Tiny Finds

April 22, 2014

Yes, the food in San Francisco is good. There are some excellent spots with truly delicious things to eat. Yet, there are a lot of things about New York restaurants that I miss–namely tiny little spots that are perfect for a Wednesday night dinner. We had our favorites–Mercadito, Westville, John’s of 12th Street, Snack Taverna, Bar Pitti– places that got crowded, but you could always almost get in without waiting for a table and have a really good meal that wasn’t too expensive. They are restaurants that aren’t buzzy anymore, there was no thing about them, they were just good, and in little ways, the same way that everyone has their own personal New York, they were ours. Here, it feels like all of the places that we like–Frances, Flour + Water, of course Delfina, Bar Jules, Domo– are all the places that everyone else likes, too. And some are huge, like Nopa, and they don’t have that quick, mid-week dinner vibe. Maybe we just haven’t been here long enough to find them. (Also, why is there no San Francisco Westville? It’s sad, and should be remedied).

All of this is to explain why I was so excited to find Pizzetta 211. Someone had recommended it to me months ago, and it took being in the Richmond around dinner time, and not in the mood for Pho or dumplings to land there, and I’m so glad that we did.

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It’s just a few tables, maybe six two tops, and a few seats at the counter, which divides the small kitchen (really a metro rack, a few pizza ovens and one work space where the pizzas were assembled) from the dining room. The pizza was great (mine was a chewy crust bursting with Spring– asparagus, mint, peas, arugula, and an assertive drizzle of Calabrian chili oil), and more than anything it felt like those small spots in New York that we left behind. It was tiny, there was no thing, there was no wait, the whole thing took forty-five minutes and less than $40 and it was perfect. Oh, and there was some style there, too, a nice aesthetic going on, but that’s a subject for a different post.

Side Note: Speaking of little perfect gems, today seems to be the day that everyone’s talking about Buvette–an amazing little spot in the West Village. Read about it here, and here, and here. If someone wanted to send me Jody Williams new book, I wouldn’t be sad about it.

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