Pizzetta 211 211 23rd Ave - San Francisco -CA 94121-2008 (415) 379-9880
A stone's throw from busy Clement Street in the Richmond District, but oddly sandwiched between dwellings on a residential street, Pizzetta 211 is just the spot for lovers of very crispy, thin pizza. The limited number of small, sometimes wobbly wooden tables inside (and out when the weather allows) means the chances are that maybe you are going to have to be patient and wait a while before you can sit down and enjoy the surroundings and food, particularly at popular eating times.
There is a self service counter where you place your order. Staff are down to earth and downright friendly. Wine bottles lined up on the counter sport cute, hand-written labels describing their contents. A display of glorious-looking homemade desserts like flourless chocolate cake and lemon tart flaunt themselves for your attention, before you've even attempted to order anything savoury.
Artisan Cheese Salad, Organic Greens, Artisnal Cheeses and Spiced Walnuts, $8.75 sounds so tempting, but you might find, to your peril, that as an appetizer this is perhaps not the best thing to order before embarking on a large pizza, particularly if you have an eye on future dessert. The accompanying Levain was a little on the dry side and the sprinkling of very sweet walnuts must have been confused about the definition of "spice". The actual mixed greens, their vinaigrette and the unexpected, but delicious, little olives were the knockouts on the plate leading me to believe that next time a simple farm salad would be a better choice to start.
Rosie's Farm Egg, Arugula Rabe, Redwood Hill Goat Cheese & Prosciutto Pizzetta $13.75
Pizzetta 211 always have a few specials on their menu that change regularly, and this combination was one of them. The crust is topped, first, with mozzarella and then the special menu items. No less than two eggs were cracked on the top of my pie. They were cooked until the white but not the yolk was set, allowing me to indulge in my favourite Sunday pastime of dipping the brittle, breadstick-like crust into the pool of rich, runny yellowness spreading over my plate. These eggs really tasted like eggs, like really fresh eggs, a taste it is easy to forget ever even existed when you are used to buying them from a supermarket and then leaving them too long in the fridge.
Arugula Rabe (pronounced 'rah-bay'), is arugula that has been left to flower and then re-cut. It had a strong green, but not bitter taste with a texture almost like grilled asparagus. If anyone knows where to source this vegetable in the San Francisco area, please let me know.
Whilst I like my pizzetta enough, Fred's simple
Tomato, mozzarella & basil with pepperoni $10 was much better. The tomato sauce was really flavoursome and juicy in contrast to the crispy crust. Small dollops of oily basil pesto dribbled over the surface caused the entire pizza to burst into even more flavour. Highly recommended.
Pizzetta 211 is quaint, quirky and small, but don't expect your bill to be the same size. It's more than a mere gimmick for small kitchens in California to support local growers and proponents of organic farming these days. It's a mindset many Californians have come to expect. People who can afford to share that philosophy probably won't balk at the price for one salad, two pizzas, a glass of wine and a limonata ($43 before tip). Beware: they accept CASH ONLY!