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Restaurants & Bars 6

Pizzaiolo surprise!

susancinsf | Nov 17, 200512:26 PM

....The surprise being how much I liked it! I really didn’t expect to be that impressed with Pizzaiolo. I am not that fond of pizza to begin with, then there were all the horror stories on the board about the service issues, and mention of noise and crowds and no reservations (I can’t stand waiting!), and well, it just wasn’t high on my list to try...

But my son lives nearby, and does love pizza, and has wanted to go when someone with a slightly better income was footing the bill. :-) So, he finally talked me into trying it last night. I am very glad he did.

We arranged to meet at the restaurant. I arrived right at 5:30 when they opened, and was promptly seated at one of the two-tops along the wall of the back room. The speaker was right above my head and music, though a nice selection, was a bit loud, but it was turned down to a soothing level almost immediately. Even when the communal table next to us filled up, our table proved to be comfortable, private and quiet enough for a good chat, and I’d rather sit there than at the two-tops in the window in front, where one might have to listen to neighbors close by on either side.

I immediately noticed that service was better than I hoped for, with no trace of attitude that I could detect. Son was late, but I was assured not to feel rushed, and was immediately brought delicious bread and a glass of ice water, which was kept full throughtout the meal. I considered the menu over a glass of prosecco till son arrived.

Once he arrived and ordered a beer (one minor quibble: the beer selection is very limited compared to the nice selection of wines by the glass; only three beers on tap and apparently nothing by the bottle), we ordered. He had a rocket, beet and parmesan salad; nice, good size portion. Since pork meatballs with ricotta were on the menu, I had to order them. I never pass up meatballs. Four or five good size meatballs in a serving, and wow, absolutely heavenly. Savory, flavorful, perfect texture. Yumm! Next time I go, if this is on the menu, I will order it and polenta and be very happy even if I never get close to the pizza. I also ordered a side of greens sautéed with garlic and chili peppers, which was the only food miss of the evening: the greens (and perhaps the garlic?) were extremely bitter, with no chili flavor. I had hoped/thought that the greens might be a refreshing foil for the meatballs, but they were just unpleasant (even though I have a fairly high tolerance for bitter flavors).

Well, I thought we were almost full just on the salad and primi, but son had to have pizza, so we split a cherry tomato, salami and Italian parsley pizza, and again to my surprise, I ate more than my half! I have to admit, this was pretty darn delicious pizza, very well made, just a little burnt on those edges, and with a very nice balance of flavors and textures.

Son took a piece or two of pizza home in order to have room for dessert. He had affogato, which he had never heard of, but liked, but I thought was too much espresso and not enough gelato. Guess I will have to take him to Bacco to taste what affogato should really be (IMO). I had a very tasty panna cotta with pomegranate sauce.

Our server was friendly, professional throughout, and brought the right items out in a reasonably prompt fashion. We did notice that service slowed a bit toward the end of the meal, but not enough to worry about. Speaking of crowds, by the time we left shortly after seven there was a line of about five parties out the door waiting for tables. Those who hate to wait need to follow our example and get there early (or late), even on weekdays.

We ordered more food than we needed, and definitely ate a bit more than we needed, but had a great time, and both agreed that we would (and will) go back in a heartbeat. I’d say someone was paying attention, and that, as others have posted on the board, the service problems have really been ironed out. Now if only they would take reservations….

Total with tax and tip for one salad, one primi, one contorni, one pizza, two desserts, one beer, and two glasses of wine: $99. No, not pizza for college students, but well worth treating a college student to now and then…even for non-pizza fans like me.

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