It was more like a hint of flavor kick like a Moroccan barbecue or something. The meat was good and the yogurt gives it creaminess that cuts the spice so the whole thing kind of reminds you of a gyro--with cheese. While I'm not the biggest fan of mint, here, though you can see the leaves of it in the picture, it was more a whiff of flavor that didn't dominate the lamb or yogurt, but added to the layers of flavor. This was my second favorite of the three. 

The margin of goodness between the three pizzettas was so slim, the one you like the best will probably depend on what flavor profile you like. Either way, I'd highly recommend seeking this tiny, literal hole in the wall out as it was well worth the 2 buses to get there. So you see boredom can drive you to discover new and tasty things. With a handful of far flung neighborhoods in San Francisco sometimes it is worth it to get out and explore parts of town you don't normally pass through on a regular day. You never know, you just might find some of the best pizza in town like I did. 




Pizzetta 211 on Urbanspoon

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