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Windy | Mar 8, 200504:34 PM    

I had lunch today at Rigolo, the latest installment in Pascal Rigo's empire. It's definitely popular enough; we could barely get a table.

It's sort of self-serve but somewhat confusing--menus above on multiple blackboards, which you can't quite read because of the angle as you wait in line, with numbered steps on another board, instructing you to pay and help yourself to flatware. If you have to explain it, it's probably because people are expecting a restaurant. They may have table service at dinner, I'm not sure.

We got the first pizza on the board, with tomatoes, spinach, prosciutto, and an egg, and the bocadillos, which include prosciutto and frisee on an olive roll and a manchego and fig jam sandwich. The rectangular pizza was huge. The toppings were delicious, delicate tomato sauce and perfectly fried egg and prosciutto. The spinach was overdone. The crust was buttery and too thin as if were made from croissant dough. Not crispy enough to pick up, and kind of a greasy mess. But it tasted good.

Sandwiches were okay. The prosciutto tasted better warm on the pizza, and I never know what to do with frisee. The grated manchego and jam was yummy for a bite or two, but even half a little roll was more than I wanted to finish. A side salad of cucumbers and tomatoes wasn't great, a little soggy without being pickled, although it had bits of a wonderful creamy cheese in it.

Prices are reasonable, almost entirely under $10, and portions are generous. I probably wouldn't spend $4.95 for onion soup at a self-serve cafe. A wide selection of baked goods and breads is available too, although none of my favorites from Boulangerie. The order takers seemed a little harried. It's a sunny place, maybe better for a snack than a meal.

Anyone else been?

Rigolo is on California St in Laurel Heights

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