Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Tucked between rows of Richmond boxes, Pizzetta both fits perfectly into its location and stands out as an anomaly. Pizzetta is known throughout San Francisco, yet its very secluded location makes sure not to draw attention to itself. The farm-like interior, and small amounts of seating makes this place cozy as well as (on occasion) cramped. I refer to the people working there as the hipsters of the food world: cool, nonchalant, and elitist at the same time. The young and rather attractive staff knows good food, but frowns upon the rich Sea Cliff women that come in for their pizza fix.
But despite the charming décor, the food is what draws the crowds. Food is simple, delicious, and uncomplicated. I would say artisanal; pizza becomes a craft, as they thinly roll out the dough, gently construct layers of balanced taste, and place it into the oven. The crust is paper thin and crispy, even thinner than NY pizza. (Sorry Grimaldi's)
Pizzetta’s basic pizza: tomato sauce, mozzarella, drizzled with pesto after cooking is addictive. The pesto is not overpowering and you taste fresh olive oil (not grease). We ordered a pizza which was composed of cheese, fresh fava shoots, egg, roasted potatoes and sautéed nettles. The egg was cooked perfectly. The white created a layer over the pizza while the yolk was just the right consistency, oozing and creating a faux-pizza sauce. We also had yellow beets with blood orange vinaigrette. While the simplicity of the side was refreshing, you could not taste the blood orange in the vinaigrette whatsoever.
To finish off the meal, we ordered desert: the goat cheese and kumquat tart. The goat cheese curd was not overpowering, in fact it tasted very creamy. The tart crust was buttery and delicious while the kumquats balanced the creamy with acidity and tartness. A great winter treat. This pizza place emphasizes the seasonality of food. Seasonal foods make such a difference, because they are at their peak. (But you knew that.) Chefs at Pizzetta let the ingredients speak for themselves, and pizza merely acts as their canvas.
Pizzetta has a small menu, daily pizzas, one or two sides or salads and two desserts. As with everything at Pizzetta, the menu is simple yet sophisticated. Just as an artist, some chefs don’t know when the dish is finished. They keep adding more and more components and intricacies. But the chefs at Pizzetta got the art of minimalism down to perfection. It works. The food is uncomplicated but achieving greatness nonetheless.