Sunday afternoon I wandered over to Gioia Pizzeria, the new kid on Russian Hill. I’d heard about the long waits for tables and figured that 2:30pm might be my best shot. Even at that hour, nearly all the tables were taken but I did get a seat readily for brunch service.
I tried the breakfast pizza, $18, Nueske bacon, sunny side up eggs, cherry tomatoes, Fontina cheese. Good quality toppings applied with a well-judged hand as well as some juicy red onion and a touch of herbs. A bit of chili powder sparked a fiery bite here and there. As good as the toppings were, the crust was nondescript. Boring, blonde-ish and thicker than NY-style, not a peep of personality or flavor emerged from this dough. Not tender, not crispy, not chewy, not scorched, not fragrant, not much of anything at all other than a surface for toppings. The plain jane crust was undersalted as well. Other than the bacon and what might have been a fine sprinkle of grated cheese, no other salty element could be tasted on this pie. With no salt shaker on the table, I asked for some. It’s extremely rare that I ever add salt at the table, but those ripe little tomatoes and fresh soft-yolked eggs deserved to be tasted at their best with some seasoning.
Since Gioia is a short walk for me, I’m sure I’ll be back to try a slice or order a sandwich or pasta some time. But this is not a pizza that I’d order again, let alone wait in line for. I’ve not been to the Berkeley shop and wonder how the San Francisco branch compares. Opinions?
2240 Polk St. San Francisco (415) 359-0971